95% of God’s will for our lives

When I was a brand new Christian I used to pray and ask God’s will for my life. I would stress and strain and seek and seek and seek. Of course this is not a bad thing to seek God in regard to His will.

However, as time has gone on I have come to realise that 95% of God’s will for my life is that I come to know Him personally. For me this happened when I asked Jesus into my life in 1989.

The rest of God’s will, I believe, is that we grow in our faith and we walk in His ways. God wants us to keep moving forward in our learning about Him and His ways. This comes by prayerfully reading and reflecting on the Bible.

When we prayerfully read the Bible, God’s will seems to just come to pass. Our thoughts slowly get more in tune with God and we see things around us that God is involved in. As a result we want to get involved.

God’s ultimate will is that we come to know Him personally. He wants to be a part of our life and He wants us to be a part of His life. He wants us to spend this life walking with Him and then eternity with Him.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ personally I would encourage you to visit my Finding Salvation page here. Then you will know 95% of God’s will for your life too.

God Bless,

Dave

Don’t let Jesus pass you by

I was reading Mark 6:45-56 this morning. This is the passage that the NIV Bible heads up as “Jesus walking on the water”.

This passage talks about Jesus sending the disciples ahead Him across the lake to Bethsaida. While they went He went up the hill to pray. As they journeyed a huge storm blew in and they feared for their lives.

I have read this passage many times before, but today as I read it I noticed verse 48 and saw something I have never seen before. It says…

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them…

As I said I have read this passage many times before but have never really noticed that Jesus was about to pass them by. The reason why Jesus stopped was that they “cried out” (v49).

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they had not of cried out to Jesus. Would He have stopped? Would He have saved them?

I think the same thing can happen to us today. We can be going through a difficult time and we don’t call out to Jesus for help. He is always ready and willing to answer our cry for help.

If you are going through a hard time today, I would encourage you to not let Jesus pass you by. Cry out to Him for help today.

God Bless,

Dave

The church is full of hypocrites

One of the sayings I have heard a number of times over the years in the church is full of hypocrites. It usually comes from people who are not interested in church or have been hurt by a church at some time.

Dictionary.com says that a hypocrite is “a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess.” My Bible software says it is “an open display of religion without genuine commitment”. Ouch!

It is interesting when you look at some of the ways the Bible describes this type of behaviour. Here are a few examples…

1. Displaying religion with no love for God (Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 6:2-6)

2. Claiming love for God while mistreating others (Matthew 12:38-40, 1 John 4:20)

3. Not practicing what they preach (Matthew 23:3, Romans 2:17-24)

4. Sticking only to the letter of the law (Matthew 23:16-23, Luke 13:15-16)

5. Criticizing another for one’s own sins (Matthew 7:3-5, 6-13)

6. Being outwardly beautiful and inwardly rotten (Matthew 23:27-28)

7. Having only an outward form of godliness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Timothy 3:5)

8. Lying to make oneself look good (Acts 5:1-10)

What I find interesting from the above verses is that many of them come from the read letter sections of the Bible. In other words the words that Jesus spoke! Having a genuine faith and a real love and commitment to God was very important to Jesus.

Let’s all purpose in our hearts today not to be hypocrites. Let’s really live the Christian life in a way that honours God and shows the people around us we are serious about the faith we profess.

God Bless,

Dave

PS. If you are reading this by RSS feed you can visit my website and hover over the Bible verses to read what they say.

The Humility of Jesus

One of the things I love about Jesus is the humility He showed in coming to earth and how He lived while He was here. This is stark contrast to how many famous people or people in positions of power live their lives.

Today I thought I would share some of the passages of Scripture that look at Jesus’ humility…

1. His coming to earth – In 2 Corinthians 8:9 we see that though Jesus was rich, He became poor. He gave up the glories of heaven to live amongst us.

2. His servant life – Luke 22:27 talks about Jesus being the one who served us. Mark 10:45 echoes this thought in that Jesus came to serve and not be served.

3. He did the Father’s will – Jesus tells us in John 6:38 that He didn’t come to do His own will, but the will of His heavenly Father.

4. He washed feet – John 13:4-5 says that Jesus got up during the passover meal and washed His disciples feet. The King of universe bent down to wash dirty feet.

5. He rode a donkey – Matthew 21:5, 7 looks at how Jesus rode into Jerusalem. He could have chosen a golden chariot, but He chose a donkey.

6. He died on a cross – Philippians 2:8 tells us that Jesus humbled Himself by dying on a roman cross.

Jesus was and is the King of the universe. But in humility He came to earth, lived a servant lifestyle and died on the cross. Jesus humility is a great lesson for us all.

God Bless,

Dave

The resurrection and the lies that followed

I was reading through Matthew 28:1-15 yesterday. It is the section that talks about the resurrection of Jesus and what happens just afterwards.

In verse two we see that there was a violent earthquake and an angel came and rolled the stone away. Jesus was resurrected – He was dead and then He came back to life.

Verse four says guards of tomb saw everything that happened. It says they were so afraid of the angel that they shook and became like dead men. I could imagine how seeing all this would make feel like that!

The story goes on to say that the guards went back to the chief priests they told the truth about what happened (v11). Of course the chief priests realised they were wrong about Jesus and they came to believe in Him…apparently not!

Instead the chief priests and the elders devised a plan to pay off the guards to say they fell asleep and the disciples stole Jesus’ body in the night (v12-13). The guards went along with this and the story was widely circulated (v15).

The thing I find interesting in all of this is just how quickly people wanted to deny the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. The guards saw what happened. But the chief priests didn’t want this story to get out so they paid them off.

If the truth of the resurrection had become widely known to all, the chief priests and the elders would all have to admit they were wrong about Jesus. They would have to admit He was the Son of God and that they had crucified Him. Their religious authority and power would be gone.

Even today some people and faiths try to deny the resurrection. Some believe that Jesus took some powerful herbs to make Him sleep like He was dead. Others believe that Judas’ face was changed to look like Jesus and it was Judas that was crucified.

The reality is though, that Jesus died and on the third day He rose to life. Some may try to deny this event took place, but I for one chose to believe it and accept it. In fact I chose to live my life in light of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection for us all.

God Bless,

Dave

The God of second chances

I was reading through 1 Timothy chapter one this morning and I came to verses 15-16. In this passage the Apostle Paul describes himself as the “worst of all sinners”. It says…

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

In this passage we see that God is a God of second chances. Before Paul came to Christ he was know as Saul of Tarsus. He was known for arresting Christians and destroying churches (Acts 9:1-2).

We see elsewhere in the Bible that he was very ambitious in Judaism and was second in rank amongst his peers. His driving passion was to stamp out the new group of people who were known as followers of “The Way” or followers of Jesus.

As he was one of his journeys he was met on the road to Damascus by Jesus Himself. A light blinded him and Jesus spoke to him saying “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). As you can imagine this was a major turning point for Saul who became known as Paul!

Paul then got adopted into this new group of Jesus followers and before long he was preaching to the Jews and converting them to Jesus. He was able to show them that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for (Acts 9:20, 22).

Over the next 20 years or so we see that Paul became one of the greatest missionaries of all time. He planted many churches and taught many people how to follow Jesus personally. He even came to be known as the Apostle to the Gentiles (1 Timothy 2:7). He also wrote much of the New Testament as we know it today.

The thing I love about the story of Paul is that it is so much the story of God and mankind. God in His infinite love for us is able to look past our sin, our hatred, our bigotry, our violence and He is able to reach out to us where we are at…just like He did to Saul/Paul.

God is a God of second chances. No matter who we are or what we have done, He stretches out His hand from eternity and invites us to Himself. He wants to restore us, love us, guide us, lead us and be our friends. He wants to adopt us as His children.

If you are reading this today and you are wanting to experience the God of second chances personally, I would encourage to visit my “finding salvation” page. God loves you and He wants to offer you a new start today. He wants to give you a second chance.

God Bless,

Dave

PS. A version of this message is available in MP3 here

Groups of people in Jesus’ time

When I was at Bible College one of the assignments I had to do was about the four main groups of people that were around when Jesus walked the earth. This was to give us an idea of what life was like at that time and to give us a context for Jesus’ words.

The four main groups we have to look at were the Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes and Zealots. Here’s a very brief rundown of each group…

Pharisees – very strict sect who followed the law of Moses and had over 600 laws to guide their daily lives. They spent a lot of time interpreting the laws and trying to apply them to their everyday lives. They believed Israel was a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation and thought that if all of Israel could keep the law for one day, then the Messiah would come. Jesus spoke out against them because they were more interested in keeping the law than showing compassion to those around them and looking good on the outside.

Saducees – they also followed the law of Moses but rejected many of the oral traditional laws that the Pharisees held. Their main focus was the Temple and Temple activities. They did not believe in an afterlife or future judgement. They believed that God did not intervene in the affairs of men and their motto was if it is to be, it is up to me. Because of this they survived by cooperating with the Roman authorities which gave them much power in the Jewish religion. To be a Saducee you must be of priestly heritage. The Saducees were the main teachers in the Temple.

Essenes – this group of people saw themselves as the only people who worshipped the true faith and that they were the true remnant of Israel. They believe all others had left the true teachings behind and the Temple had been corrupted. Because of this they separated themselves in their own communities and lived a very strict monastic lifestyle. They believed that God would come and judge the rest of the Jews and the world and vindicate their beliefs about God and true religion. They avoided all unnecessary contact with non-Essenes.

Zealots – they were part of the Jewish patriotic party and opposed the Roman occupation of the region at all costs. Their motto was we will have no king, but God. Their goal was a land truly free from Gentile defilement, just as God had originally intended according to them. They sometimes used violence to bring their cause to pass. Some of the community of Jews saw them as bandits, but they saw themselves freedom fighters.

The interesting thing about this assignment and it really helped me to understand life in New Testament times a little bit better. I thought I would share it so it would help you too.

God Bless,

Dave

Three essentials of being a good servant

As a committed Christian my heart is to be a servant of God. I want to follow Jesus’ example of servant-hood (Mark 10:45, Matthew 12:18, Philippians 2:7).

I really want to use my life to serve God and to serve others. As I have been reflecting on this idea of servant-hood, three things have come to mind…

1. A servant should have only one Master – as Christians our sole Master must be God Himself. We can’t have divided attentions or divided loyalties.

2. A servant should be submissive to the Master’s will – a true servant must have a desire to do the Master’s will. Like Jesus did on the Garden, He surrendered His will to the Father.

3. A servant must be faithful to the Master – 1 Corinthians 4:2 talks about if we have been given a trust, it is important that we are found to be faithful.

Let’s purpose in our hearts today to be God’s devoted servants. Let’s have Him as our sole Master, be surrendered to His will and be faithful to Him in all we do.

God Bless,

Dave