Tag Archives: faith

Stuck in the middle!

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Matthew 16:21 NIV)

What do you do when you are waiting for a promise to be fulfilled?  How do you retain hope for your breakthrough when it seems like its too far way?

What are you waiting for?

  • To find the love of your life, whom you can marry, have a family with, and live together;
  • You have applied for a University course and are eagerly awaiting to find out if you have been accepted or not.
  • Some people wait for years, month after month to find out if they are pregnant, either naturally or through IVF;
  • Have you applied for a job, had an interview, or been waiting on that elusive promotion?

What do you do while you wait?  How do you fill the void between the promise spoken, outcome desired and the actualisation of this dream.  How do you maintain hope when stuck in the middle?

Good Friday is one of the most significant and essential days of the Christian faith.  It is the day when Jesus Christ was crucified on a Roman cross, an instrument designed to inflict maximum pain and suffering leading to a slow death.  The followers of Jesus Christ, his Disciples had journeyed with Him, listening to His stories, the fulfillment of ancient promises.  He performed miracles for all to see.  Jesus had promised His followers that when He died, he would be raised from the dead witin three days.

The mission of Jesus Christ was to die on that cross and be resurrcted three days later.  It was never intended to create a religion, but to restore the relationship with God that sin destroyed.  For the sin, that is behaviour, thoughts or actions that are contrary to the will of God, caused a divide between His beloved, that is all men and women thoroughout history, present and future.  When Jesus Christ died on the cross, His death represented that sacrifice – for the forgiveness of all sins – allowing all peoples to have a direct relationship with the Lord God.

Many of Jesus disciples abandoned Him when the trial for His life began.  So many had denied and abandonded Him that only a few journeyed to the place of His death.  Once His lifeless body was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb, the promises spoken during Jesus ministry must have faded fast.  For those who had witnessed Jesus promise that He would be raised from the dead, that He was their conqueroring King, that He would show them the way back to God, their hearts must have been crushed.  All hope must have been lost once the stone was placed in front of the tomb.

What were they to do…they got on with life as best they could.  They mourned, returned to their homes.  Some would have even returned to their work.  Despondent, feeling rejected, deceived, hope was gone.  But some had faith to believe as they remembered Jesus promise to return from the dead.  Hope, still had a chance.

What do you do whislt waiting?  Can I suggest you get on with living in hope.  Continue to position yourself as if the promise has already manifest.  Let your thoughts and actions demonstrate that you believe the promise has been fulfilled and you are just waiting for it to come to pass.  It will better prepare you for the next season.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, the phrase, “Its Friday, but Sunday’s coming” is one that I love to think of each Good Friday.  It is a reminder that, even though we are living in post-resurrection times, and I know and believe that Jesus Christ was raised from death on the third day that there is always hope.   No matter how bleak or hopeless the situation may appear, while you are still breathing, there is hope for promises to be fulfilled.

When waiting for your desired outcome, do you still believe it will come to pass?

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What do you seek?

Seeking after the things of God, not this world reflects your priorities in life. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career or interests outside a faith setting. It is when your pursuits in life give no regard to God, you may find trouble beckoning.  The hurts you experience along the way may begin to spiral out of control when you are unable to, or unaware of how to view them as opportunities.

Getting God’s perspective on the tension between joy and tribulation can provide you with the greatest lessons in life.

God has a goal for each and every one of our lives. It isn’t just to make us happy, but to model for us how to be Holy – by being more like Him.  Jesus knew and endured pain, ridicule and shame.  He was disowned, ignored, physically beaten.

The writer of the Bible book of Hebrews says that it was through the pain and suffering that Jesus Christ endured on our behalf taught Him obedience.  (Hebrews 5:8). Through these times it was who He put His faith and trust in that Jesus got through – He learned to depend on God, and God alone.

It is when we can see God’s providential care and involvement in the good and bad times; in the valleys and on top of the mountains; in the dark times and bright, then we can build the resilience that comes from depending on God. 

Not much in this world comes without risk. The saying goes “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.”  Allowing yourself to become vulnerable and opening your heart to God is the first key in allowing the hurt you have endured to be used for good, for those set backs to become set ups! 

It is said of Saint Basil (303 – 379 AD) that his faith was ambidextrous because “he welcomed pleasure with his right hand and afflictions with the left, convinced both would serve God’s design for him.”  Seeking God in all seasons of your life, trusting God in the joys and tribulations of life is where ‘ambidextrous faith’ is beneficial.

When we look around with our eyes open, we can be distracted by the issues and struggles of life.  When you close your eyes, these distractions and biases become less influential. Determine to close you eyes to your hurts and ask God to reveal to you how He is able to turn these around into greater possibilities.

 

Life Changing Encounters

SCRIPTURE: Mark 5:25-34 “When she heard about Jesus, she came behind him in the crowd and touched His garment.  For she said ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.’ (v27-28 NKJV)

OBSERVATION: The woman in this well known and preached about story struggled for answers to her chronic problem for over a decade.  We read that she sought help but “had suffered many things from many physicians and was acutally worse.” (v26)  Luke’s account of the story says that she “had spent all her livliehood on physicians.” (Luke 8:43)  It would appear that all she had left was a faith that this man named Jesus who was healing people, could heal her.

APPLICATION: There are somethings in life that we can’t seem to find answers to, things we can’t shake off.  The breakthrough seems to be teasing us, callling us to continue to believe, but never acheiving it.  You may have a health issue in your life that has been limiting you for a few months, years, even decades.  You might have tried all the worldy offerings to resolve your issue.  You might have tried everything and even your faith is waning.

The woman in this story is attributed to have been healed by her encounter with  Jesus because she touched him.  I want to suggest to you that Jesus response to being touched, and feeling that something had gone from within him actually goes deeper than the natural contact.  Jesus says that her faith healed her.  She had just enough faith left in her after all these years to believe that with just one encounter with Jesus her life would turn around, her breakthough would intersect with her present reality.

Contrasting this womans story is the encounter that Saul of Tarsus had with Jesus on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19).  Saul was on a mission to kill all those who professed to believe in Jesus Christ and were teaching that the Kingdom of God was at hand.  While traveling to Damascus, Saul had an encounter with Jesus that stopped him in his tracks.  This encounter changed the course of his life.

The contrast between these two encounters demonstrates that it doesn’t matter whether you have been waiting for  a breakthrough for decades with only your faith intact, or your life is similiar to Saul in not being able to tollerate anything to do with Jesus Christ, but, that one encounter with Jesus Christ can bring your breakthrough.  What do you need a Jesus encounter to change in your life?

PRAYER: Jesus I need to encounter you.  AMEN