I am not the wise man on the mountaintop dispensing knowledge. Far from it! I am the exhausted guy caked in dirt trying desperately to climb that very mountain as it repeatedly kicks my sorry butt back down to the valley. I am in the trenches, just like you.
The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God (Oswald Chambers). When you are on the mountain you can believe anything. But in the valley, you only have Jesus to get you out!
Pray with me Mark 9:22 – “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us!”
In Romans 9:33, Paul says there will be a rock that will trip some people. However, people who believe in that same rock will not be disappointed. The rock here is obviously Jesus.
I found it strange to think of Jesus as something negative: a stumbling block? Offensive? I don’t think so! Jesus is my Cornerstone! He is my Foundation! He helps me stand up! He does not cause me to fall down. However, it is all contigent on my hope in Him, on my belief in Him, and my love of Him.
Those who do not believe in Jesus will trip over him. Then it is negative. They will be offended by him.
Have you ever been in a conversation that was going just fine and then you mention Jesus, or God,… or heaven forbid: the Holy Spirit? That will put the brakes on any conversation quick and in a hurry. Suddenly it becomes awkward. The air is let out and people get claustrophobic. People get uncomfortable. Why is that? We can talk about everything under the sun, except The Son. Non-Christians don’t mind talking to Christians about non-Christians things. So why do Christians tiptoe around non-Christians?
Anyone who puts their faith in the Rock of Zion will “not be disappointed.” They will not be let down, wahsed out or discouraged. Instead, they will be vindicated. They will be comforted, blessed, and delighted. Paul was quoting Isaiah. Now there’s a man who knew a thing or two about society’s trepidation regarding Jesus! I’m sure he had numerous conversations that went sour. I’m sure he was on the business end of many eye rolls and people nervously staring at their sandals.
I’m also 100% sure that he was not in the least bit disappointed about any of it.
#stumblingblock #believe #therock #Jesus #firmfoundation
There have been many great names throughout history. Ask 10 people who they would say were great and you’ll probably get 10 different names. Different names are important to different people. We all have our heroes. We all have names of folks who really inspired us or made a difference.
For instance, I would say: da Vinci, van Gogh and of course, Picasso.
My wife would say: Newton, Aristotle and Pythagoras.
As great as those names are, none have even an ounce of power.
Only one name has power.
Only one name has real authority.
Only one name IN ALL OF HISTORY is above all names.
Only one name is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6).
Jesus is the only name you need to know. Wrapped up in 5 letters comes all strength and all salvation (Acts 4:12).
Einstein was genius, but speaking his name will not heal you.
Michelangelo was brilliant, but praying to his name could never save you.
When the Israelites were fleeing Egypt, they came up on the Red Sea. They thought, “We’re doomed!” Who wouldn’t? “Uh-oh, dead end. We’re finished.” Right?
Maybe for man. Not for God. God will find a way man could never even imagine.
You know what He did: God parted the waters!
I mean, that’s not even an option! Here are some logical HUMAN options:
Go around. Find a boat? Swim through. HIDE?!
That’s the thing: humans rely on their limited logic. With God, all things are possible! Our tiny peanut brains can’t even comprehend it!
God could’ve done – Any. Thing. Splitting the sea was just one of an infinite number of options for The Creator of the universe. There was no door, so God made one!
So when you are facing your Red Sea and you think your back is against the wall – look to God. He will have a solution you could never come up with yourself. God will create a door for you! He will part those waters like they were nothing… because with God on our side, our problems are nothing.
Following Jesus will change things. It will change everything actually. Your life will transform from night to day. Jesus will disrupt your thinking, your views and your attitude. If there is no change, if there is no illumination – you have not let Him in. You have not fully committed.
I described to Brittany how it’s like a light switch being turned on that cannot be turned off again. And really, why would you want to? Why would anyone go back to the shadows? No! What you do is, you get closer to the light. You try to make the light as big as possible. You want to tell everyone about the light! You want everyone that’s bumping around in the dark to flip that switch too!
I envision people with their eyes vehemently shut… almost spitefully so. There’s nothing covering their eyes. They are not blind. They are not even blindfolded. They cannot see because they are purposely shutting their own eyes!
“I got it, I got it. I can see just fine like this. Leave me alone!”
“Ah! OPEN YOUR EYES, MAN! You’re about to walk straight over a cliff! Let me help you!”
“Listen crazy-pants, I don’t need your help! Who are YOU to help ME? There is no such thing as light! There is no such thing as cliffs either!”
By the way, I’m aware of the double meaning of “switched on” as meaning “alert” and also “in love” because both apply. Following Jesus is being alert and it is being in love.
Commit to following Jesus today. Allow him to change your life. Walk in the light, man. Darkness is for chumps.
Compromise is a good thing, right? Compromise solves problems. Compromise allows both sides to have a little victory. In marriage, compromise is must. Brittany and I have learned how to resolve many issues using compromise. In politics, compromise is a vital tool to obtain diplomacy.
This may seem like common sense but, when it comes to our faith, compromise is not an option. The Bible is the authority, not my thoughts on it or your thoughts on it or anybody’s thoughts on it for that matter.
2 Tim. 3:16 says All Scripture is God-breathed. God-breathed beats man-breathed. Every single time. Period. End of story. Want to argue that point? You’re argument is already invalid. You want to argue the God-breathed part? Good luck, son. You on your own. Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Second-guessing God-breathed Scripture doesn’t sound like fearing the LORD to me.
Secularists want us to compromise. The world wants us to bend a little here and tweak a little there. You know, no big deal. “God didn’t mean stuff literally. You know that, right? It’s the 21st century, you seriously believe in Creation? The Flood? The Virgin birth?”
Yes. If it’s in the Scripture, then yes. No compromise. No apologies. I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God! Romans 1:16
Compromising to the world says man has some better ideas than God. Compromising to the world says man is smarter than God on certain things. (Wow, that was actually difficult just to type).
If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? I Cor. 14:8. Compromising takes a certain note and tweaks it. But the truth is, now that note is a different note. Make sure you know the right note so you can be ready with when you hear it!
One last thought: “Compromise” is “promise” with the prefix “com-” (which means “with,” or “together.”) Therefore, compromising takes God’s promise and joins it together with man’s changes. Yeah, no thanks.
Oswald Chambers* really moved me today in my daily devotional. He was speaking to Christians about their witness.
What do I mean by “witness?”
The way you present Jesus and his resurrection to others is your witness to them (Acts 1:22). But it’s also the way you present yourself! You can either be a good witness for Christ and help the Holy Spirit’s work or you can be a bad witness for Christ and hinder the Holy Spirit’s work.
Saint Francis of Assisi is attributed with saying: “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” We represent Christ here on earth. We are the Lord’s first line of defense and many times we fail Him. We mis-represent Him. We cause more harm than good. And more often than not, we do it without uttering a single word!
For example, when missionary Stanley Jones met with Gandhi, he asked him though he quoted the words of Christ often, why he rejected becoming a follower. The Mahatma said, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”**
How unfortunate that the Christians Gandhi met were poor witnesses. What if they were good witnesses? Imagine the impact just a few would have had on a whole nation!
Oswald Chambers suggests this verse: “My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” – I Cor. 2:4
To help strengthen your witness you must surrender to this fact: It is the Holy Spirit that accomplishes the miracle. It is not mine, or your’s, or anyone else’s words. Remove yourself from the equation and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. “He will create His own life in people.*” Once you are rooted in that reality, you cannot be shaken. Base your faith on that!
If anything, you and I just mess things up by getting in the way. Get out of the way and let God work!
Emotions change. Human experiences change. God does not change. Root yourself in our unmovable God and your faith will be secure. This will help you be more like Christ. Once you are more Christ-like, the Holy Spirit can use you. Only then will your witness do any good. Only then will your witness have any power.
After Peter’s first powerhouse of a sermon*, it says the people “were pierced to the heart.” Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like someone has stabbed you right in the chest by their words? Sometimes you read a scripture or you hear someone preach and it hurts your very heart! It’s as if the words cut into you and expose you. That is the Holy Spirit at work in you! God sees the heart. He pierces it to revive it. He pierces it to wake it up! It’s like a spiritual defibrillator!
To build muscle, you have to break it. Only God can create a new heart. Only God can grow your heart. Your heart has to break for what breaks His and then it will grow. Pray for Him to sing a new song over your heart. Psa 28:7
They were pierced and then asked, “What shall we do?”
Simple: Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a GIFT and Peter also calls him a PROMISE. God would never offer a gift and not give it. God would never speak a promise and not fulfill it. All you have to do is ask.
If God pierces you today, please allow him full access your heart. Repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. It’s a win-win!
You’ve probably heard the expression, “red herring.” Fans of mystery know what I’m talking about. It’s used to describe something that misleads or distracts you from the actual thing. Red herrings want to send you to the wrong conclusion.
The origin of “red herring” is debatable. People say it came from the training of hunting dogs. Once the dogs were familiar with the right scent, their trainers would drag a fish across their path. Initially, the dogs would be diverted by the new scent. They had to be trained to ignore that scent and stay focused on the original scent.
There are so many spiritual red herrings in our lives. Countless things mislead us or distract us. There are far too many things that can get us off the right scent and following the wrong trail. Next thing we know, we are lost.
Note that the dogs had to be trained. It wasn’t something that came naturally. Obviously, the scent of a tasty fish would throw them off! It was enticing! Things that get us off the trail are things that are attractive. Only with training could the dogs recognize the wrong scent and ignore it. It takes discipline and instruction.
We are pursuing Jesus. Our goal is Christ. Anything that is dragged across our trail to distract us, entice us, or mislead us MUST be ignored! We must recognize or (church word alert!) discern that it is not the right scent and discard it! Only through constant prayer, study, and communion with the Holy Spirit is any of this possible. Praise God for the Holy Spirit, am I right? Without which, we would be like lost hunting dogs chasing after the wrong prey.