Thursday, October 23, 2014

“The methodology behind the miracles of Jesus isn’t the point. The point is His power.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 228). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

The miracle that Mark is dealing with here in this section is the healing of the man who was born blind.  The method that Jesus used was a gross one.  He spit on the ground and made mud, He put the mud on the man’s eyes and then sent him off to the Pool of Saloam to wash it off.  After the man found the Pool He washed the mud off and then he could see.  Our tendency would be to start having the method for healing to have mud involved but the key was obedience.  The man obeyed and was healed.

I like how Mark puts it.  He says, “I’m not entirely sure why Jesus had this blind man go and wash, but I’m guessing that he had lived a relatively helpless life. He depended upon everybody for everything! So Jesus didn’t just heal his blind eyes. He restored his dignity by rebuking helplessness. Scripture is explicit when it comes to the sequence of this miracle. It says he ‘came back seeing.’ (John 9:7 ESV) If he hadn’t taken this step of faith and gone to the Pool of Siloam, I don’t think the miracle would have happened! And that’s one secret to experiencing the miraculous: most miracles require an act of blind obedience. You cannot manufacture miracles, but you can wash in the Pool of Siloam. One step of obedience can open your eyes. One step of obedience can reverse the curse. One step of obedience can begin a new chapter in your life!” 

The key is not the method but the obedience.  I think the reason why we uplift the method is because it is easier than the obedience and it too many times lifts us up than it lifts God up.  And as Mark says, “The point is His power.”  He is the key not us.

So what is He asking you to do?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

“Billions of galaxies trace their origin to four words.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 226). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

And those four words were, “Let there be light.” Genesis 1: 3.   And even now we are finding that the command is still being lived out. 

Mark says, “Less than a century ago the prevailing opinion in cosmology was that the Milky Way galaxy was the sum total of the universe. Nineteenth-century Austrian physicist Christian Doppler had theorized an expanding universe, but there wasn’t much tangible evidence to back up his belief. Then an astronomer named Edwin Hubble spied several spiral nebulae that were far too distant to be part of the Milky Way galaxy. The announcement of his discovery on January 1, 1925, was an astronomical paradigm shift. He discovered that the degree of redshift observed in light coming from other galaxies increased in proportion to the distance of that galaxy from the Milky Way. In other words, the universe is still expanding. The significance of that is this: the original “Let there be light” is still creating galaxies at the outer edges of the universe! Amazing thought, isn’t it? Billions of galaxies trace their origin to four words.”

And the first six words of John 3: 16 are still being lived out today. “For God so loved the world.”  Not just because He created it but because He put us in it and He then says that the way He shows it is, “…that He gave His one and only Son, so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Those words are still being lived out today and as it says, it will be lived out through all of time.

As the four words of creation are still being lived out so are the words of this verse.  And the anyone continues even through to today and the anyone includes you.

So why don’t you believe in Him and accept His gift of eternal live?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“At about six months of age, children start developing internal pictures of external realities.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 202). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Mark continues, “Psychologists refer to this ability to create and catalog mental images as representational intelligence. Like a slow-developing Polaroid, those internal images are developed in the darkroom of your mind’s eye. The first internal image is mom, which develops at about six months of age. Dad doesn’t enter the picture until about eight months. Give children a few years, and their entire vocabulary will have a matching picture. But if your eyesight doesn’t develop normally, neither will your mind’s eye.”

And that is true in so many areas in our development even spiritual. 

I was fortunate that I was raised in a home that took me to church at a very early age.  Of course my dad was a minister so that was my life and going to church was never an option so we always went unless we were sick.  That was also true of my kids and that is true of them with their families.  That is why our internal pictures of who God is and what He can do have become external realities in our lives.  We saw Christ lived out not only through our parent’s relationship with Him but also through the people we saw at church.

I can think of so many people in my life who have had such an important influence on my life and then people who had such an influence on my children’s lives and then now on my grandchildren’s lives.  For the most part those relationships were developed at church. 

Our spiritual development is not just what we know but what we see in the lives of people.  Church is more than just a place to learn about God but a place where we see God lived out through people.  We can learn about Christ through Podcasts and streaming church services but we see Christ lived out in people.  The church is a body of people who love God.  Let your kids see that and experience that.  It will make a difference in their spiritual development.

So where did you take your family to church this past Sunday?

Monday, October 20, 2014

“There are lots of different explanations for every experience.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 220). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

That is so true.  Have you learned to use that as a way to enjoy life instead of endure it?

Look at what Mark says, “Let’s say you’re at a restaurant waiting for a date that you were supposed to meet at 7: 00 sharp, but forty-five minutes later he or she is a no-show. At some point you need to explain to yourself why the person isn’t there. Here are some possible explanations. You might think, “He stood me up,” causing you to become mad. You could jump to conclusions and think, “She doesn’t love me anymore,” causing you to become sad. You could assume, “He was in an accident,” causing you to feel anxious. You might imagine, “He’s working overtime so that he can pay for our meal,” causing you to feel grateful. You could speculate, “She’s with another man,” causing you to feel jealous. Or you might realize, “This gives me a perfect excuse to break up with her,” giving you a great deal of relief.  Same situation. Very different explanations.”  And it is a matter of choice by you and how you view the situation.

What is your natural way to look at every situation?  Now as I have gotten older I have striven to give people the benefit of the doubt, to come up with a win, win for each of us.  And then in those situations when I know I have been wronged I give them grace just as Christ has given me grace.  He hasn’t given me what I deserved so I want to do the same with others.  Now that is not natural for me.  I am a born pessimist and perfectionist and also a self-centered person and that is where God’s love and Spirit comes in.  And He is still working on me.

The natural man that which is natural to us can be in control of our reactions to others or the Spirit filled man when we are filled with God’s love can be in control.  There is a choice there.  It all depends on who we choose to control our reactions.  And which is in control goes a long way in our enjoying our life.

So what controls your reaction?  

Friday, October 17, 2014

“The goal isn’t the miracle. The goal is God’s glory.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 216). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

That can be a problem to realize when we are going through an impossible situation and we are looking for a miracle but that is the real goal.  But that can be a very difficult prayer to pray.  I’m sure it was difficult for Jesus when He was facing the cross, and prayed to His Father, “Not my will but Your will be done.”

Marks says, “And if you forget that, it’s difficult to get through difficult circumstances. So let me offer this reminder: the will of God is the glory of God. That’s why cancer can’t keep you from doing the will of God. Nothing can. You can glorify God under any and every circumstance.”

We prayed that prayer when we found out my wife had thyroid cancer.  He took care of the cancer but she still lives with some of the complications of taking her thyroid out.  I marvel at how God gives her daily strength.

Mark in this section was dealing with a friend who had just found that he had cancer.  Such a difficult thing to hear.   Mark concluded this section by saying, “If you think of the will of God in temporal terms, it doesn’t add up. You’ve got to add eternity into the equation. And if my friend isn’t healed until he reaches the other side of the space-time continuum, it’ll be no less miraculous then than it would be now.”

This isn’t heaven yet.  There are a lot of good things that happen here but there are also so many tragedies.  We need to constantly be reminded that God created us for a purpose and that is to bring Him glory.  We will be rewarded for living up to that purpose but it may not be here.   

You might ask, “What does it mean to give Him glory?”   And I like what someone said, it means to make Him look good.  And sometimes going through the difficulties of life with the right attitude and the right outlook can make God look good.   

Remember, the goal isn’t the miracle.  The goal is His glory.  Let’s do all we can in all we do to make God look good.

So is He looking good though you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“When life doesn’t go according to plan, we naturally look for someone or something to blame.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 213). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

As Rick Warren has said. “To blame is to be lame” but it is an easy thing to do.  It started way back in the Garden of Eden where Adam blamed Eve and then got around to blame God.  Their eating the forbidden was really God’s fault because He created the woman.

So are you a blamer?  When something happens that really is your fault do you strive to find someone to blame?  I mean you are really in debt but it’s your spouce’s fault.  They just need, need, and want, want, want so you have to spend, spend, spend.  Or it’s the Democrat’s/Republican’s fault when it really it is your fault. 

But as Mark says, “But no one wins at the blame game! And it’s usually followed by a postgame pity party. At some point, we must recognize that the circumstances we ask God to change are often the very circumstances God is using to change us. We don’t always get an answer to our why questions on this side of eternity, but sometimes God leaves clues.”

God does have a plan and He knows what is best and He is working and it doesn’t matter the why, what matters is you accept that He loves you and that He is working in your life.  Just trust Him.

So what circumstance are you looking for someone to blame?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

“Doubt is downgrading your theology to match your experience of reality.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2014-09-02) from his book, The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (pp. 175-176). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

Here is what Mark says leading up to this thought, “We have a natural tendency to explain away what we cannot explain.”  He then says, “The reason many of us miss the miracles that are all around us all the time is because we don’t have a prior memory to associate with them.” 

Mark is looking in this section of his book of the experience of the apostles out in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. They had never seen someone walking on water and so there was no way that their mind would come up with that as a fact.  They first thought He was a ghost.  And wouldn’t that be true of you and me?  My first thought wouldn’t be that Jesus would be walking on the water.  I haven’t seen it so it can’t be true.  So I must downgrade my theology to match my experience of reality.  

Mark also says, “I believe that every ology is a branch of theology… While we tend to think of spiritual and intellectual pursuits as mutually exclusive endeavors, that’s a false dichotomy. Great love is born of great knowledge. And the more you know, the more you know how much you don’t know. True knowledge doesn’t puff up with pride. It humbles us until we hit our knees in worship. It also beckons us out of the boat.”

We don’t have within us the ability to really comprehend who God is and what He really can do and really wants to do.  But we can hunger to know more and then to really trust more.  You see this life with God is a life of faith and as Hebrews 11: 1 (NIRV) says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.”

Let’s not downgrade but expand the untold wonders of our faith.  We really can’t comprehend who God is or what He can do but we can love Him and believe in Him and worship Him and let Him walk on our waters and get out and walk with Him.

So would you like to get out of the boat and do some walking?