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 – – –

Like This!

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/

 

Advertisements




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.

Like This!





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





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.

– – –

Related Articles: Remembering the Past to Build a Future