Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Does Jesus Ever Get Amazed?"

I received the following question from a young lady in our congregation.  Praying and considering it has touched me and I wanted to share this remarkable question and my thoughts:

"I was wondering, does Jesus ever get amazed?"  

Jesus is seated right now at the right hand of the Father, and I am not sure what his daily reactions to things here on earth specifically looks like.  For us being amazed has to do with being surprised, much of the time, and I don't believe Jesus is ever surprised because he knows everything.

However, Jesus was absolutely amazed when He walked on earth.  What amazed Jesus is VERY important.  Matthew 8:5-10 tells about a time when a centurion (a Roman Soldier who was in charge of a hundred other soldiers) came to Jesus because he wanted Jesus to heal a person who worked in his house.  When Jesus said He would come the Centurion told Jesus, in my words: "I believe that You are so powerful that you can heal my servant from wherever you are."  He really believed that Jesus was able to heal his servant.  Then verse 10 says this: "Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel." (Matthew 8:10 NASB)

So, I believe Jesus looks on with marveling wonder when we trust Him.  I believe Jesus is amazed whenever you choose to trust Him with your self and your circumstances.  Jesus is amazed at what he created in you!

Thank you, again, for your question. It is a great encouragement to me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Leopard's Spots

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions... - Colossians 2:13 NASB

"A leopard can't change his spots."  We often use this phrase when we have written someone off in the hope that they could change.  We may use the same phrase applied to ourselves with a shrug of our shoulders, despairing that we will ever change.  In both cases it may be a positive development!  It shows that we have given up hope that we (or the other person) will be able to change ourselves, which is true.  However, as followers of Jesus Christ we do not change ourselves!  He is the One who changes us, and while changing ourselves or others is impossible on our own "with God all things are possible."  Who have you given up on?  Is it a lack of faith in man, or a lack of faith in God?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Historical Sites

They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." - Act 1:11 NASB

Our nation is dotted with historical sites that commemorate where something happened, or even an important individual in history.  These monuments commemorate great lives and events that effected the course of history right down to the present moment.   While the mount of olives is far removed from most of our local experiences it is a real place, where one of the most amazing events in human history occured.  Zechariah tells us that it is also the same place to which He will return.  In Jesus Christ, God Almighty took on flesh and walked upon the earth that He created!  How remarkable indeed, that there is an actual location where He last touched the earth, and we know He will next touch the earth in that same place!  God is not distant and far off, He is near and will return to this earth at exactly the right moment, and we will be with Him!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Smelling the Roses

O Lord, You are my God.  I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. Isaiah 25:1 NKJV

It shouldn't be hard to stop and "smell the roses", but it is.  If it were something that came naturally we probably wouldn't have an expression for it.  It is a great challenge to take a moment to appreciate the many wonderful blessings in our lives.  Be it family, friends, physical provision or even just appreciating the simple pleasures of a good book (or a good cup of coffee); taking time to appreciate the blessings in our lives is invaluable.  Yet, all of the blessings we take for granted don't hold a candle to the amazing God we serve.  Isaiah was clearly preoccupied with The Lord when He penned the words recorded in Isaiah 25:1.  Having beheld The Lord in some very special ways throughout his life Isaiah was ready to praise The Lord for His essence, His works and His wisdom.  I notice that when I forget the importance of The Lord and all of His splendor and faithfulness, I then  also begin to overlook all of the other wonderful blessings that He has given to me.  I hope to continue to cultivate an attitude of constant amazement at, and appreciation for, The Lord.  Only then will I correctly understand that He is the source of every blessing and appreciate each treasured relationship and blessing for the gift that it is, and the Giver from Whom it came.  

Time Troubles

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9 NASB

Young children are wonderful because they have nearly no concept of time.  As soon as they hear about Christmas they will wake up each morning asking "Is it Christmas yet?"  It is a pleasure to see them revel in the season and look forward each moment to the joys of Christmas day.  This difficulty understanding time only highlights their problems of perspective and patience.  When we look at the last 2,000 years it is easy to think that they Lord may have forgotten His promise, and many find this to challenge their faith.  Yet the Lord is the only One with a valid perspective of time, and He will return for us at exactly the right time.  It is our part to wake each morning and say, "Is it today?  Will I get to see the Lord face to face today?  I hope so!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"Too Many Mind"

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. - Psalm 37:7-8 NASB

In the movie The Last Samurai an American soldier (Algren) gets captured by a band of Samurai after being hired to teach Japanese soldiers how to use western weapons.  While he was in the Samurai camp he attempts to learn to fight with a sword.  He is only moderately successful until one of his friends (Nobutada) explains his problem:

Nobutada: Please forgive, too many mind.
Nathan Algren: Too many mind?
Nobutada: Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy, too many mind... [pause] No mind.

Notbutada's point was that by trying to pay attention to everything Algren wasn't effectively doing what he was meant to be doing.  It is easy to have "too many mind", to focus on the events of the world, focus on those whom we see opposing the Lord, or even us personally.  Our mind, however, is meant to be focused on the Lord.  Trusting in Him.  Our lack of trust in Him can lead to fear, worry and anger, none of which are productive.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tents and Houses

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1

Between skin cremes and exercise clubs, doctors visits and weight-loss plans it seems an incontestable statement that we spend a great deal of time and money on our bodies.  Repeated commands from television to "love our bodies" or "treat ourselves" seem to be part of the most common marketing messages of our time.  Yet, as believers, we know that these earthly bodies (Paul calls them "tents" - temporary dwellings!) are not our final destination.  There is much that lay ahead for the believer.  We care for our bodies as we do with any stewardship.  Our bodies are a gift from the Lord and should be treated in that way.  But we must never confuse the gift with the giver, for a better body is ahead for those who know Jesus Christ.  Once we have our new bodies our obsessive behaviors about these "old tents" will seem quite silly indeed.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

If Pollyanna were a Believer...

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed. - Psalm 71:23 NASB

If you are offended by my questioning the salvation of a fictional character I will tweak your nose.  Many of us remember the heartwarming tale of Pollyanna, the sweet optimistic girl who taught a negative town to look on the bright side and think positively.  Perhaps your ears still ring with the sound Bing Crosby singing "You've got to ac-cen-tuate the positive..."  Both are a great deal of fun, and quite heartwarming, but neither comes close to the joy that we have in Christ.  The best the world has to offer is to try to ignore the bad stuff and focus on the good stuff.  As believers we have a far greater hope.  Believers can look with eyes wide open at a world filled with hatred, sin, oppression and fear and say, "I am joyful, because the Lord will not let sin reign forever."  A believer can look at the darkest heart in humanity and say, "I know the ONE Who can save him, and loves him enough to do it!"  A believer can look at his or her repeated failures and rejoice because, "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."  A believer can sustain the greatest injuries and losses because of all that we have been given in Jesus Christ, and take joy.  And all of the Pollyannaisms in the world, or even an army of crooners, simply don't hold a candle to Him.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Life to the Fullest

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - John 10:10 NASB

My standing picture of "abundance" is the Thanksgiving feast table growing up.  More food than all the guests could eat in three meals.  Overflowing off of the table to the point where it is difficult to find a place to squeeze the plates in.  When Christ says that He came that we would have abundant life I believe that He meant the full, overflowing, gracious and loving life that flows out of who we are in Him.  Yet, too seldom do I see in my days His abundant life.  It is easy to be distracted from Him Who is the source.  Easy to have the abundance of His life-gift fettered by fears, selfishness or sin in some other form.  I hope this week I choose to look to the Author of life, for what He alone has given - what He alone can give.  By His grace He has given it it immeasurable quantity to all who have trusted in Jesus Christ.  A life that is fully free to love, forgive, be hurt and rejoice in all things (even trials).  That is what I want this week.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Only Wise God

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. - Pro 3:19 NASB

Alice laments in Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland: "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." So often we know which choice is correct and which will bring pain and loss and yet make the unwise choice.  Lack of wisdom (both on our part and the part of others) characterizes and taints most of our decisions and situations.  However, this compromise is not necessary for God.  In all wisdom and understanding He founded the earth, the systems by which it would exist; fully knowing everything that would happen in and to His beloved creation. Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:8 that the Salvation which God has made available to mankind in Christ is part of God's unlimited and amazing wisdom.  None of God's choices are flippant or foolish.  They are always intentional and wonderful.  God desired a relationship with you, not on a whim, but based on His infinite wisdom and love.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. - Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB

I love imagination.  It seems to me to be one of the most important ways that man has been fashioned in God's image is creativity.  Just as God looked at nothing and created space, time and the entirety of the world, seen and unseen; so, a similar (yet finite) way man can look at a tree and turn it into a table and chairs.  Man's imagination has given us some amazing things: the steam engine, the cellular telephone, and those cool chairs that give you a back massage (just to name a few).  Yet all of man's imagination can never reach the end of what God is doing in the life of the believer.  In our lives He is doing "exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine."  This is how Paul describes God conforming the believer to the image of Christ.  He alone has the ability, He has the desire, and we cannot even imagine the fullness of life that is ahead for the one who knows Jesus Christ today.