Trusting Although Not Understanding

6th December

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.”

Ecclesiastes 11:5

There are so many things that we do not understand and so many questions we may have that probably won’t get answered this side of eternity. Does this mean we are to doubt because we do not know or do we simply trust in the One who does?

Take for example the two things the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote about in verse 5: the path of the wind and a baby growing in its mother’s womb. Both of these examples, helped by modern technology, are better understood now than when this verse was written, yet even with the technology we do have, they are both still great mysteries. Yes we can roughly plot where a heavy wind storm might come, but can we really tell exactly where it will flow and navigate its path. Well clearly the answer is no, because we can’t see the wind. We can only see the effects of it. Much is the same with child birth. Of course we can see the growth with modern ultrasound technology, and we can even video its growth in the mother’s womb. We can even understand biologically what happens when it grows. Yet it remains a mystery, how this all happens and astounds doctors and biologists alike as to the exact detail and precision involved in a baby’s growth.

If we are to dismiss these things as foolishness because we can’t fully understand them, then we are never going to appreciate the wonder of them. The same is with God. We might not be able to physically see Him or understand how He works or what He is doing, but we can learn to trust Him because of the evidence of His works. It is because of God that the wind blows, that babies are birthed and that the world spins in orbit. It is faith in Him, that we can find peace in our storm. It because we know He is a great God, that we can fully trust Him, even when we don’t understand everything.

The Stand Of Faith

29th – 30th August

Weekend Edition

Listen to me all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed. . . . the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising Him for His holy splendour.”

2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Amazingly, after they had received their promise of victory from the Lord, the people obeyed and marched out to the battlefield to stand and not fight, in God’s victory, not theirs.

The people of Judah could have easily thought that if God is going to win this battle for us, why do we even need to go to the battlefield? Or on the contrary they could have been so fearful thinking that maybe God would not do what He said He would do! Yet none of these, was the response from King Jehoshaphat and his people. They humbly obeyed God, in full confidence of His words and marched to the battle ground. Even at this time, they could do nothing but trust God.

If there were any doubts that God would fulfill His word, they would have been quickly stripped away at the sound of heartfelt worshippers on the front line, singing and praising God.

There are so many lessons we can learn from this passage and put into practice in our daily lives. Firstly, that when God promises us something, or answers our prayers, we should have full confidence in His answer, even if we can’t see it straight away. Sometimes that involves us standing firm even when the enemy or troublesome times approach. Secondly, the best way to render doubt powerless is to worship. Worship in victory, worship in defeat and worship when you are waiting. King Jehoshaphat’s wise move encouraged his troops to remember the faithfulness of God, remember God’s promise and to keep their minds fixed on Him, even in the midst of a battle ground.

Let us remember King Jehoshaphat’s wise words .. . . . Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm!!”

Because Of Your Faith, It Will Happen..

8th June

““Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told Him, “we do.” Then He touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” Then their eyes were opened, and they could see.”

Matthew 9:28-30

Today’s story, found here in Matthew 9, is so encouraging, both as a confirmation of God’s compassion and mercy on the sick and the simplicity of His miracles. When Jesus laid His hands on the two blind men, He didn’t ask them if they had obeyed the law, if they had been baptised, if they give tithes or if they have been members of a local church for more than 10 years. He simply asked “do you believe I can heal you?” That is God’s only requirement for miracles to take place… Do you have enough faith to believe that I (God) can heal you?

These two blind men were sure of Jesus’ mighty power… they probably had heard of His miracles, heard of His compassion and were desperate for a touch from the Son of David. In fact in the previous verses Jesus had just a healed a woman with the issue of blood and raised a young girl from the dead. So as these two faith filled men followed Jesus they cried out to Him for mercy. Jesus turned around to them, laid His hands on their eyes and healed them… why? Because of their faith.

There is no special formula, no list of requirements, just simple faith to believe that when they asked Jesus for something, it will happen. When we pray for God’s will to be done, we simply just need to have faith knowing that God can do exceedingly more than what we are even asking Him to do. Faith is simply believing in hope, what we know is truth, and being sure that although we might not be able to see what we are asking for, it will come to pass according to God’s Holy and Perfect will if we believe. Let us believe for healing, even if it seems too big to ask for, because we are not trusting in the circumstances but have faith in NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES…JESUS CHRIST!

Take Your Eyes Off Jesus And You Will Sink

19th March

“But as soon as he saw the strong winds and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. ”Why did you doubt me?”

Matthew 14:30-31

As we pick up this wonderful story again today, it is interesting at this point to note that Peter was the only disciple to step out of the boat in faith. As far as we can see from the text the boat was filled with all of the disciples. So why was Peter the only one to step out in faith? The answer is not given in this story, but what we do know, is that Peter trusted Jesus enough to initially step out and go to meet him.

However, when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm, the wind and the waves, he began to sink. Lets pause there. Before we start to criticise Peter here, lets remember he was as far as we know the only person to ever walk on water (obviously besides Jesus). Yet He made what could have been a fatal error. He let the circumstance around him, overcome and distract him.

How often do we do the same thing? How often do we allow the circumstances and the storms around us to distract and take our focus of Jesus? In fact when we do that, we put our problems in place of Jesus in our lives. It is like we doubt who Jesus is, when we make our focus the problems instead Jesus. When Peter reached out to Jesus, Jesus rebuked him for not having enough faith! It may seem harsh but the reality was that Jesus, the Son of God, was also there with him. Jesus was also walking on the water. Peter originally had the faith to step out. Yet He took His eyes of what Jesus was doing already.

This is a great reminder for us that we should always keep our eyes on Jesus, see what He is doing through our storms, and when we feel like we are sinking, re-align our focus with Jesus and not our problems.

Faith That Walks On Water

18th March

“Then Peter called to Him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to You, walking on the water.” ”Yes, come.” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and WALKED ON WATER towards Jesus. But as soon as he saw the strong winds and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”

Matthew 14:28-30 

Peter walked on water. Just take a moment to think about that. We can completely get that Jesus walked on water but Peter? How many humans can say they did that if their lifetime? Yes we can see miracles of people being healed, delivered, and even tornados disappearing but to see someone walk on water takes faith to a whole new level. Yet why is it so significant in this text, beside it being humanly impossible to achieve such a feat?

Peter in particular, would have been used to storms. He was a fisherman. It is very likely that he battled many storms in his lifetime. Yet this storm was different. Mark in his account, tells us that the disciples were in serious trouble. However, when Jesus called Peter to come to Him, Peter ignored the perilous situation around him, climbed over the boat and started to walk towards Jesus.

Notice that there are two significant things here. The first being, that Peter completely ignored the storm around him and stepped out in faith. He didn’t look at his circumstance but instead fixed His eyes towards Jesus. The fact that Jesus called Peter and he heard His voice, gave Peter enough faith to know that he could put His trust in the One calling him.

The second is the fact that Peter had to physically climb out the boat. That is hard enough to do on a good day, let alone in the midst of violent storm. By stepping out the boat, he further demonstrated his complete trust in Jesus to make sure he didn’t drown.

What does that mean for us? When life gets stormy, we have an anchor to keep us grounded. He will watch over us in the storm, call us through the storm and help us step out in faith in the midst of it. All we have to do is trust Him.

Stepping Out In Faith Through Life’s Storms

17th March

“”Take courage, I am here.” Then Peter called out to Him, “Lord, if its really you, tell me to come to you, walking on water.” “Yes come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward towards Jesus.”

Matthew 12:27-28

Life has storms. It’s a given. We live in a fallen world. Yet just because life has storms, doesn’t mean we need to give up and drown in those storms.

In today’s passage we pick up the story of Jesus meeting His disciples in the midst of their own crisis. Jesus has just fed 5,000 people. He sends His disciples away and has some alone time (important principle if even Jesus had His own time). On their journey crossing the lake, the disciples encounter a storm that is proving to be very dangerous. As they look out into to the waves and the storm, they see a figure walking towards them and assume that it’s a ghost.

The disciples were in a state of panic. The wind and waves were crashing around them and they were struggling to contain them. And then to top it off, a ghost like figure starts walking towards them. However, as Jesus approaches, He reveals His identity and by doing so, eases their fears and worries.

Jesus’ comforting words to the disciples can also be a comfort for us today in the midst of our storms and trials. “Don’t be afraid….Take courage, I am here.” These words have so much life in them. They are so comforting and the great thing is, is that they are eternal words. Yes they were for the disciples at their time of need, however we can rely on these words as our promise today, because the same person who spoke those words to the disciples, is the same person who lives in us. So today “Don’t be afraid….Take courage, Jesus is here.” Jesus is at hand, in the midst of your storm..

Ask, Believe and Receive

6th March

 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7

Part of praying is believing that what you pray for will happen. That is called faith. Faith is not found in prayers of eloquent words or in prayers that have been prayed for long periods of times. Faith is quite simply knowing who it is I am praying too, and knowing that if I ask in His Name and in accordance with His will, it will be done.

Jesus reminds His disciples that an effective prayer is one that believes and receives. If you ask, receive what you are asking. If you are seeking, then you will find and if you are knocking, the right door will open for you. The key is simply believing and receiving in faith. God knows what you need even before you ask. That is why He has already prepared your answer, even before you pray. Yes there are sometimes, when God allows us to make our own decisions based on common sense and God living in us. Yet, when we need divine inspiration, healing, break through, guidance and wisdom, Jesus is at hand to answer our prayers of faith.

The good news is that no prayer is too big or small for our loving Heavenly Father to deal with. He wants what is best for us every time. All we need to do is believe and receive. Don’t lack because you haven’t asked for it. Trust God and He will provide. Trust God and He will guide you.