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





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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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.

– – – 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 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.

– – – 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:

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





Just a Branch?

18 05 2009

John 15:4 – Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (NIV)

grapevineHave you ever noticed braches on a fruit tree? The braches are where the fruit is produced. You will not find a fruit tree that grows fruit on it’s trunk. The branches must first grow and become mature enough to produce fruit. This maturity process involves nutrients being fed to the branch from the trunk. In fact a branch is created by the trunk.

As the branch is fed by the trunk it grows stronger each day. Once it has grown enough to support fruit it will begin to produce fruit in the right season. Jesus said we are the branches and if we want to bear fruit we must remain in Him.

The branch has an interesting job. It has a unique ability to create fruit for people to eat yet it cannot create this fruit on it’s own. It has to stay connected to the trunk in order for it to fulfil it’s purpose. If it becomes disconnected from the trunk it cannot create fruit.

The branch also does not have to work to be part of the trunk because it is already connected. The branch also does not have to strive to produce the fruit. What this means is that the branch does not do any real work at all in producing the fruit. It simply acts as a conduit to take the nutrients given by the truck  and transfer them out of itself. As these nutrients are pressed out an amazing transformation takes place and fruit is created.

Our job is simply to remain in Him. This simply means to rest in Him. He is everything we need and He will supply all that we need. How do we remain in Him? Simply by keeping our faith in Him. Verse 5 tells us that if we remain connected to Him we will produce alot of fruit and Jesus also reminds us that we cannot do anything on our own.

We have a purpose and we can produce an amazing amout of fruit as long as we stay connected to Christ. It is Him that does the work through us and not ourselves therefore we must remain in Him. We remain in Christ simply the same way we came to Him, by trusting Him and placing our faith in Him alone.

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.





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)