Jesus healed the blind

Matthew 9:27-30 NLT – After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” [28] They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” [29] Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” [30] Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

In today’s reading there are a number of miracles. We see that Jesus had just raised a young girl from the dead. Then two blind men started following Him after He left the house. They wanted healing for their blindness. 

In this miracle there are a number of things happening.

1. The men followed Jesus because they had heard of His miracle healing power.

2. Jesus didn’t heal them straight away. It said they followed Him shouting and even followed Him into the house where He was staying. I wonder if He was testing their faith?

3. Jesus asked if they really truly believed He could heal them.

4. The blind men responded in absolute faith.

5. Jesus then touched them and their eyes were opened.

In tis instance Jesus responded and healed the blind men because of their absolute faith He could do it. They had faith and they determinely followed Jesus until their miracles came.

Determined unshakable faith that God can do anything is what it took on this ocassion. This is a good lesson for us today if we are looking for God to heal us.

Are you waiting for a miracle from God? Have unshakable faith and keep following Jesus. 

Blessings,

Dave

Tired of doing good?

If I am honest doing good can be tiring. I look back on my last position as Pastor and I wonder how I did all the things I did!

The truth is though we are called by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit when we do a role like Pastor of a church. And often the gaps we have in our skills or energy are filled in by God.

One key I found to not grow weary in doing good is to start the day with God. It is so easy to do all the things on your to do list, without checking in with God first. It is just so vital to be with God first, before starting His work.

As I type I think of the example of Jesus. A number of times we read in Scripture that Jesus went off to a solitary place to be with His Father. He checked in and only did what He saw the Father doing.

Today I would encourage you to check in with God before you start your work. Spend some time in prayer and in the Word, before you go to work or church.

For me, checking in with God first brings the heavenly energy and heavenly insight I need to do His work. We need this to reap the promised harvest.

Blessings,
Dave

No more tears

I am looking forward to this day. It will be a great day when Christ returns. At His return it will be the end of sin, pain, suffering, death and tears. While I still feel I have a lot to do here on earth, a large part of me yearns for that Day! How about you?

I love exercise but…

I love my exercise and keeping fit. I have trained all my life and I currently train six days a week in my 50s. My current program is three gym sessions and three mountain bike rides per week on alternate days.

However, while my exercise is important, my spiritual training is more important. As today’s verse says, it has benefits for this life and the life to come. I have this up in my home gym so I never forget. 

Physical exercise helps my heart, my muscles and my mind, but my spiritual exercise keeps me close to God and walking in His plan for my life. It also makes it better for the people around me, especially my family.

It is good to keep fit, but we need to make sure our spiritual fitness takes priority.

God Bless,

Dave

A prayer of praise

Jude 1:24-25 NLT – Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. [25] All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

In my Bible app the above verses were the “verse of the day”. It is titled, “A prayer of praise” in my NLT Bible. There are three things I love about these verses.

1. It gives all glory to God – He alone is the one who deserves all glory and praise. It says that all glory, power, majesty and authority have always belonged to Him.

2. He holds us firmly – it says He holds is firmly and keeps us from falling away. This gives me great comfort that my salvation does not depend on my strength, but God’s strength and the finished work of Christ on the cross.

3. We are faultless – I like how we will be go into His presence without a single fault. We are washed clean by the blood of Jesus and are faultless in God’s eyes because He sees us as in Christ.

Two simple verses that contain so much truth and comfort. I can see why the Bibles scholars have titled it a prayer of praise.

God Bless,

Dave

Encouragement is so vital

1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT – So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Encouragement is just so vital to us all. It is especially important for those who follow Christ. The world at times can weigh in on us and being depressing if we watch the nightly news. However, as Christians we have a number of sources where we can be encouraged.

1. The Bible – we can read of God’s love for us, His plan for our salvation and our heavenly home where we will spend eternity. This always lifts my spirit.

2. One another – as Christians we need to encourage one another. If we do a word study on the phrase “one another” in the Bible we see how important it is to God. He wants us to build each other up.

Years ago I made a decision to be an encourager. I have chose to look at the things people do and say and tell them something good about it. It always has a way of lifting their spirits.

I have also chosen to mine for my own encouragement. I read and watch things that encourage and inspire me. It might be things of faith, sporting achievements, or even people who help others in a big way.

So today I would encourage you to be an encourager. Look out for things that others do and tell them you appreciate it or how well they are doing. Also look for things to fill your own encouragement tank too.

God Bless,

Dave

Jesus healed the leper

Matthew 8:1-3 NLT – Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. [2] Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” [3] Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

I love this story of the healed leper. It was one of Jesus’ first miracles after His Sermon on the Mount. He taught great truths about the Kingdom of God and then He demonstrated the power and authority of the Kingdom.

In this miracle, Jesus not only healed the man of his leprosy, but he restored his previous life to him. Lepers were outcastes from society. They could not be around people as they made them “unclean” spritually. They could not be with their families, work, go to the Temple or function as a normal member of society. 

They were also forced to live outside the cities in leper colinies and if they did come near other people, they would have to yell “unclean, unclean, unclean”, so people knew they could be infected. It was life, but a lonely life that was waiting for death.

I love this miracle. It is one of my favourites. Not only because Jesus healed the leper, but because He restored him to his his old life too.

Showing favouritism?

James 2:1 tells us not to show favouritsm. It says, “Verse 1 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favour some people over others?”

It is a straight forward and clear reminder not to favour one person over another. In verses 2-4 it gives the example of favouring richer well-dressed people over poor people. It talks about giving richer people preferential seating, while the poor sit on the floor. It pretty much says “rich at front, poor on the floor”.

Recently I read a story I want to share that illustrates this point. It is about a Pastor and what God asked him to do before he started at his new church. It made such an impact in his community that it was reported in newspapers and on TV at the time. I will put links on the website version on this message.

“On the morning of Sunday, June 23, 2013, the newly-appointed pastor of Sango United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, Willie Lyle, lay down at the foot of a tree on the church grounds with an overcoat for a blanket. Unkept and bearded after spending most of the previous week on the streets, he looked for all the world like a homeless man, which was precisely the effect he hoped to achieve.

“He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, or a place to sit inside an air-conditioned room, or just see how they could help,” wrote freelance reporter Tim Parrish in a June 28 story for the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. “Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.”

When the time came to deliver his inaugural sermon he did so from that very spot, changing into a jacket and tie and shaving off his beard with the help of his daughter as he spoke. “Before the 200 people gathered that morning,” Parrish wrote, “he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.”

Appropriately, Lyle’s sermon was a call to emulate Christ, to not judge other people by appearances. “Our goal should be to improve and change the lives of people as we live like Jesus,” he said in closing. “You see, we look at the outside of others and make judgments. God looks inside at our heart and sees the truth.”

We need to remember that God sees everyone as special, as created in His image and made with a purpose. And there is not one person in this world that Jesus did not die for. As a result, we can’t discriminate and treat others differently.

Right with God

Romans 5:8-11 has some wonderful truths about our salvation because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. It says…

[8] But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. [9] And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. [10] For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. [11] So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Five things jump out at me as I read…

  1. We know God loves us – we know this because Christ died for us.
  2. We are right with God – Jesus’s death paid the price for our sin.
  3. We are not condemned – we are forgiven and set free from condemnation.
  4. We are friends with God – Jesus has made us friends with God.
  5. We can rejoice – we are free to live in God.

What a great passage of Scripture. It contains so much truth about what God has done for us in Christ. We are loved, forgiven and friends with God.

This is a great reason to rejoice today!

God Bless,
Dave

Cleansed and strengthened

1 John 1:8-10 NLT – If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. [9] But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Temptation and sin are sadly part of our lives here on earth. When we sin it has a way of spoiling our lives and the lives of the people around us. It also affects our relationship with God.

Today’s verses tell us that we all sin at times and if we say we don’t sin, we make God a liar. Thankfully God has made a way for us to be right with Him – confession. When we sin, we come to God in confession. We simply apologise and ask God to help us to live right.

In the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 it says…

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. [10] May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. [11] Give us today the food we need, [12] and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. [13] And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

A key component of this prayer is confession. It asks God to forgive our sins and to help us not yield to temptation. By doing this we are cleansed and strengthened.

Dear God, please forgive my sin. I am sorry for the wrong things I have done and for the right things I did not do. I ask that You would strengthen me when temptation comes and help me to live my life for You. Amen.