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Do You Believe? ~ Matthew 9:27-31 (Part 1)

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St-Talka.org

27 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.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread His fame all over the region. ~ Matthew 9:29-31 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can…? Fill in the blank and ask yourself, “Do I believe that Jesus can heal my disease? Free me from painGive me a childGive me a home? FoodClothingDeliver me from fearDepressionAddictions? Do I believe that Jesus can forgive meLove meChange me?

When I began to truly follow Jesus, dedicating my whole life to Him, I could feel my faith growing stronger and stronger, as I read and studied God’s word…

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:17 — NASB ~

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Image Credit:
Apostolic Titbits

One of the ways our faith can grow is from hearing God’s word. We can hear His word when we go to church on Sundays, but hearing His word only once a week, will not help your faith to grow. If we want to have the faith that moves mountains, then we must know His word for ourselves. Indeed, we must know Christ  for ourselves, and there is no better way to know Him than to read His word and spend time talking and listening to Him.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can change your life? Can He heal your broken body? Can He mend your broken heart? Can He restore broken relationships?

But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. ~ James 1:6-8 — NLT ~

How strong is your faith? When Jesus asks you, “Do you believe I can make you (fill in the blank)how will you respond? Do you believe He can do anything, or do you doubt it?

I’ll be honest with you… I have such a strong faith that Jesus will help others, but when it comes to me personally, though I desperately long to believe, I struggle. I don’t think the struggle is so much can He, as will He? For the last three years, I’ve suffered with constant, chronic debilitating back pain, and I’ve prayed for relief, which hasn’t come.

When I first started dealing with this pain, I sensed the Lord telling me that this is something I must go through. So what does that mean, exactly? Is this a temporary thing? Or is it something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life? I desperately want to believe that  this won’t be forever, but I’m not sure. I want to pray according to God’s will for this, but I’m not sure what His will for me is… Is my faith weak? How about yours? What do we do when our faith is weak???

There was another person in the bible who loved the Lord and wanted to believe in Jesus’ power to help him, yet, like mine, his faith was much too weak. Yet this man didn’t allow that to stop him. Do you remember the man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit that caused him to have violent seizures, and wouldn’t allow the boy to speak? He brought his son to Jesus, hoping that He would heal and deliver his son, but when he arrived, Jesus wasn’t there, so he asked the disciples to cast the demon out. However, they were unable to do so, and the man was left feeling as dispirited as I’ve felt about my chronic back pain…

Then, of course, there were also naysayers in the crowd, who further depressed the poor crestfallen man, by stirring the pot. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. Instead of encouraging and empathizing your plight, they instead try to stamp out any faith you might still hold onto, by adding their opinions… “I told you, there’s nothing anyone can do”… “You don’t really believe God can do anything about your problem, do you???” This is the scene Jesus came upon when he returned to His disciples…

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Image Credit:
bongodogblog

16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.”

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:16-24 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
Darrell Creswell

Have you been there? You want to believe, and you know you should believe, but there’s still a part of you that just can’t believe. Not only that, but others have seen your situation, and added their opinions, and though you’ve tried not to listen to the negativity, it’s still registered in your brain, and you have that doubt on top of your own. 

The father of this boy had heard that Jesus was a miracle worker, and though he desperately wanted to believe, his boy had been like this for a long time.  Still, he had worked up his courage, and brought his boy, and the disciples had tried to cast the demons out to no avail. How discouraged he must have felt! 

Have you been there? I have. I’ve had several people, from several different churches, pray over me and prophesy that I am healed, though I really haven’t been. I’ve had some tell me to walk in my healing, even though I’m still in pain, denying the pain, though it remains. They’ve commanded me to walk around the church, when I can barely hold myself up, let alone make a trek around the church. I’ve been told to ignore my pain, and though I’m in excruciating pain, I should repeat over and over, “I am healed.”  Jesus never told anyone to deny their condition. He always deals in truth.  

Therefore, I am left with this realization… I am a lot like the father in this story. I desperately want to believe that Jesus will heal me, but I’m not sure that He will… Though I believe that He can, what if it’s not His will to heal me?

22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:22-24 — NLT ~

In the beginning of this study, Jesus asked the blind men, “Do you believe I can make you see?” (Matthew 9:28 — NLT) Later, He told the father of the demonized boy, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?.. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  (Mark 9:23 — NLT ) Therefore, in light of this study, I will join with  the boy’s father, tell ing the Lord, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 — NLT)

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers


All bible references are taken from Bible Gateway. Do you want to look up a scripture, but can’t remember where to find it? Try finding it on Bible Gateway, a wonderful website that includes many different bible versions, study aids and helps. Bible Gateway is a great resource for all believers to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

"Touch of Faith"
Simon Dewey

Jesus – My Hero

"Touch of Faith" Simon Dewey
“Touch of Faith”
Simon Dewey

19 So Jesus and His disciples got up and went with him. 20 Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind Him. She touched the fringe of His robe, 21 for she thought, “If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment. ~Matthew 9:19-22 — NLT ~

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MUSETRACKS

Long before Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Britney Spears and Alec Baldwin (just to name a few) had to deal with paparazzi following them wherever they go (even to the men’s or ladies’ room), Jesus dealt with them. In fact, He was dealing with paparazzi before the word was even thought up. Of course they didn’t have cameras back then, but Jesus had to deal with the rest of it. He was followed everywhere He went (except when He was able to slip away into the wilderness to be alone and pray to His Father). He was constantly being stopped on the street and hemmed in by the crowds of people, who all seemed to want something from Him…

And now, here He was, on His way to help someone else, and the crowds are pushing in all around Him. Try to imagine what it must have been like. The crowd was so thick that the disciples were surprised that Jesus would have noticed being touched by any one person, but of course, this was Jesus, and as big as that mob of people was, He still noticed when someone simply touched the hem of His garment…

43 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. 44 Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of His robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

45 “Who touched Me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against You.”

46 But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched Me, for I felt healing power go out from Me.”47 When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of Him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched Him and that she had been immediately healed. ~ Luke 8:43-47 — NLT ~

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I AM, The Word, and The Comforter

Now I would imagine that poor woman was scared out of her wits. There were people crowded in all around Jesus, so in order for her to get close enough to touch the hem of His garment, she would have had to push and shove her way through the throng. She was healed instantly when she touched His hem, so since her business was finished, she turned to leave. Then Jesus stopped and turned around, asking, “Who touched Me?” 

Can you imagine how Alec Baldwin would have reacted? Or how about Britney Spears or Justin Bieber? Any one of them would have very likely reacted violently to her touch, creating a big scene, probably humiliating her or even physically accosting her. After all, they’re really important people, in their own eyes…

But she didn’t touch one of them. She touched the most important Man to ever grace the earth with His presence. She didn’t touch the clothes of just any man, she touched the clothes of God’s Son. She didn’t just touch a king’s clothes, she touched the King of king’s clothes. She didn’t just touch some lord’s clothes. She touched the Lord of lord’s clothes. And how did He respond to this – this nobody?

Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment. ~ Matthew 9:22 — NLT ~

How can you help but love Him? He was the only One to ever walk the face of the earth who could have looked around at the rest of humanity and felt superior, because He is SUPERIOR, and yet He not only treated the woman with respect and with kindness. He actually took the time out of His busy schedule to encourage her! “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” 

Have you ever seen such love? Such grace? Such mercy? Such compassion? The only One who has ever walked this earth and truly was entitled to EVERYTHING, expected nothing and gave His all. Unlike the ones we call heroes today, He truly gave ALL that He had, because He placed everyone else above Him.

Beloved readers, just as He had compassion on the woman with the issue of blood, He has compassion on YOU. As He encouraged her, He wants to encourage YOU. Jesus loves you and He loves me just as much as He loved that woman, and you know what? Jesus is my hero!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Bride Waiting for Christ

A Teachable Moment

HubPages How to Handle the Tattle Tale and the Tattling
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How to Handle the Tattle Tale and the Tattling

14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?”

15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”  ~ Matthew 9:14-17 — NLT ~

When I read this passage, I think of children, who often compare their circumstances with those of others… For example:

“My mom makes me do the dishes, so why doesn’t your son/daughter have to do them?”

“My dad makes me take the trash out, so why don’t your children have to do it?”

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Image Credit:
Organic and Simple, That’s Church!

You get the picture. Doesn’t it seem that way to you? Now, if I’m to be totally honest with you, comments like that are very irritating to me, and I used to get very impatient with my children when they would make petty comments like that. If John’s disciples had come to me with that question, I probably would have snapped at them and put them in their place… I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad I’m not Jesus…

Jesus was neither angry nor irritated with John’s disciples, even though they were complaining and criticizing His disciples. In fact, by criticizing His disciples for not fasting, John’s disciples were really criticizing Jesus, for not training His disciples properly. Yet Jesus took no offense from their accusations. Instead, He did something wonderful for them, whether they realized it or not.

You see, Jesus turned their accusations into a teachable moment. Rather than giving them a tongue-lashing, as I might have done, He spoke to them gently, and patiently. Instead of condemning them for having the audacity to question Him, He chose to teach them, and in lieu of telling them that it was none of their business, He explained why His disciples did not fast…

Bride Waiting for Christ15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.  ~ Matthew 9:15 — NLT ~

Jesus’ response to John’s disciples was simple enough for everyone to understand. In fact, it was simple enough that even now, more than two thousand years later, it remains reasonable…

Women often cry at weddings, but the tears they shed are tears of joy, not sadness. At the wedding reception, there is usually a lot of laughter and fun, as people eat and drink in honor of the bride and groom. It’s supposed to be a time of merriment and celebration.

Jesus explained that His presence here on earth was in many ways, like the presence of the groom at his wedding.  Would you mourn at the wedding, as long as the groom was there? Of course not! Therefore, as long as Jesus was here on earth with His disciples, why should they fast and mourn? Besides, there would come a day, when Jesus, (our Groom) would no longer be here on earth with them, and there would be plenty of time to fast and mourn then…

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Image Credit:
Children Bible Studies

But this wasn’t the only lesson Jesus was teaching them that day, and perhaps this lesson He was teaching was not only for John’s disciples, but for His disciples as well, though many have always assumed the words He spoke were simply to those who questioned them. For just as a parent will teach not only the child who is asking such a foolish, perhaps even rebellious question, but will also teach a lesson to the obedient child as well, so Jesus did in this case…

16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wine skins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”  ~ Matthew 9:16-17 — NLT ~

When a child first learns to read, would the teacher give the child “War and Peace,,” by Leo Tolstoy as a reading assignment? Of course not, because that would be much too difficult for the child to read, and it would only result in frustrating the child at the very least. At its worst, this assignment could cause the child to give up on reading altogether…

It was the same with the disciples. Several of these guys were fishermen, one was a tax collector and another was a zealot. None of these men were priests, prophets, Pharisees or Sadducees. These weren’t religious men, therefore, they weren’t used to submitting to various religious practices  like the Pharisees, Saducees, prophets and priests were. Also, many of John the Baptist’s disciples were likely Nazarites, just as he was, and since John often fasted, his disciples were used to living a “fasted” lifestyle, therefore, fasting was not as difficult for them as their complaints made it seem.

However, as I said before, Jesus’ disciples had a much different background than these other men, and for someone not used to fasting, it is quite difficult, which is why Jesus talked about patching old clothing with a new patch. To do so, would place too much pressure on the old cloth, thereby causing it to rip and tear. It is also why Jesus made the reference of placing new wine into old wine skins. Again, the pressure would cause the wine skins to burst, thereby rendering it useless. In the same way, to expect the disciples, who were untrained and undisciplined in fasting, and certain other religious practices, before they were ready, could cause them to break under the pressure, and perhaps render them useless.

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9 Dangerous Warning Signs of BURNOUT

It makes me sad sometimes, when I see a new Christian being put to work on various “projects” or committees, before they’ve had a chance to grow in the faith. For all too often, the majority will become burned out, and many will turn away from the Lord, going back to their old lifestyle that they’re used to…

When I became a mother, my baby was completely dependent on me for everything. He couldn’t even hold his own head up by himself. He needed me to support and protect him… He couldn’t feed himself. He needed me to provide his milk, and its source was from within me… He couldn’t communicate, except to cry. He needed me to understand his needs… He couldn’t get around by himself. I had to carry him everywhere…

In the same way, when a person is born again, whether they are a child or an adult, they are a babe in Christ, and just as a baby needs his parents to support him and protect him, so  a babe in Christ needs the Lord to lead other more mature believers to support him and protect him. Just as a newborn is unable to feed himself, so too, a new born again believer needs other, more mature believers to feed (teach) him on the word of God, and just as a newborn baby cannot eat steak, neither can a new believer digest more complicated doctrinal beliefs…

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment ~ 1 Peter 2:2 — NLT ~

12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. ~ Hebrews 5:12-14 — NLT ~

Furthermore, as a baby has a difficult time communicating his needs, a new believer also has a difficult time communicating and sharing his needs. The new believer hasn’t yet learned our language and our customs, therefore, he only knows how to respond to things the way he has always responded and communicated. And just as that baby needs his mommy to figure out what he needs, more mature believers and mentors are going to need to figure out what the new born again believer needs… 

When you look at this passage of scripture through these eyes, we begin to get a glimpse of Jesus’ great love and compassion for both His own disciples at the time, for John’s disciples, and for His future disciples, you and me. Praise God for these words of Jesus, which are always filled with love, grace and mercy!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

generations-karin-sperber

This happened to me. Here’s something you can do, so it doesn’t happen to your daughter

cshowers:

This post touched me deeply when I read it, and I felt that it was important enough to reblog. For every mommy and daddy out there, please read this post and share the wisdom within with your children, so that they will learn to listen to their God-given intuition.

Originally posted on Lori Lara:

It was past midnight when it happened. I was thirteen years old and I’d snuck out with a friend during a sleep over. Earlier that day, my friend had met a guy at the mall and gave her address to him. This was before cell phones, so they made a meeting time right there in the mall. The plan was for him to come over after her parents had gone to sleep. She was thirteen. He was seventeen.

Did I mention she was thirteen?

When it was time for their rendezvous, she didn’t want to go outside by herself. So, she asked if I’d sneak out with her. I didn’t want to. But like so many times during my young teen-age life, I caved to the pressure. And lived to regret it. Again.

As we made our way quietly in the dark, I saw another guy standing with the mall…

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Names of God ~ Introduction

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.                
~ Proverbs 18:10 — NASB ~

In ancient times, names were very important. People didn’t simply choose to give their child a name, because they liked the way it sounded. When the Jews named their children in biblical times, the names were usually given with a specific purpose in mind. Sometimes, the child was named after his father or perhaps another relative…

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Image Credit:
wikipaintings.org

59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60 But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” ~ Luke 1:59-61 — NASB ~

Many times the infant was named in obedience to a command from the Lord, and/or in order to convey a message…

12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:12-17 — NASB ~

We see in this scripture passage that Zacharias (also known as Zechariah), was commanded by an angel of the Lord to name is son (who hadn’t even been conceived yet), John, which means YHWH is gracious. As you can see from the scripture, the reason God blessed Zacharias and Elizabeth with their son, was to turn the hearts of the fathers in Israel back to their children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous. It seems that the Lord truly was gracious in sending John…

Knowing the importance the Hebrew nation placed on names, it is even more important to study the names of God. You see, God has many names, and each name describes one of the many aspects of His character… Therefore, today, we will look at this name of God…

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.                ~ Proverbs 18:10 — NASB ~

A strong tower was built to withstand attack from the enemies outside. Actually, the New Living Translation gives a better picture of this name of God…

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress;
the godly run to Him and are safe. 
~ Proverbs 18:10 — NLT ~

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Image Credit:
jerusalem.com

In biblical times, during times of war, when warriors from other nations or tribes would come against the Jews, they would gather within a walled city or fortress, such as in Jerusalem. There would be watchers on the wall, keeping an eye out for impending danger, and at the first sign of danger, they would sound a loud trumpet, warning the people of the coming attack. Then, the walls of that mighty fortress would close, locking the people inside within its walls of safety. While the citizens were hidden within the fortress, the soldiers of Jerusalem would mount its walls, defending the people of Jerusalem.

Now, with this understanding, when we say the name of the Lord is a strong tower/fortress, we are saying that in God’s name, there is safety, and just as the soldiers on the wall protect the citizens within, so God protects us from the enemy’s attacks. Think about it, whenever we are in danger, we should call upon the name of the Lord,  our mighty fortress, who protects His people from all harm… 

For You are my safe refuge,
A fortress where my enemies cannot reach me 
~ Psalm 61:3 — NLT ~

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lovehealstheworld.com

Therefore, beloved readers, when you feel the storms of life crashing against you… when your worries and fears rage against you… when you feel as though all hope is gone, and you’re feeling helpless… call upon the name of the Lord… run quickly into the presence of your Strong Tower!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

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The Gaslamp Post

Far Greater Than the Angels ~ Hebrews 1:4

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:1-4 —  NLT ~

Image Credit: The Gaslamp Post
Image Credit:
The Gaslamp Post

Many people in this world call upon the angels to help them. Many call upon gods created in the minds of men. Many others call upon idols created by the hands of man. And yet, there is one God and Creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them. There is only one God and Creator of mankind and only one way to reach Him…

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6 — NLT ~

Why would someone call on anyone else for help? In my darkest hour, in those times when I am desperate for help, I want to be sure that I cry out to the One who can help me…

You see, the angels have to answer to God, so why would I go to them first, when He is the One who must give them permission to help me? For you see, it is Christ who created the angels, and not only did He create them, but they were created for His purpose…

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through Him, God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t seesuch as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. ~ Colossians 1:15-16 — NLT ~

20 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out His plans, listening for each of His commands. 21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve Him and do His will~ Psalm 103:20-21 — NLT ~

You see, beloved readers, the scriptures make it very clear that the angels were created to serve God and to carry out His plans. Therefore, if I choose to worship the angels, and seek their help, rather than His, my cries for help will be fruitless. For His holy angels cannot act on my behalf, apart from His will, and the fallen angels, who serve Satan, desire to steal, kill and destroy all of mankind. Therefore, to call on any other name, other than Jesus, whose name is far greater than the angels would be foolish.

This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:4 — NLT ~

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.  ~ Acts 4:12 — NLT ~

9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11 — NLT ~

You see my friends, when we need help and when we need salvation, to call on the angels would be foolhardy, because the only way to get any help at all is to cry out to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For there is salvation in no one else. Indeed, the only way to God the Father is through Christ, and at His name, every knee will one day bow. That means that every angel, and even every demon will one day bow to Him. Even Satan, His enemy will bow down to Him one day…

So, in those times when we are weak, call upon Jesus, who is high above all else. In those times of dismay, cry out to Him for salvation. In those times of great joy and triumph, bow down to the Almighty God, and give Him praise and glory in Jesus’ name, for He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He is far greater than the angels, and His name is far above their names!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Image Credit:
5ptsalt.com

Mercy — Undeserved… Grace given — Unreserved!

26 As they led Jesus away, a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, happened to be coming in from the countryside. The soldiers seized him and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.27 A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. 28 But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.29 For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ 30 People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ 31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” ~ Luke 23:28b-31 — NLT ~

Image Credit: In Caelo et in Terra
Image Credit:
In Caelo et in Terra

Right up to the very end, Jesus lived a life of ministry to others. Right up to the very end, the glory of the Lord shone through Him. Concerned for the women who were weeping over His certain death, He turned to them and warned them not to grieve over His death, for it would be far better for them to mourn for themselves and their own children…

You see, within forty years, Jerusalem would fall, and with it, many of those who were even now weeping for Jesus’ impending death. These weeping women, and if not them, then certainly their children, were doomed to a life of slavery and death. 

Jesus knew this, and that’s why He warned the women not to weep for Him, for indeed, their only hope for Jerusalem, for the lives of their children and for their own lives, rested in His death. For unlike them, He knew that His imminent death was necessary, if they were to survive what was to come. He knew that His death was necessary if they and their children were to have any hope of salvation. He knew that His death was necessary if you and I were to have any hope of salvation and everlasting life… and so, He warned the women…

… “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.29 For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ 30 People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ 31 For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” ~ Luke 23:28b-31 — NLT ~

Have you ever seen such love? Of course not, for He is love…

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed Him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on His right and one on His left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice.

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let Him save Himself if He is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked Him, too, by offering Him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to Him, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above Him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed, “So You’re the Messiah, are You? Prove it by saving Yourself—and us, too, while You’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this Man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” ~ Luke 23:26-43 — NLT ~

Image Credit: bibleencyclopedia.com
Image Credit:
bibleencyclopedia.com

After warning the women not to weep for Him, Jesus continued walking towards His death sentence. After arriving to the place called Golgotha, the place of the Skull, He was laid on His cross, while the Roman soldiers nailed His hands and His feet to it.  After being nailed to the cross, they then set the cross into a standing position, raising Him high, for all to see… 

And they laughed at Him. They mocked Him. They even gambled over His clothing, as He hung there, naked and exposed. And all the while, Jesus continued to do what He did best… He ministered to them.

It makes no sense, because I can’t even begin to understand where that kind of love comes from, but there He was… Beaten beyond recognition… Tortured brutally… Mistreated… Forsaken… Betrayed… Despised and rejected… Yet, still, He loved them. He loved the soldiers who stripped Him, nailed Him to the cross, and even now, gambled over His clothing, and instead of bringing the wrath of God down on them, He simply looked down on them, and then, raising His eyes up to the heavens, He said…

… “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34b — NLT ~

Image Credit: 5ptsalt.com
Image Credit:
5ptsalt.com

As He hung there between the two thieves, He could have lashed out, because it was so unfair. It was so unjust, but instead, He continued to love and minister… As the one thief reviled and ridiculed Him, Jesus could have easily exacted His anger and wrath against him and everyone else who had taken part in His arrest… in His anguish, He continued to love and minister to others…

Surrounded on either side by common thieves, one of whom ridiculed Him as He hung there, suffering, while the other thief defended Him. What craziness! He had nothing in common with either of these thieves. Jesus was the sinless Son of God. He had never lied, never cheated, never did anything but good, yet in some strange miscarriage of justice, He was hung between two thieves — one who took it upon himself to mock Jesus, while the other took it upon himself to defend Him!

What kind of craziness was this? It wasn’t a priest, appointed by God, who defended Jesus. It wasn’t a prophet who defended Him. Not even His beloved disciples bothered to defend Him. And yet, hanging there next to Jesus, one of those thieves — a man guilty of lying and stealing, boldly defended Jesus!

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this Man hasn’t done anything wrong.” ~ Luke 23:40-41 — NLT ~

Imagine how that man’s defense must have touched our Savior, who had received nothing but rejection, hatred, and torture for the last twelve hours. And now, here was a common thief, an ordinary man who had sinned and fallen far short of God’s glorious standard, defending Jesus… showing Him the love and respect that He so deserved, and asking nothing in return, except for one thing…

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” ~ Luke 23:42 — NLT ~

And Jesus, in the midst of His suffering responded with all of the grace and mercy of His Father… Indeed, He was the exact representation of His Father, who in His great love and mercy for mankind, offered the greatest gift…

“For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 — NLT ~

And now, Jesus, so like His Father, looked at that poor dying thief, who had shown Him such mercy, responded as only the Son of God could respond…

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” ~ Luke 23:43 — NLT ~

There it is! Do you see it? Mercy — undeserved! Grace given — unreserved!  And here is the wonderful part… His offer wasn’t just for that thief — He did this for you and for me — just because He loves us!

But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. ~ Romans 5:8 — NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

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