Bring your problem to Jesus

Recently I have been reading and re-reading the New Testament book of Matthew. As I have been working my way through it I have come across a few interesting things. One that I want to share today comes from Matthew chapters 8 & 9.

One thing that really stood out to me was that when someone had a problem they took it to Jesus. It didn’t matter what it was, if they took it to Him, He dealt with it. Here are a few examples…

  • The man with leprosy (Matthew 8:1-4) – He knelt before Jesus and said if you are willing I will be healed. Jesus was willing and healed him.
  • The Centurion’s slave (Matthew 8:5-13) – He asked Jesus to “say the word” and his servant would be healed from a distance. Jesus said the word and he was healed.
  • The calming of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) – The disciples were terrified as the storm on the lake threatened their lives. They called to Jesus and He stilled the storm.
  • The Paralytic man – (Matthew 9:1-8) – Some friends brought the paralytic man to Jesus in faith that He could heal him. Jesus told him to pick up his mat and go home. He got up and walked.
  • The Dead Girl (Matthew 9:18-26) – A man came to Jesus and told of his dead daughter. He said if you touch her, she will live. Jesus touched her and she lived.
  • The Sick Woman (Matthew 9:20-22) – The woman who had been bleeding non stop for 12 years came to Jesus. She knew if she could touch His cloak she would be healed. She did and she was healed.
  • The Two Blind Men (Matthew 9:27-31) – Two blind men came asked Jesus to have mercy on them. He asked if they believed He could heal them. They said yes and they were healed.
  • The Mute Man (Matthew 9:32-33) – A man was brought to Jesus who was demon possessed and could not speak as a result. The demon was driven out and he was healed.

In all of these cases the people brought their problem to Jesus. They came in faith or their friends brought them in faith, and Jesus dealt with their problem and restored the situation. Nothing was too big or too small. Jesus handled it all.

If you are struggling today with an illness, a broken relationship or there is another type of storm in your life, I would encourage you to bring it to Jesus today. He is more than willing and capable of handling it today. Simply come in faith.

God Bless,

Dave

Being one

I was reading John 17 again this morning. It touches on unity or being one and why this is so important. Have a read of verses 20-23 from John 17. It is a prayer of Jesus about the disciples and the future followers.

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

Two keys are in this for us today…

1. As Christians we need to be found “in” the Father and the Son. We need to be caught up in the Trinity relationship. Walking, talking, communing with them as we go about life. It says as we do this the world will believe that the Father sent the Son.

2. As Christians we need to display the same unity as the Father and Son do. They are one in love, in relationship, in purpose, in mission. We are not all the same and we don’t all think the same, but Jesus prayed for us to be one. Again Jesus wants us to be one so the world may see and believe the Father sent the Son.

For me being unified or being one starts with each of us being one with the Father, Son and Spirit first. And then moving out into the world from there. When we are one with the Father, Son and Spirit, being one with others should just fall into place.

Why is this unity or oneness so important? So the world may see and believe the Father sent the Son into the world to be our Saviour (see John 3:16).

God Bless,

Dave

Never stop praying

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “never stop praying” in the NLT or to “pray continually” as the NIV puts it. Both of these translations give us a clear thought of being in constant conversation with God. For me this works out in a couple of ways.

1. Set times – Each day I have a time set aside to pray to God. This is where I sit with my prayer journal and write the things down that are on my heart or people have asked me to pray about. Once the list is written out, I then pray my way through them. It is formal and structured, but there is still room to hear from God or add extra things in.

2. On the journey – This is simply praying as I go about my daily life. I try to think of it as having an open telephone line to God. At any time of the day or night, no matter where I am, I can call on Him. I might be asking for wisdom or guidance, help in what I am doing, asking what He wants me to do next, praying for a friend or family member, or asking for protection. They are the things that come up as I go about my day.

So am I saying that I pray at every minute of the day? No, of course not! I just want to have an attitude of prayer where I  am trying to be connected to God as much as I can. My heart is to be in tune with the Creator of the universe so I can call on Him when I need help or guidance…or where He can call on me when He wants me to do something for Him.

God Bless,

Dave

Jesus touched people

One of the things I have been reflecting on lately is that Jesus often touched people. It didn’t matter if they had Leprosy or other diseases he still touched them with compassion.

This is particularly interesting because in Jesus’ times if you touched someone who had leprosy you instantly made yourself ritually unclean. You then had to go through an intense washing process to be “right” again. Because of this many Rabbis and Teachers of the Law avoided touching people, it was a social and spiritual taboo.

This is one of the great things about Jesus. He could have come and sat on a throne and issued teachings from afar, but instead He chose to live amongst the people. He walked, talked, healed, taught, touched and ate with people everyday.

If you have a perception that God is a far off and distant God who is removed from His creation, I would encourage you to look at the life of Jesus and see what God is really like. I think you will find, like I have, that He truly was and is a man of the people.

God Bless,

Dave

Peter’s mother in law healed

In Matthew 8:14-15 we see an interesting healing that involved the Apostle Peter’s mother-in-law. It says…

“When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him”.

This healing was just after the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus healing a number of people of leprosy and the healing of the slave of the Roman Soldier.

The thing I like about this healing is that it was not a public healing to show that God’s power was with Jesus. It was a private healing to restore Peter’s mother-in-law to health. Jesus saw she was sick and brought healing.

This simple healing can give us confidence to pray for our own families in times of illness. The healing power of God is not just available to crusade type events to bring people salvation. It is also personal and for the ones closest to us.

God Bless,

Dave

The Faith of the Roman Soldier

In Matthew 8:5-13 there is an interesting passage that looks at the faith displayed by a roman soldier or the centurion as he is sometimes known. It says…

“5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, 6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour”.

I find there are two things really interesting in this passage.

1. The Centurion understands the authority of Jesus – as a soldier under command we see that he knew and understood authority and the power of the order. He knew that just as a General doesn’t have to be present for the order to be accepted, Jesus didn’t have to be present for his servant to be healed. He knew Jesus had the power to heal his servant and that he would be made well by Jesus’ command from a distance.

2. Jesus included him in the Kingdom because of his faith – up until this point in time the Jewish nation of people (or Israelites) thought they were the only ones who would eat at the great feast in heaven. However Jesus says that many will come from all ends of the earth who are Gentiles (non Jews) and eat. He goes on to say that some in the House of Israel will miss out. No longer is the issue about birth or race, it becomes about faith in Christ and believing in who He is.

In this passage Jesus opens it up for all to come in to Him in faith. It doesn’t matter where you were born, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter if your family is a family of faith. You can come to Him, find salvation and eat at the great feast in heaven that is promised to all those who believe.

God Bless,

Dave

True disciples

In Matthew 7:21-23 there is a section titled, “True disciples” in the NLT Bible. It comes immediately after a section that talks about false prophets so it gives us a contrast between the good and the bad disciples. It says…

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

As I read this section of Scripture two things spring to mind.

1. Being a true follower of Jesus is about being obedient to the Father’s will – I have found that my Christian walk works best when I seek God and ask what He wants me to do. Rather than just run around and do all the “good” things I could do, I need to be obedient to the Father’s promptings and then do my best to complete them.

2. Being a true follower of Jesus is about relationship – Jesus’ words “I never knew you” shows us that it is possible to do good works and not be in relationship with Him. I can have an intellectual knowledge of God and copy what other ministers do and get good results, but a personal relationship might not exist.

True disciples are obedient to the Father’s will and are in an ongoing personal relationship with the Son.

God Bless,

Dave

PS. This message is also available in MP3 here.


The Beatitudes

In Matthew 5:3-10 Jesus opens the Sermon on the Mount with The Beatitudes or the be-attitudes as I have heard them called. It says…

3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

It is interesting to note that the Greek work used for “blesses” is Makareeos (Mak-ar-ee-os). This word can be translated as supremely blessed, fortunate, well off, or happy. This helps us to further understand what this passage means.

When I first read this passage years ago I thought it was talking about different groups of people. However, over time I have come to see that these are the attitudes we should all display as Christians.

In much the same way we should display the Fruits of the Spirit that Galatians 5:22-23 talks about, as Christians we should display these qualities that Jesus opened His most famous sermon with.

God wants us to realise our need for Him, He wants us to want to see justice done, He wants us to be merciful, He wants us to be pure of heart. He also promises to comfort us when we mourn and when we are persecuted for our faith.

Let’s all purpose today to really live with pure hearts, to be humble, to work for peace, to show justice and realise our complete and total dependence on God.

God Bless,

Dave

Jesus: The narrow gate

In Matthew 7:13-14 the Bible says, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it”.

This verse is referring to how a person gets into God’s Kingdom. In this passage Jesus is referring to Himself as the Gate or the way we find salvation.

As I reflect on this narrow gate I am reminded of sheep coming in to be shorn by the shearers. They come from a large paddock and then the fencing gradually narrows until there is only room for one sheep at a time to pass through. It passes through with not much room on either side.

For us when we enter God’s Kingdom through the narrow gate, there is not much room on either side for us either. We can’t bring our achievements to impress God, we can’t bring our wealth or riches to buy our way in, we can’t bring our pride.

When we come to this narrow gate, that many don’t find because of the things above, we simply come humbly seeking to enter God’s Kingdom. We come in faith and hope and looking to Jesus as the Gate. We come not knowing all the answers, but we come seeking Jesus.

Jesus tells us in the Bible that He is the way to the Father, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and that He is the only way we can find salvation and rest for our weary souls (Acts 4:12, Matthew 11:28). Will you come to Jesus today? Will you enter through the narrow gate of Jesus?

I would encourage you to visit my “Finding salvation” page now to enter into God’s Kingdom. Enter through the narrow gate that is Jesus and begin a whole new journey of faith and life today. You can do this here http://www.passionaustralia.org/salvation.html.

God Bless,

Dave