Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storms Of Life


Matthew 8: 23-27

Story

The Sea of Galilee is about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide.

It lies about 700 feet below the level of the Mediterranean.

When cool currents of air sweep down from the surrounding hills, they collide with the warm air above the sea, whipping up fierce winds.

*******

As Christ and His disciples crossed the sea, a furious storm arose.

It threatened to capsize their boat.

They were terrified and woke up their sleeping Master.

He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?"

He then rebuked the winds and the sea.

And there was a great calm.

Lessons

The disciples had already seen Him perform astounding miracles.

They had experienced His care for them.

How could they imagine He would fail them now?

The Lord Jesus is not just a man.

He is almighty God who will never fail us nor forsake us!

The disciples' fear of the storm turned to a fear inspired by awe

--- "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey him?"

*******

If we know the Lord, we have experienced His goodness to us and His power in our lives.

However we soon forget these things when the storms of the Christian life disturb us.

"Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Discipleship


Matthew 8: 18-22

Story & Lessons

Before Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee, two men came to Him and both were challenged concerning discipleship.

One appeared to be eager to follow Him, the other hesitant.

The first man, a scribe, had been moved by His teaching and His miracles; he wanted to follow Him.

How does Jesus deal with this man who was enthusiastic to follow Him?

The Lord Jesus cautioned him and told him that discipleship demands sacrifice.

— "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head" (20).

It is very easy to say to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go." (19)

But the way of Christ involves hardship and self-denial.

We are not told how the scribe responded to this challenge.

*******

The next man is described as 'another of his disciples'.

He had begun to follow Jesus, but he wanted to wait until his father died before giving himself to Christ in full commitment.

Jesus would not allow his excuse and demanded that he follow Him there and then.

Reflection...

The Lord Jesus never gave the impression that the Christian life is easy and He encourages us to count the cost of discipleship before following Him.

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The devil is not too concerned about your good intentions but he will try to make things uncomfortable for you when you really begin to put God first in your life!

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How about you?

Is any person or anything coming between you and the Lord?

Are you following Christ and enjoying His peace in your life?

*******

If you are putting off your commitment to follow Him, do not delay any longer!

Now is the day of salvation.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

He Himself Took Our Infirmities...


Matthew 8: 14-17

Story & Lessons

After leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to Peter’s home and healed his mother-in-law who was ill.

At the end of the Sabbath at sunset, a great crowd gathered outside the house.

Jesus cast out demons with just a word and healed all who were sick.

*******

The subject of demon-possession is quite controversial.

There are modernists who deny the reality of such a thing, ascribing it to primitive superstition.

On the other hand, there are extreme charismatics who teach that most of the problems in the lives of Christians are caused by demons and spend much time casting out these imaginary demons.

We must beware of both extremes.

*******

Verse 17 is often quoted by modern ‘healers’ to prove that the atonement provides healing of the body as well as of the soul.

They reason that just as God would never turn away the repentant sinner, neither would He turn away the prayers of His people for physical healing if they have sufficient faith.

Their understanding of Scripture is very muddled, but it allows them to blame the sick for their lack of faith when they are not healed.

But the Lord Jesus had a 100% success rate (16) — He healed all who were sick.

Reflection...

Sickness and death came into the world through sin.

The Lord Jesus died to deal with sin and its terrible effects.

His death is for the redemption of our body as well as our soul.

The redemption of the body will take place when He returns.

Though the Christian is forgiven and cleansed from sin, he will not be free from sin or sickness until he reaches heaven.

We still have our weaknesses and infirmities here on earth which God may not choose to heal.

God does heal today, according to His own will.

How blessed is the believer who has learned to trust God in sickness and in health!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

As You Have Believed, So Let It Be Done For You


Matthew 8: 5-13

Story & Lessons

When Jesus came to Capernaum, He was met with a desperate and urgent request from a Roman centurion.

His servant-boy was paralyzed and in great torment.

This centurion was a kind man who was distraught to see his servant so ill.

He was not only a man with compassion but he was also humble.

He felt too unworthy for Jesus to come under his roof.

As a man under authority, he recognized the greatness and the authority of Christ.

He believed that just a word from Jesus was sufficient for his servant to be healed.

The Lord Jesus commended the centurion’s faith and said that he had not found such great faith, not even in Israel.

Reflection...

The faithless Israelites would be cast out into outer darkness of hell on the Day of Judgment.

What a fearful prospect awaits those who do not know Christ!

We really need to be sure that we belong to the Lord!

We must pray with humility, recognizing that we are unworthy before God.

We must trust in Jesus as the almighty God and take Him at His word.

Jesus said to the centurion, "As you have believed, so let it be done for you", and the servant was healed that very hour.

Do you pray with real faith?

Do you really believe in the promises of God that are found in His word?

"As you have believed, so let it be done for you."

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Am Willing; Be Cleansed


Matthew 8: 1-4

Story & Lessons

The leper confessed his confidence in Christ’s ability to heal him.

But he wondered if He was willing to do so.

He asked, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean” (2).

Leprosy was once much feared because it was incurable.

Lepers were shunned lest anyone touching them contracted the dread disease.

Jesus was moved with compassion for the leper and touched him.

That touch would have meant so much to a man who had not been touched for years, except by fellow-lepers.

As soon as Jesus said, "I am willing; be cleansed," he was healed.

Jesus warned him not to tell of this miracle but to show himself to the priest, for ritual cleansing and confirmation that the disease had been cured so that he could return to normal life.

In his zeal, the man disobeyed the Lord and spread the news of his healing.

As a result the Lord Jesus was restricted in His ministry by huge crowds and for a time was unable to go into cities.

Reflection...

We often suffer from the opposite problem – we are silent when we should be witnessing.

Let us have compassion on needy sinners, but beware of an uncontrolled zeal which hinders rather than advances the work of the gospel.

Every person born into this world is afflicted by a plague far worse than leprosy.

The most developed psychology and all manner of theories and therapies have failed to cure it.

I refer to the plague of sin which will, if not cured, lead to eternal separation from God.

The Lord Jesus died on the cross and shed His precious blood so that sinners could be cleansed and made whole.

If we are not a Christian, perhaps we may wonder if he is willing to forgive us.

But if we come to him, He will never turn us away (John 6:37). He still says, "I am willing; be cleansed."