Table for 5000 Please–John 6 Part 1

Can you imagine the staggering impact Jesus’ question must have had on the disciples…How are we going to feed these folks. The buzz among his men must have been a mixture of shock and awe.  Clearly, there was no way either economically or logistically for the disciples to feed this crowd.  Yet, they have seen Jesus do amazing things every day.  So the brainstorming begins–it will take a half year’s salary, but that does not even deal with who will have that kind of supply! Andrew found a boy with a fish–kid’s meal–I am sure Jesus smiled at that one and said, “Okay, that should work!”

Remember, this same Jesus called the universe into being.  Light, earth, vegetation, sea creatures, birds, land animals and ultimately man. He has turned water into wine.  He has healed the sick, raised the dead, made the lame to walk and the blind to see. He has cleansed lepers, and astounded Rabbi’s–So what’s a little bread and fish among friends!!!

We need to remember–God has faced countless and impossible challenges for thousands of years.  He can handle the big ones like parting a sea or feeding a mob.  But, he takes equal care in  protecting his kids and meeting their needs.  He gets giddy about feeding a family.  But nothing brings him more joy than restoring that eternal bond with one of his own. We do not always know how God will execute his plan, but, with a little faith, we can rest easy that he is absolutely going to do so with excellence and power. What a guy to have a picnic with…right?

God Bless You

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

I get by with a Little Help from My Friends–Mark 2 part 1

Jesus was purposeful in his ministry.  He had a job to do.  He needed to convey to a lost world the true nature of God their creator, redeemer and father.  There is little doubt the man on the mat had no idea the import of his intrusion on the day’s sermon.  His buddies wanted to give him a fresh start and a chance to live a full and meaningful life—well they were more successful than they could ever have imagined.  Not only was he healed physically, but he was also forgiven by God for his sin!  What a foreshadowing, by God’s son.

The Jewish leaders of the day had their own vision of God, healing and forgiveness—sadly Jesus did not fit their mold.  Yet, he showed the people the love a father has and the concern he carries not only for our physical needs but also the spiritual.  That is the same yet today.  God is still purposeful! He still wants us to see him for who he is—not some distorted and controllable view a religious leader might portray.  He also wants us to understand he longs for nothing more than to see us follow him and be free from the chains life has wrapped around us—He loves as only a father can.

Be Glad—Your sins are forgiven, so get up and carry the message to all you know!

God Bless You

 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Let’s Get to It–Mark 1 part 4

Jesus preparation was done, his followers were coming aboard and his reputation growing in the community—time to go to work.  Jesus began his ministry by healing the sick and breaking the chains of possession by Satan.  It is quite revealing, however, that along with the highlights on miracles, Mark reports about Jesus’ personal time in prayer. It is no coincidence that after a day of ministry, Jesus headed out to be alone with the Lord.  It was as important to his mission and ministry as was his followers or his miracles.

We often forget that our walk with the Lord is the key to our doings for the Lord.  When we tie our personal relationship to activities and actions, it is easy to stop spending time in the word and in prayer.  But, the time alone with God is the key to successful ministry—Jesus knew that and demonstrated that from the start.  Martin Luther, the priest that started the reformation of the Catholic Church, used to say that because  of his hectic schedule he would have to spend an extra hour in prayer…He understood the nature of warfare.  No matter what is ahead, failure to prepare for battle and to arm yourself properly is a certain recipe for disaster.

Doing ministry and facing trial and temptation is a huge part of the Journey, but, personal time in God’s word and prayer are the critical part of your faith and walk with him.

God Bless You

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

God as Warrior–I Samuel 14 part 3

When we follow God’s Lead, it can completely change the world.  Israel was stuck on the sideline—no weapons, afraid and hopeless.  Jonathan trusted the Lord and followed him into battle and God caused a panic, re-invigorated the Israelite troops and routed the mighty Philistine army. All because Jonathan followed the Lord into battle.

In our lives, there are times when the battle seems lost, troops defeated and hope completely gone.  But, as we continue to follow the Lord into Battle, he can completely change the course of the battle and the condition of our hearts. He gives strength to the weary and hope to the hopeless.  He brings victor out of certain loss and humility out of utter pride. If we remain faithful, he will lead us to victory in his time. We can never give up, give in or lose hope.  Help me, Lord to follow you into battle and to see your mighty hand disrupt and defeat our enemy!

God Bless You

Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Watch God Go 1 Samuel 14 part 2

It is an amazing thing to see God at work.  When he takes control, the miraculous looks easy, the impossible manageable.  Jonathan stepped out in faith and watched to see what God could do.  He persuaded his armor bearer to step out with him.  the two of them waited on the Lord’s direction and then stepped into battle.  Little did they know that their faith would save the nation.

We need only believe and step out in faith to see God do amazing things.  When we do step out, we will find that those that know and love us will be inspired and step out as well.  When that happens, we begin to see Miracles as well as the true sovereignty of God.  It is a joy to follow the Lord, it is the most exciting and interesting thing to watch.  Help me Lord to follow and watch you do your thing

God Bless You

 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.”

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

Matthew 14 Final–Which Miracle Convinced Them

Which miracle was the most amazing? I imagine his disciples really struggled with the concept.  What single act could Jesus perform that would finally convince his followers that he was God and they should follow. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the masses, walked on water and controlled the weather—Seems adequate!  The reality has been, is and will always be that man’s selfish nature will never be content apart from surrendering his Life to God.  The lame that were healed—walked away. The hungry that were fed soon became hungry again.  Whatever the problem—when fixed made Jesus obsolete.  EXCEPT FOR ONE

Jesus became a man and paid a price to bring us back into fellowship with God.  He lived perfectly, gave continuously and died humbly to do the greatest miracle—Set the captives free.  Even today, we see the amazing hand of God.  And while history is replete with his amazing acts—we still awaken with the question…”What have you done for me lately?” When we understand we need to submit to the Lord because of who he is and not because of what he has done; then we can enjoy the freedom of following him as Lord—not messianic miracle worker.  Philippians 4 says it best—“Ï have learned to be content whatever my circumstances—well fed or hungry living in plenty or in want I can do all things through Christ—who strengthens me.”

If we are looking for the one miracle that will convince us—we will never follow. They didn’t then and we won’t now.  If we look for the leadership of a God that always keeps his word, we will find him AND see some pretty amazing stuff to boot.

God Bless You

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

 

Matthew 9 part 1–Your sins are forgiven

Immediate versus eternal–Throughout his ministry Jesus faced that battle.  There were many that believed or at least hoped that Jesus could heal their immediate needs and make them better.  Amazingly, the greater act of Lordship he could perform is the act of forgiveness and restoration of the relationship with the Father. Jesus came so that we could have eternal life in fellowship with God—but much of the crowd missed that.  They simply wanted to see the miracles and healing he performed.  They wanted to know him as entertainer and miracle worker—not as savior and Lord.

Sadly, the world has not changed much.  Many of us seek to leverage our faith to assure god does the miracles and healing in our life.  We want him to fix the problems we have now, but are not so concerned with the eternal needs we have. We still want to be the captain of our ship, but we want God to be there to plug the leaks if we start to sink. He just made clear on the mountain—“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the these things will be added to you.” God wants the relationship.  If we surrender and follow him he will protect and provide our needs and we will be free from the immediate s we can seek the eternal.

God Bless You

9 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.