Tag Archives: faith

Burden or Blessing?

Turning away from evil, following God’s commands, remembering Biblical teaching, giving steadfast love, being faithful, acknowledging God in all you do, fearing the Lord, honoring God in your finances, accepting and appreciating God’s discipline, and knowing God delights in us brings all kids of benefits to us throughout our lives – following the Lord is a BLESSING, not a burden. God gives us guidelines for our own benefit, and for His glory.

Proverbs 3:1-12

“My son, do not forget my teaching,

But let your heart keep my commandments;

For length of days and years of life

And peace they will add to you.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favor and good repute

In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your body

And refreshment to your bones.

Honor the Lord from your wealth

And from the first of all your produce;

10 

So your barns will be filled with plenty

And your vats will overflow with new wine.

11 

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord

Or loathe His reproof,

12 

For whom the Lord loves He reproves,

Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

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Happy Resurrection Day!

May you enjoy today worshiping the Lord, our risen Savior, and spending time with family and friends.

Our Identity as Believers

While this text was not the base for the sermon this morning, this is the passage from the service that really stood out to me. I thought I would share here, that you may also be encouraged.

Scripture quotes taken from John 17:9-13, 20-21

  • We are treasured!

“I am praying for them.”

  • We bring glory to Jesus.

“All mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.”

  • We are witnesses of Jesus in the world while He is in heaven.

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You.”

  • We are kept in the faithfulness of Jesus and the Father.

“Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given Me.”

  • We are protected.

“I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost.”

  • We are to be unified. Our unity gives testimony of God’s grace to a lost world.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

  • We are glorified by Jesus for unity with other believers.

“The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.”

I hope this brings you encouragement this week. We are treasured, kept, protected, and glorified by Jesus, that we may give testimony to His grace to a lost world through unity with other believers.

Imperfection & Confession

“I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.”

– Psalm 38:18

The Christian is not without sin. There shouldn’t ever be an implication of such. True Christians should be the first to admit fault and seek forgiveness.

Christianity isn’t about the lack of existence of sin, but rather the freedom from it through Christ’s sacrifice and our confession. When we cry out to God in sorrow and repentance, He hears us.

“Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!”

– Psalm 38:21-22

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.”

– Psalm 34:4

I’m not sure why we as Christians feel the need to sweep sins under the rug when freedom only comes through confession. There is no reason to fake perfection when Jesus paid for our sin. After all, if we are without sin, what need have we of a Savior?

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8

Prayerfully consider how you act once you’ve done something wrong, and make an effort to intentionally admit fault that you may move forward in the freedom of the Gospel.

Hearing vs. Listening

The difference between only hearing the Word of God and actually listening to it is faith. Not everyone who hears the message of the Gospel with their ears or who reads it with their eyes accepts the salvation of Jesus Christ.

“For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” – Hebrews 4:2

When we hear the Word of God, or read it, we must absorb the text with faith in our hearts in order to benefit from it. We also must accept that, while we can and should reach out and share the message of the Gospel with others, we can’t control whether they are only hearing it or actually listening.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:14

So far as it depends upon us, let us LISTEN to Scripture, rather than only hearing it.

Power Over Fear

Luke 8:22-25 

“22 One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us cross to the other side of the lake.” So He got into a boat with them and set out.
23 As they sailed, He fell asleep, and a squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke Him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters, and they subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” He asked.
Frightened and amazed, they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him!” ”

We may not all be fisherman or sailors, but all of us have or will experience some type of “storm” in our life. The Lord never promised to make our life easy just because we are His followers. In fact, He promised to be with us during the storms of life, which means He promises that they will come.

While it’s tempting to either try to conquer what life brings our way in our own strength, and even more tempting at times to just give up and allow them to overtake us, Jesus asks us to consider, “Where is your faith?” Our Creator and Sustainer, Jesus is so powerful that when we take a step back and look at Who He is, we realize that He is truly Someone in Whom we can trust, since He is more mighty than anything in all of Creation. We see that He can conquer anything thrown at us. 

This kind of power should comfort us. Those of us Who have Him as Savior and Lord can take our fears and give them over to Him, with our faith placed in His power. He overcomes.

Perfume & Hair

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Luke 7:36-50

“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.

Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.

Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)