Why does God keep asking the impossible?

4 02 2011

Have you ever noticed that God asks us to do things that are impossible?

Be born all over again
Give up everything & follow Jesus
Speak to a mountain and tell it to move

Several times in the new testament Jesus brings his followers to a place where all they were left thinking was: “It’s impossible to be saved!”

Let’s start with Nicodemus.

In John chapter 3 Jesus tells him that “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus becomes confused and asks “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Then after an explanation from Jesus he asks “How can this be?” The verses that follow teach us that Jesus had to come to earth and be crucified in order for salvation to take place. Then we are led right up to a very popular scripture, John 3:16. Here is the way it is translated in The Message.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

John 3:16-18 (The Message)

Jesus ends his discussion with Nicodemus by explaining that faith in Christ was the only way to enter into the kingdom of God.

The Impossible Pattern

This is the pattern that I am referring to when I talk about Jesus bringing a person to the point where they feel they cannot be saved. It seems as though Jesus brings them to the point where they ask “How on earth can I ever accomplish this?” Then he drops the truth on them. The deep truth that they cannot accomplish it. It can only be accomplished by God himself.

Give up everything and follow me!

In Matthew chapter 19 we see a young man who approaches Jesus and asks what he needs to do to get eternal life. When Jesus begins to explain about keeping the commandments the young man boldly exclaims that he has kept all of them ever since he was a little boy.

If your spiritual ears are open while reading this scripture red flags should immediately raise up. This young man is telling God that he has never sinned in his entire life. His statement is absolutely absurd since everyone has sinned at some point in their life.

This mans boldness had him believing that he was sinless and perfect before God. Pride had surely taken control of this young mans life and Jesus was about to break some pride off of him.

First off understand this. All throughout the scripture to be rich was to be blessed by God. you don’t have to look very hard to see that many of God’s servants, prophets and chosen were, in fact, VERY wealthy. It was believed that God blessed those who he was pleased with by giving them more sheep, more servants, more land and so on.

Now Jesus tells the young man that the one thing he needs to do is to give up everything he has, give to the poor, and follow him. Essentially it would seem that Jesus was saying give up all the blessings of God and come follow me.

Then Jesus makes a statement that makes everyone cringe.

…Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”

Matthew 19:23-24 (The Message)

At this point, the disciples are shell shocked! But do we understand why? One must understand that what Jesus was saying seemed to contradict all that God had been doing throughout history while dealing with the Jews.

Jesus “seems” to contradict God and His laws in many cases throughout the New Testament, but of course, Jesus is not wrong – only our understanding of God and salvation are wrong.

The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”

Matthew 19:25 (The Message)

In the eyes of the disciples and everyone around him, this man has been blessed by God. This man was a good man. Jesus himself said that he only lacked ONE thing – Christ.

So, we should easily understand the shock going through the disciples’ minds and hearts at this time. They were likely thinking- “if this man who God has blessed and who has kept the commandments has a hard time entering into God’s kingdom, then we have NO chance! We’re just a bunch of poor (not blessed) men.”

Can you see the pattern here? Jesus brings everyone there to the point where they feel like nobody can be saved. Then he drops the faith bomb on them all.

Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”

Matthew 19:26 (The Message)

Conclusion

After His followers came to the conclusion that it would be impossible for them to achieve salvation He would basically then tell them that with faith in God all things are possible. In effect God wants us to understand with all our heart that salvation cannot be achieved through our abilities, or our achievements.

Are there other places that you can see this pattern playing out in scripture? How about in your own life?

The impossible challenge!

God challenges us every day. Just maybe he is challenging you to force you to the reality that you cannot make it without him. Maybe he knows that you are not really trusting him with your whole heart.

Have you totally put your trust in Jesus Christ? If everything in your life was taken away today could you still stand and say, “God I trust in you! You are my provider and my Saviour!”

– – – The End – – –

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If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text and link below:

Why does God keep asking the impossible?
By: Raymond Brady

Article Source: https://buildyourhouseontherock.wordpress.com/

 





mountains

10 09 2010

I’m in beautiful Red River NM looking at the mountains this morning. Its 48 degrees this morning.

I’m here for a mens retreat with our church. Last night I attended our first worship service. What an awesome time I had worshiping with men from all walks of life.

Its amazing to me how God works in our lives. I’m on the mountain this morning. Both physically and spiritually.

Thank you Lord for being very present in my life right now.





Fishing, Headaches, & Life

4 08 2010

My son and I went fishing a while back at a nearby lake. We didn’t smell too good after messing with stinky bait, stepping in the mud, and sweating like a dog all day.

We spent almost nine hours in the hot sun and only caught a 2 inch perch. How’s that for a fishing story?

I believe catching fish can be one of the most challenging activities a person can engage in. You can have a full day of hard work and never bring home one fish.

Well, if you are living and breathing you will have trouble. It’s a promise of God. What? That doesn’t sound like a promise to me. Promises are supposed to be white, fluffy, and sweet. Kinda like Christmas.

The fact is that we cannot experience blessings without some sacrifice. The two go hand-in-hand.

You can’t get a pay check unless your willing to work.
You can’t have an angel break you out of prison unless you are first locked up.
You can’t have divine intervention unless you first have conflict.
You can’t overcome unless you first have a challenge.
You can’t walk on water unless you step out of the boat.
You can’t experience healing unless you get sick.
You can’t experience deliverance unless you are first bound.
You can’t find life unless you first lose life.
You can’t rise from the dead unless you first die.

Trouble in your life is not a sign that God is mad at you or is against you. I think it’s actually a sign that He is trying to bless you. So, be glad when you have trouble in this life. Face the trouble head on knowing that on the other side of trouble waits something good.

…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – Jesus (John 16:33)

whoever loses his life for me will find it. – Jesus (Matt 16:25)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Apostle Paul (Romans 8:35-39)

– – – The End – – –

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If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text and link below:

Fishing, Headaches, & Life
By: Raymond Brady

Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





Easy believism, parachuting, and the no spin zone.

21 06 2010

As I sat at the table talking with someone, the owner of the business came over and began taking our order. We visited with the business owner for a few moments and then the business owner said that he sure was glad that he was saved. We chatted for a few more moments and then the business owner went to turn in our order.

After he walked away the man I was sitting with made some comment about easy believism and how sad it was for people to think they were saved by simply believing in Jesus Christ. I think I chuckled under my breath and agreed with him. After all, I had followed all the necessary steps of salvation that were taught at my church. I had been baptized a certain way, believed a certain way, and even dressed a certain way. I believed that these “steps” secured my salvation and so did the man I was sitting with.

It amazes me how our society today plays with words. We can see this clearly in the media. The tactic is so widespread that one man is making millions by busting through all the spin in search of the truth. Bill O’rielly has a show on Fox News and he welcomes the guests onto his show by saying “you are now in the no spin zone.” In other words don’t even think about trying to use word games while on his show.

We who claim to be religious are not exempt from spinning words either. In fact, I think it is fairly widespread within the Christian denominational world. There are even some groups who believe that other groups are not saved because they don’t believe the same way. Wait a minute, didn’t I just use the word believe in that statement? Not trying to spin my words here but I am trying to make a point.

I think there is a difference between the words believe and trust. For example, I believe that parachutes really do allow people to jump out of airplanes and live to tell about it. My problem is that I just don’t trust them enough to work for me. So, because of my lack of faith in parachutes I have never parachuted before and I don’t have any plans to do so anytime soon. I still believe they work I just don’t trust them to work for me.

I think where the word games start is when believing really means trusting to some people. Some people have no reserves about trusting in what they believe. It almost seems natural to them. They believe in it so therefore they trust in it. While yet others, like myself, believe certain things while still reserving our trust. I know, people are complicated creatures aren’t they?

So, cutting through all the word spin, is it simply enough to believe and be saved? I’ll make my answer very clear. YES.

Believing and trusting come together in one word, faith, which is a complete confidence in God. When we reach the point where we have a complete confidence in God and we understand that He is our Saviour then nothing can stand in the way of God saving us. God ALWAYS honors faith. Complete confidence in God is the beginning of our journey with Him. Without complete confidence in God it is impossible to please Him.

There is only one thing that stands between you and God, Sin. And, the bible tells us that everything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). The beautiful thing is that Christ on The Cross paid the price for all those things you have done out of your lack of faith, your sins.

Imagine when you were a little child in a store with your parents. They would tell you not to touch anything because you could break things. As all little children do you probably broke something. When that happened the store owner would demand payment. Since you were a child and had no means to pay, your parent stepped up and paid the price. Now the store owner could not hold anything against you. This is what Christ did for you on The Cross.

When you put your complete confidence in what God did for you on The Cross your sins are completely removed and you are no longer held accountable for them. At that moment you are saved from your sins. The accusing store owner cannot seek punishment against you any longer.

A few years later I would look back on that day at the restaurant. Except this time I would be looking from the other side of the fence. I had been converted into believing just as the business owner believed. I had come to the realization that salvation is not based on our ability to climb some sort of spiritual corporate ladder or perform a number of steps. In fact I had come to the realization that if I were ever going to be saved it would have to come from outside my abilities. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t be good enough and I truly needed a Saviour.

This led me to The Cross of Jesus Christ. The place where the greatest price of all time was paid. I realized that this one act would right every wrong that I would ever commit. And as I began to cling to The Cross it became apparent to me that trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross is what would ultimately save me. Christ had essentially become my “Saviour”.

We who simply believe and trust are looked upon as simpletons by some. Others call it mental assent. They say that the act of just believing something is shallow and has no real foundation.

My response is this. What happened that day on The Cross was by no means shallow or easy. Every stripe Jesus took cut deep into His flesh. It is the most cruel form of punishment someone could ever receive and is by NO MEANS easy. Some may call it easy believism but each time I hear that I am reminded that there was nothing easy at all about what it took to redeem me. The foundation that I have is not based on some shallow belief in a story I heard in Sunday school when I was a child. But, rather it is a solid rock of trust in my Saviour to save me.

I am so grateful for the good news of The Cross. It is the power of God unto salvation.

Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

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How’s your self esteem?

1 06 2010
Self Esteem

What is your self image?

“Our esteem is linked to how we believe the most important person in our life views us.”

I heard this while recently listening to a speaker talk about the power of the tongue. In Proverbs 18:21 we learn that the tongue has the power of life and death. Depending on how we use our tongue determines whether we are giving or taking life.

The power of the spoken blessing goes back to the beginning of creation when God spoke everything into existence. We can see children in the bible fighting over the spoken blessing of their father. God’s spoken Word became flesh in the new testament in the form of Jesus Christ. Luke 3:22 shows us the power of The Fathers spoken blessing over His Son.

Each day of our lives we see the power of the spoken word all around us. So what does this have to do with self esteem? Should Christians have self esteem? Is the concept of self esteem even taught in the bible? Let’s start with a few scriptures.

Romans 12:3
Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.

This scripture leaves us with the understanding that there must be a balance applied to how we think of ourselves. Not too high, yet not to low. You might be asking: Then exactly how high should we think of ourselves? These next verses will help understand when you are to high on yourself.

Romans 11:20 & 12:16
Do not be conceited, proud, or arrogant.

If we reach the point where we become conceited, proud, or arrogant then we have gone too far. Just because you know something doesn’t give you the right to slap someone else in the face with it.

It amazes me the number of people I run into that struggle with this. If you have been on vacation to a certain city they have been there ten times and know the town mayor personally. Somehow we feel that we don’t measure up unless we have accomplished twice as much as everyone else. This is because we seek the approval of others and think we can get it by impressing them.

Matthew 22:39
Love your neighbor as yourself.

However, another problem people face today is an unhealthy view of themselves in the opposite direction. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. How can you love your neighbor if you don’t even love yourself?

There are people all over this world who do not love themselves at all. For some they have been told how worthless they are since the day they were born. Others are abused and all they know is a life of hate and abuse.

Then there are those people who may not have been verbally or physically abused but they are emotionally neglected. They don’t have someone in their life telling them that they love them each day. This lack of love translates into a lack of love for themselves.

So we get this incredible understanding of love from Jesus’ words. Love is bi-directional and we get love from God first of all, then from each other. But how can we receive it from each other unless first someone is willing to give it. The giving of love has to start with you and me.

“Our esteem is linked to how we believe the most important person in our life views us.”

This saying is so powerful. Let me leave you with two questions that sum this all up. Think on these questions for a while.

1. Who is the most important person in your life?

2. What do you think their opinion is of you?

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– – – The End – – –

If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text and link below:

How’s Your Self Esteem?
By: Raymond Brady

Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





Join The Revolution

27 04 2010

I have been following a series over on LiquidChurch.com entitled “Revolution”. I thought I would share this series with you and encourage you to “Join the Rloveution”. Here is a synopsis of the series. The link is at the bottom of this post.

Most people see Jesus as a white guy in a robe with a halo. But that polite stereotype misses his radical, revolutionary claims: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”(Matthew 10:34) Was Jesus really “meek-&-mild” Or a dangerous revolutionary who turned the world upside down? If you’re tired of religion & ready for a radical way of relating to God, join the revolution!

http://liquidchurch.com/uploads/revolution.html





Everything I Always Wanted

26 12 2009

This Christmas season has been a tremendous blessing to me. In many ways it has been the best Christmas I have ever had. It is definitely one that will not be forgotten.

A few weeks ago our pastor made a comment that has stuck with me. He said “This is going to be the best Christmas ever.” Then he clarified his statement by adding, “Are you going to choose to be a part of it?”

The quality of the experiences in our life are tied directly to our decision to enjoy those experiences. We can choose to look for the good in everything and walk away with the good or we can settle for the unpleasant.

I woke up this morning reflecting on the last couple of days. Soaking up the wonderful memories we have had. Then I had a couple of revelations. First, this has truly been the best Christmas ever. Second, that I have everything I always wanted.

Men tend to focus on being successful, achieving great things, and being admired by others for their abilities. That’s why most people do what they do. They are climbing a corporate ladder, chasing a dream, or trying to prove to the world that they are somebody.

Well, this morning I woke up with the realization that I have all this and more and have had for some time.

I want to be successful in life. I am. I have three wonderful children who are growing up very successfully.

I want to be admired and looked up to. I am. My kids think I am the greatest and I have the t-shirt to prove it. Well, it’s really a cap that says #1 Dad on it.

I want to achieve great things. I am. I never believed I would have such a wonderful family filled with such love.

Is everything perfect? No. Do my kids fight? Everyday. But, I have learned not to expect perfection. It does not exist in this life.

I have everything I always wanted right here in my own house. It seems I have been receiving it year after year.

– – – The End – – –

If you would like to use this article on your website, blog, or in another form you may do so as long as you include the text below:

Everything I Always Wanted
By: Raymond Brady

Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org