Have you noticed how in the Gospel accounts of Jesus that everywhere He traveled, “Great crowds” (Matt 15:30), of people flocked to Jesus? Whether in a Jewish, or Gentile setting Jesus was the one person everyone turned to for the answer to the problems that plague them. Even today go anywhere in the world and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus and you will have men and women flocking to him. Place Jesus anywhere and in any setting today and men will make Him their leader. That is because Jesus has ability in the presence of our inability.
The mistake the disciples made was they limited their view of Christ based on a personal view, and they thereby limited Jesus. Thus today we learn that the work of Christ is limited by our unbelief. There is much that Jesus would like to do for us, but He limits His actions to where and when the results of his actions will be recognized as coming from Him as the Son of God, and not from our own achievements. Jesus moves in our lives when he knows his movement will bring glory to God.
Here lies a lesson: What stops Jesus, what halts His power from being revealed in our lives is our lack of faith in him. What gives the Christian power to overcome any obstacle, to say to a mountain, “Be moved,” and seeing it move, is a belief that he is able in the midst our inability.
He is Able,
Good morning and happy Easter to you. Thank you for sharing this Resurrection Day with North Valley Christian Church. In our regular Sunday service we have been working our way through the Book of Matthew, but today we are taking a break from our regular service to celebrate the most important day in the history of all creation; the day Jesus rose from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus goes back to the beginning of time when God promised He would do it, and the patriarchs put their faith in that promise. The prophets foretold of it and the scribes preserved it. The Psalmist wrote songs about it, and the faithful sang about it. As improbably as it sounds Jesus did it, and today the faithful know it.
Some two thousand years ago God’s grace and mercy kissed on Calvary’s Hill, and three days later bad news lost for all time when Jesus rose from the dead. What does Jesus empty tomb mean to someone today? It means on that day Jesus seized death by the throat and defeated it. On that day the world went from frustration to restoration by the resurrection of Jesus. And on this day we celebrate what Jesus’ resurrection does for us.
Jesus, what a Savior,
When we read the Bible we are introduced to people who, because of various factors of life, find themselves distant from God. This theme of distance reminds me of Dt. 4:29, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse speaks to us, for at one time we all have found ourselves separated from God. The verse teaches that distance between us and God matters not; what matters is if a person chooses to remain distant from God.
The question is, “How does one find their way back to God?” The answer is in three parts: First, “From there.” From where you find yourself at this very moment. The second is “If.” If is the emphasis, for it means the choice is yours. If you seek with all your heart and soul. Then comes the great song of the verse, “You shall find him.”
Where do you find yourself today? Desperate, weighted down, and distant from God? Then this verse is for you. When you are done with your games, and emotional foolishness God can be found. If you will put the fiber of your being in to the business of seeking God, He will break upon you in light and glory, but never till then. The moment you set out to find God with your heart and soul you will find God close at hand as your next breath.
When we read the Gospel accounts of Jesus we can’t help but notice Jesus continually came into conflict with the Pharisees. The reason for the conflict was He revealed the truth that was hidden in their hearts – hypocrisy. Today many are in conflict with Jesus because they resent what Jesus reveals in their heart – hypocrisy. Thus Jesus always puts mankind at the crossroads; either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority on the human heart, or He is not. Let me just say that if Jesus is not the supreme authority of our heart then he is not worthy of our attention.
Reading the Bible is like looking into a mirror and seeing ourselves. We see the hypocrisy of our heart, the emptiness of our good works, and we come away appalled at the possibilities of evil that lies within us. We are awakened to the fact that all Jesus said is absolutely true, and, if for a moment just have some honesty, we have to admit that purity is something far too deep for any of us to arrive at naturally. Therefore, the only thing that truly provides protection against these appalling possibilities is Jesus’ redemption.
The word redemption is a great word. It means the chains are removed, the cell doors are opened, and the prisoners are set free because the price has been paid. Accepting Jesus redemption means handing yourself over to him every-day and in every-way, and you will not have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within your heart.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord,” (Ps. 40:3).
Everyone has an opinion about church music, and those opinions have led to many arguments with the churches made the battlegrounds. Let me state clearly that there is no such thing as Christian music, or good church music, for the Bible silent on the subject.
We all come from different parts of the country, and came of age in different eras. Therefore, some of us like Country and Western music, Dixie Land, Blues, Midwestern Polka, Nashville Rock and Roll, and Bluegrass. Thus only an elitist would say one style is better than the other.
The controversy over music is not new. The music for Martin Luther’s, A Mighty Fortress is our God, was borrowed from a popular song of the 16th century. Charles Wesley used tunes from taverns for some of his hymns. John Calvin used secular song writers of his day. The Queen of England referred to them as, “Calvin’s jigs.” When Silent Night was first published it was called “Vulgar mischief and void of all religious feelings.” Handel’s Messiah was condemned as “Vulgar Theater.”
Today’s we are taking a break from our normal service to sing some of the old hymns. These hymns were not composed in a vacuum, but came from a story that was behind the song. Thus we conclude that what really makes a hymn sacred is not the style, but the message it brings.
Once when King David was being chased and threatened he asked this question, “Who can show us any good,” (Ps 4:6)? This is a question for all ages, for though there have been great changes in society, they are but surface changes; underneath the same human nature exists. It’s true, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Take three examples: Those who are successful, those in the middle, and those who fail. Successful people who have obtained all the world can offer, in the end can be heard saying, “Who can show us any good?” Then those who always seem to fail; trial after trial, effort after effort, but always they are beaten, until at last heartbroken the say, “Who will show us any good?” Is not the same cry heard from those in the middle? It is worth our attention that people in all circumstances ask the same question. This fact suggest an underlying problem which is independent of circumstances.
The Psalmist answers our question, “Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety,” (6b-8). If you are restless, sleepless, crying out in agony, asking if life is worth living, and who can show us any good? The reason for the question is that you have lost touch with God.
Get back to God,