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/

 

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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





Works of the Law Or Faith?

10 07 2009

pack muleThe Tangle.com devotional for today was an awesome reminder of how important our faith in God is. Galatians 3:2 asks a very simple question:

“This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”

Paul was puting the Galatians into a corner by asking this question. The only answer to this question to a sane person is by hearing with faith.

We cannot do anything to earn the Spirit of God, it is a gift. Let me say that again so it really soaks in. If you think that you can earn your way into the kingdom of God then you are walking on the wrong road my friend. Pauls teachings on this subject are very clear. A person cannot perform a physical task to earn favor in Gods sight nor can a person buy their way in. The only one who can truly perform the requirments of the law was hung on a tree and crucified. He completed all the requirements and paid the price in full. You and I will never be able to.

I know this bugs some people who believe that salvation is a list of things on a card that you have to do in order to be accepted into The Kingdom. But Paul taught the Galatian people that if they required anything but the cross for salvation then the Cross of Christ would not even work for them anymore.

When a person finally understands this a huge load is lifted from their life. Those who believe that God alone is the only one who can save them can truly walk with a light burden on their shoulders. If you know that God is your savior then He can save you. If you let Him do it. That means hands off for you, your in the passenger seat baby! And no backseat driving either.

God never intended for you to have to carry a heavy load in your life. A good friend of mine says it like this: “There is no such thing as a pack sheep. Pack mules are meant to carry heavy loads but not sheep.” We tend to carry things around and can’t let them go. But, when we truly cast our cares on Jesus it is then that we walk in faith in the One who is able to keep us. Trust God with all your heart and He will never leave you OR forsake you. Lean on Him because He is an immovable rock and He is the author of your faith.

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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 entire text below:

Works of the Law Or Faith?
By: Raymond Brady
Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





Dare to Trust in Grace

31 05 2009

baby

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther

The one foundational piece that spans every Christian denomination in the world is faith. Beyond faith everyone goes in about a hundred different directions. So, being rooted and grounded in faith is the most important thing a Christian can strive for. Without faith it is impossible to please God. No grey area there.

True faith goes much deeper than how we define simply believing. I believe an asprin can take away pain but unless I get the asprin inside of me it will not do any good. So our faith must go deeper than the modern meaning of believe. To get a biblical definition we will look to the Hebrew language.

The Hebrew word for “to believe” is aman. This word relates to our word Amen. In one way the word aman is used for people who are caretakers of children. People who support and susstain them by literally carrying them or by financial support. A gaurdian, nurse, nanny, or foster father is someone on whom an infant utterly depends. He or she is reliable, trustworthy, dependable, firm, and supportive.

There are two sides to this. In one way something or someone is being dependable, trustworthy, or reliable. The other way is to consider someone or something dependable, trustworthy, or reliable. When we consider someone else to have these characteristics we are trusting  them, depending upon them,  and relying on them. This is the basic meaning to Hebrew ideas of faith.

True belief in God is a trusting confidence in Him that says “God I trust my life in your hands.” And to have the Grace of God upon your life simply means to have God’s favor on your life. In other words He likes you, better yet He Loves you and if God loves you then who can be against you.

Oh how sweet those words:

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”

Go ahead, take the dare today. Dare to trust in God’s grace. Trust in it with all your heart. Lean upon the fact that God approves of you and He even favors you. He is reliable, dependable, trustworthy, firm, supportive, and is crazy in love with you.

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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 below:

Dare to Trust in Grace
By: Raymond Brady
Article Source: www.BuildYourHouseOnTheRock.org





Taking Your Next Step

24 04 2009

My wife emailed me the other day with a thought provoking comment. She read this on someones facebook profile so I thought I would pass this along. It made me think.

God is not responsible to show you the next step you should take…when you refuse to take the step He’s already shown you!!!

Hmmm. A quick Google search doesn’t find the original author of this quote so maybe it was her Facebook friend. Anyway, God does ask us to take steps and make descisions in life. I could see some truth to this statement given the fact that if we are not obedient to what God has asked us to do in the past then why would He show us what’s along the path next. But, God has always made provisions for His people.

I am thinking of the children of Israel after they left Egypt. They came into the desert and to Mt. Sinai where the Lords presence descended upon the mountain. God intended for this to be a place where His people came up into the mountain and visited with Him. He gave Moses instruction in Exodus chapter 19 to tell the people not to come up into the mountain until they heard the trumpet blow. If they came and touched the mountain before it was time they would die.

We know from reading this chapter that they became afraid and even Moses didn’t understand God’s original instructions. He too thought the people would die if they touched the mountain. He forgot the part about the trumpet. When the trumpet sounded then they could all come up into the mountain in an orderly fashion. We know that because of their fear and lack of trust in God they did not experience God’s presence that day. The path they chose ultimately led them into rebellion and way from God.

Sometimes God’s ways can seem a bit freightning at first, but when we put our trust in Him He will lead us in the ways that we should go. If we choose to not follow because we are afraid then our ultimate path will be one like the children of Israel in the wilderness. It is also refreshing to see how merciful God was to them by even providing for their basic needs in the widerness.

God had so much more in store for them in the promise land and He wanted them to walk into it. However, He mercifully provided their basic needs in the wilderness by giving them mana, the pillar of fire, the cloud, and water from the rock. Don’t settle for a wilderness experience with God. He has so much more for you in the promise land.

The promise land for us today is not physical land somewhere on the earth, but it is a spiritual promise land. When Christ was crucified on the cross he made a way for you and I to enter into this beautiful spiritual promise land. It is a beautiful place where you can drink water that quinches your thirst forever. A place where you receive rest for your weary soul. Oh how beautiful is the promise land of God when you find it by way of the cross!





God is our General Contractor

21 04 2009

We all have a dream house in our mind. One that we would love to build for our family. Our plan is unique to us and fits our needs perfectly. However getting to the place in life where finances line up is what limits most of us from accomplishing this dream.

The purpose of Build Your House On The Rock is to encourage you to trust in God. He is our Master Builder, if He builds our spiritual house then it will stand forever. In fact without trusting in Him to do the building all we will be able to build is a shack of a life. It may look fancy but the first big storm that blows through will wipe it out and leave us with nothing.

Our life is like a house under construction. Consider on what foundation your house will be built. What foundation is your life built on today? Are you facing disaster in your life? Has your house fallen to pieces? If you can relate to any of these questions then God wants to help you rebuild your life.

God is our general contractor on this building project of life. He knows how the house needs to be built and we should allow Him to direct the entire project.

Psalm 127:1-2

If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. If God doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap. It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? (MSG)





Trusting in God

9 04 2009

“All I have seen teaches me to trust in the Creator for all I have not seen.”
R.W. Emerson

TRUST IS DANGEROUS

Trust is a dangerous thing. It means placing our welfare, our wellbeing, in the hands of another. Therefore, trust is only as safe as the thing or person we’re trusting in.

We must make the choice of whether to trust God or not. Indecision will cripple us and keep us bound in a prison of hopelessness. If you have a hard time trusting God for the future you can look to the past and gain strength.

If the person or thing has demonstrated trustworthiness in the past, we are comfortable trusting him or it for the future. If the person or thing has not demonstrated trustworthiness in the past, we are not comfortable trusting him or it in the future. It is as simple as that.

On a side note I recently read a book titled The Present by Spencer Johnson, an absolutly wonderful book. I would recommend that you read it. I will not divulge the secret of the book here but I will just recommend that you read this book. 

KING SOLOMON

In Proverbs Solomon spends much of the time telling us the reults of wisdom and the results of foolishness. When we see how consistently foolishness produces pain and how consistently wisdom produces joy, there is every reason to trust God and follow his principles of wisdom in life.

When we have a healthy view of the fool and his foolishness we can clearly see that foolish living will only bring us pain and suffering, ultimately it will bring death to our life if we follow it.

THE EXAMPLE OF A CAR

Our trust in God is simply the same type of trust that we give to several other things in life every day. Let me give you an example:

Everyday I travel in my car, sometimes at speeds of 70 mph on the highways. This is a deadly thing to do given the statistics of people dying everyday in car accidents. Yet, I trust my car with my life. I trust in it’s power to get me where I need to go, I trust in the streering wheel to direct my car down the winding roads, and I trust in it’s brakes to stop me when I have an emergency.

Now some of you may read this and say my car is a piece of junk, I don’t trust it as far as I can throw it. To that I would ask, why do you not trust it?

I know your answer already. “because it is a piece of junk and has let me down before.” That is how we base our trust in God as well. We can see a great cloud of witnesses all around us that give us great reason to trust in God. The reason your car is not very dependable is either because it is old and time to be replaced, or it has not been treated in a good manner.

God never grows old and weary, and his hand is never too short to reach down and save us. But, we have to trust him to receive it.

AN EXERCISE IN FAITH

Grab a piece of paper, a pen, and plan on spending about 10-15 minutes on this exercise. Now don’t hit your back button already. This will be the most encouraging 15 minutes you can spend.

Find a quiet place where you can think without being disturbed. Answer the following three questions after thinking on them for a few minutes each. Don’t rush through it.

1. Think back to your earliest memory of God in your life. Maybe a sunday school class when you were a kid or maybe even a church when you were 21. Just think about your first encounter with God. Go back to your childhood and try to see a place where you heard about God. Write down as much detail as you can about this first encounter.

2. Think over your whole life and find 2-3 situations where God answered a prayer for you. Descibe as much detail about the answers as you can.

3. Think over your whole life and find 2-3 times where God did NOT answer your prayers. Try and find prayers that cannot be answered anymore. You want things that have no chance of being answered anymore. Be careful as you think about situations. Try and list other things that could have stopped your prayer from being answered.

CONCLUSION

Most people will wonder why I would ask someone to try and find 2-3 things that God has not done for them. Well, this challenges our mind to think. This kind of thinking usually helps us take a good look at why we feel the way we do about God. It helps us identify things that have happened in our life that has caused our faith to lessen.

If we look hard at these things we will most likely see something or someone that failed us rather than God failing us. But we must look at them from a clear vantage point. If we are still in the midst of the emotions tied to them our thinking is skewed.

People can hold onto prayers they did not feel were answered by God for a long time. This leads to our faith growing stagnant and weak. King David encouraged himself in the Lord. He knew what God had done in the past for him and this helped him trust God for the future. If God had worked in his life before than surely God would do it again.

1 Samuel 30:6
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

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