Thursday, August 30, 2018

Red-Letter Promise - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

 But Jesus looked at them and said, With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:16-26 

Found in three of the gospels, the “Story of the Rich Young Ruler” reminds us that complete dependence on God opens our hearts to eternal life. The young ruler owns much property, follows the holy commandments, but realizing there is more, asks what he must do to “obtain eternal life”. Jesus tells him that he must sell all his possessions and give them to the poor, then “Come, follow Me”. The young ruler went away sad for he was very wealthy. 

Jesus teaches the disciples that greed can be a “hindrance to embracing the gospel”. False security of wealth can create self reliance, while dependence on God grows faith. At this time, religious culture believes that wealth and success implies God’s favor. In this context, the disciples wonder if the wealthy could not have eternal life, then who? 

A self-reliant person shuns dependency. An intellectual ridicules childlike faith. But salvation is impossible to achieve on our own; it requires a humble cry to God for help. What is impossible for us is possible with God—on His terms. -Blackaby
Truthfully, God does not favor any one person or group of people; all individuals stand equal before Him. Jesus’ words make it clear that salvation is impossible with people - not with good deeds or by following the rules or being a kind person. Only by being willing to give up everything, to lay down one’s own agenda, to give priority to God’s plan will we find ourselves spiritually dependent upon God. Grace is possible only though Christ, the Red-Letter Promise of a God who can do all things! - dho

**Matthew 19:16-26, Mark 10:21-26, Luke 18:24-30. (The Rich Young Ruler)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Beyond My Doubt - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Mark 9:23 NLT

In this scene a father, desperate to find healing for his son, approaches Jesus begging, “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” Jesus almost sounds incredulous in His reply ‘If I can’ then confidently continues, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Believes? Believes what?

In defining the Greek word believes, faith or trust is understood. Faith in what? Believing faith must be rooted in Christ and the knowledge of an ever-faithful God. We must believe God can do anything, believe He has the power or ability to accomplish any task or influence any outcome. This faith requires a belief that we have all we need in God; any ability or talent or strength comes from God. We must believe that faith itself is a gift from God. 

In the interaction with Jesus, the father cries out, “I do believe and help me overcome my unbelief.” This father needs to believe Jesus can heal his son and wants to believe beyond any doubt. Like us, our definition of faith is sometimes in conflict with our desperate needs. Trusting that God is greater than our difficulties, that He knows our deepest grief or greatest longing, tests our truest beliefs, exposes our smallest doubts. 

This story reinforces God’s power over Satan’s battle for our souls. The struggle is real and never ending this side of heaven. Our knowing - our faith - must be more about who God is  and not about the outcomes. The same struggles with evil continue for us, and our greatest weapons are prayer and faith. Prayer is part of the healing process for us. Faith must believe the Lord will always win the battle because He can do all things. - dho

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How Can This Be? - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

Some 1,000 years after the time of David, Scriture takes us to Nazareth and introduces us to Mary. Recorded in the Gospel of Luke, it is possible that Mary herself tells Luke her own story, recalling the angel Gabriel's unexpected visit, the immaulcate conception, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of the Messiah. Luke's writing reveals God's plan of Grace, divinely designed before time and miraculously conceived in Mary's virgin's womb. Once again, the words nothing will be impossible with God take us to place of immense possibility.

Gabriel delivers God's message to Mary, calling her favored one, describing how she will give birth to a son and name him Jesus. Gabriel says this child, "will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David." Beyond her understanding, Mary asks, "How can this be?" Mary's faithful response echoes throughtout the centuries to follow, "May it be done to me according to Your word." Warren Wiersbe writes, "Mary yielded herself to the Holy Spirit knowing full well that she would experience shame and misunderstanding."
God's purposes for us exceed our abilities and cannot be accomplished apart from Him. However, that is how God works. When He reveals His plans, He is also promising to fulfill them. Trust Him and remember, with God, nothing is impossible! - Blackaby 
We, too, stand in awe of a mighty God whose majesty and mystery confound our abilities to understand. To confess the "mystery of faith" requires a belief that goes beyond proof, requires a faith that cannot adequately explain this truth but lies at the core of Christianity. Christ, born of a virgin, is crucified and dies, but three days later He rises from the grave and returns to sit at the right hand of God. This remains God's never-ending promise of redemption for whomever believes. Like Mary, we wonder, "How can this be?" Perfect Love responds, "Nothing will be impossible with God." Let me reply, "May it be done to me according to Your word! -dho

Thursday, August 09, 2018

God of All My Days - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

In my worry, God You are my stillness
In my searching, God You are my answers
In my blindness, God You are my vision
In my bondage, God You are my freedom
In my weakness, God You are my power

...You're the God of all my days  
- Casting Crowns

Please take a moment to listen to this song that gives voice to the soul's great desires - to find unconditional love, to find joy in difficulty, to find comfort in grief, to find strength in weakness, to find hope in redemption, to find this God who can do all things! - dho

Thursday, August 02, 2018

God’s Purpose - God Can Do All Things Summer Series

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’. Isaiah 46:9-10

In Isaiah 46-48, we read about the coming fall of Babylon and find exiled Israel worshiping pagan gods. Warren Wiersbe writes, “Isaiah exposes the folly of idols and exalts the greateness of Jehovah.” Isaiah calls for Israel to remember their past, to remember God’s fulfillment of prophecies, miracles of deliverance, and the blessings of provision. To see God’s revelation of His divine power and plan helps the people understand the past and hope for the future.

Yahweh, the one, true and living God, stands in contrast to multiple, non-living idols made by man. These pagan gods crafted of stone or wood, silver or gold cannot control destiny or give comfort as they are “merely a result of human creativity.” The idols and scorchers and astrologers that Israel worships cannot help them. Isaiah reminds them of the trustworthiness of the Lord.

Superior in all ways to the world’s idols, God with His divine power reaches out to each of us. From Genesis to Revelation God reveals His story, His plan for His people, and through the centuries echoes refrain, “there is no one like Me.” Any person can receive this gift of righteousness through faith in Christ whose abundant grace overflows. Unexpected and unmatched, Christ is God’s indescribable gift to us. Endless hallelujahs to my God who can do all things, especially the things I find impossible to accomplish or even imagine. -dho