There r two times n the New Testament that record Jesus being “amazed/astonished” or “marveling” at something.One is when Jesus marvels at people’s unbelief(Mark6:4-6),& the other when Jesus was astonished at the Centurion’s faith n Matthew8:10.That recorded n Mark saddens Jesus because of people’s lack of faith,their unbelief.The Centurion’s faith(what he believed) amazes Jesus-The Centurion was so humbled by what he BELIEVED about Jesus, that his life reflected what he BELIEVED about Jesus.This amazed/astonished Jesus!When anything ASTONISHES The One that is The Power of Creation,The God of All...we MUST take note,& dig n so we can understand & learn as much as we can about what ASTOUNDS The One Who is the AUTHOR & CREATOR of Everything..of ALL LIFE!What is it about this Centurion that astonishes Jesus!?What is mere man/woman “capable of” that could possibly astonish The One that Created every Universe,All Space,All Time,All Life!?It was the Centurion’s “great faith”!It was not necessarily the Centurion’s faith that his friend would b healed.It was the Centurion’s faith n WHO&WHAT JESUS IS!The Centurion’s life was impacted 2 his core by his belief n WHO&WHAT Jesus IS!So much so that the Centurion’s heart had been impacted by this BELIEF!The Centurion was a high ranking Roman Officer.It was not likely that a Roman Centurion would have a HEART for a slave/servant.BUT,he did!He had a different HEART than most other Centurions.Greater than this,the Centurion had believed what he heard about Jesus,so much so that his life&heart had been changed.Luke says that the Centurion considered himself unworthy 4 Jesus 2 come 2 him!A Roman Officer of the time would consider any Jew a “little less than human”.Yet,this Centurion thought himself UNWORTHY of the presence of Jesus,a well known Jew!So-we know the Centurion’s heart has been changed by what he BELIEVED about Jesus!Even greater,the Centurion knew what authority looked like,because he himself had great authority,& he knew the POWER of authority.When he makes his statement about his own authority,he also confesses his FAITH that Jesus is THE AUTHORITY above all other authority(s)-that Jesus is THE SOVEREIGN(supreme ruler;possessing supreme or ultimate power)!THIS BELIEF &FATIH is “what” made the Centurion different from all others that Jesus came in contact with...Jesus was ASTONISHED by this man’s FAITH!His life reflecting what he BELIEVED about JESUS!This is AUTHENTIC FAITH! Having our lives&hearts so changed by what we believe about Jesus! If our lives r not so changed,then what we believe about Jesus is maybe “not so big”...definitely not as BIG as what the Centurion BELIEVED!Dear Jesus,what I believe is definitely not as big as what this Centurion believed!Forgive me... Through Your Word & with the help of Your Spirit,please bring me to the same “level” of belief as this Centurion,& may my life&heart be changed by this belief...may my faith become “astonishing”!
Filtering by Tag: rock
When I was n college I attended a small Bible Study on Tuesday nights.The teacher often said,”whenever u read a “therefore”,ask “what’s the “therefore” there for?”N Matthew7:24 there is a “therefore” that is 1 of the most important “therefore’s” n the Bible,because it follows what Jesus says about those that truly know Him & those that do not(Matt7:15-23).Jesus is warning us about false teachers,& our living religiously&piously.The people of the day were seeking out teachers&preachers that sounded good,& challenged them personally 2 “be better human beings”by getting involved w their “programs for improvement”.Many of these claimed 2 “know the truth&the way”.They were inspiring,& motivating.But they were not inspiring&motivating their followers 2 personally “dig in to know God’s Word”...to personally know God’s Heart.They taught their interpretations of God’s Word,but not the Person of Christ revealed through God’s Word-God’s personal expression of His Love revealed through The Holy Scriptures.They did not inspire their followers 2 personally know;value;& follow the precepts&principles revealed through God’s Word n a way that would lead their followers 2 have hearts/minds/lives that would b more&more like the heart/mind/life of Christ.Today we have the same dangers,and more.N addition 2 an overwhelming number of “Teachers&Preachers”,we have an overload of books/videos/audios/blogs/programs,etc.Most teach good morals;& good life lessons/habits/disciplines about being “religious”.Jesus tells us 2 b careful about all of these n Matt7:21-23 when he says,”Not everyone who says 2 me,’Lord,Lord’,will enter the kingdom of Heaven,but only he who does the will of my Father who is n Heaven.Many will say 2 me on that day,’Lord,Lord,did we not prophesy n your name,& n your name drive out demons & perform many miracles?’Then I will tell them plainly,’I never knew you.Away from me,u evildoers!’”Whatever we may DO,however good/“religious” it may be,is essentially “no good” unless we KNOW Jesus & HE KNOWS us!Jesus calls us 2 a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP w Him!This is “all that matters!”Without a personal relationship w Jesus,nothing we DO “matters”...Jesus doesn’t leave us “high&dry” at the end of vs23 though!Now comes the “Therefore”!Jesus is telling us that He wants us 2 NOT b fooled by false teachers/preachers...books/blogs/videos/programs,etc.He says,”Therefore” 2 all of these(Matt7:24-27)-“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine & puts them n2 practice is a wise man who built his house on the rock....”Jesus pleas w us 2 seek 2 “not just know” His Words,but 2 weave them n2 our hearts/minds/lives,so THEY become the foundation/bedrock of our entire life...our thinking...our heartbeat...!He is not telling us to “throw away” all the books/blogs/videos,etc.Nor is he telling us 2 steer away from church.He IS telling us 2 make it “THE PRIORITY” that we personally seek 2 know Him through His Word’s,& that we apply His Words(His Wisdom&Discernment) 2 all we let shape our heart/mind/life.Dear Jesus,my heart/mind/life has so many areas that have been “misshaped”.Grant me a new enthusiasm 2 seek You through Your Holy Scripture,& the needed attributes from You,so my heart/mind/life r “reshaped” by You!
Whenever God uses a man or woman n any way,we should dig n2 their “character&heart traits” 2 discover what may separate them from others.The 1st question 2 ask is whether the person is used because of certain traits,or in spite of certain traits...or both?The book of Matthew begins w the lineage of Christ.God is totally transparent with the lineage of Christ,4 our edification.Each one of these men&women r named so we can “dig in” 2 learn about the kind of heart&character we should seek,& that which we should learn 2 turn away from.So,when God chooses Joseph 2 b the step father 4 HIS Son,it is imperative that we “dig n2” learn what “makes” this young man “different” from many others.The 1st characteristic of Joseph is that he “was a righteous man”(Matt1:19b).1 dictionary defines righteous this way-“concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles; "moral sense"; "a moral scrutiny"; "a moral lesson"; "a moral quandary"; "moral convictions"; "a moral life"”.Joseph was “concerned” about right&wrong,& seeking TRUTH!Next,when the Lord appears 2 Joseph n a dream,he knows n his heart&mind this was the Lord!Matt1:22 states that “All this took place 2 fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet...which means,”God with us””!Joseph knew the “voice of the Lord” bcuz he had been seeking TRUTH n the Holy Scriptures-the Old Testament! So when the angel refers 2 OT prophecies, GOD uses HIS Word 2 confirm HIS instructions 4 Joseph!Joseph has no doubt this was from the Lord!We know Joseph had no doubt becuz when he woke up he didn’t go 2 seek counsel 2 confirm the dream,nor did he “put off doing” so he could “think about it” 4 a while!He was so convinced that he “did” what the angel of the Lord instructed the moment he woke up!This means that Joseph KNEW the voice of the Lord!He KNEW the Old Testament so well, that these verses quoted by the angel of the Lord,& other prophecies n the OT “rolling around” n Joseph’s heart&mind,were used by God 2 seal the TRUTH n Joseph’s life decisions.Next,Joseph is no different from any young man, w dreams & aspirations that all young men,ncluding getting married & looking 4ward 2 all the gifts of marriage.But,Joseph TRUSTS God w all these dreams&aspirations,& turns them over 2 the Lord.Joseph decided 2 b obedient 2 the Lords instructions 4 his life-“immediate following/obedience”!This characteristic of “immediate following/obedience” n Joseph’s life would prove critically important,eventually saving the life of the baby Jesus from the baby slaughter of Herod.Joseph was righteous!Joseph was concerned about TRUTH,& sought TRUTH n the Holy Scriptures he had at the time-the OT!Joseph KNEW the voice of the Lord bcuz of his SEEKING TRUTH!Joseph TRUSTED the Lord w his life,demonstrated “real time”by his unwavering commitment 2 follow&obey The Lord!O Lord,make my heart so concerned about righteousness that I seek to know TRUTH fervently n Your Word so I will know Your Voice as Joseph did!Develop n me the same TRUST that Joseph had;& grant me the same commitment 2 follow/obey You as Joseph had.
N Matthew3:2,John the Baptist’s(JTB)message is,”Repent,4 the kingdom of God is near.”Many came 2 see&hear JTB,&many of these were convicted of sin n their lives.When confronted w TRUTH,everyone of us will have a response of 1 kind or another.We either reject TRUTH,or we r concerned about the impact of TRUTH.Those who r concerned about the impact of TRUTH respond 2 JTB by confessing their sins & being baptized n the Jordan.When some Pharisees come,JTB’s response 2 them is not only a message 4 the Pharisees,but 4 those coming out of the Jordan that have been baptized.Everyone hears what JTB says 2 the Pharisees!JTB says,”Produce fruit n keeping w repentance...every tree that does not produce fruit will b cut down & thrown n2 the fire.”(Matt3:7-12).JTB is addressing those still wet from the Jordan as well as the Pharisees here.JTB is saying that unless the Pharisees, AND those coming up out of the Jordan,have lives that reflect a new mindset of Christ being Lord,with lives changed 2 honor Christ as Lord,they will b “cut down & thrown n2 the fire.”N addressing the Pharisees,JTB is also making those coming out of the Jordan aware that they can become just like the Pharisees if their lives do not reflect their commitment made through baptism n the Jordan-the commitment 2 turn from their old ways of thinking&living,& turning all of their “thinking&living” over 2 the ways of The Lord/His Word/His Promises/His Grace/His Love/His Mercy!Most of those concerned about the impact of TRUTH were wet from being baptized n the Jordan.JTB was now strongly encouraging them 2 “stay the course” of repentance,or they would drift back 2 their old ways & bcum just like the Pharisees!I found this when looking up REPENTANCE-“While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. That is why John the Baptist called people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). A person who has truly repented of his sin and exercised faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19–23; James 2:14–26).”Those concerned about TRUTH decided 2 “b religious”.JTB says they must let their “concern” take them 2 repentance reflected by a “change of life”...a change of all previous “behaviors” that did not TRUE up w God’s Word.Dear Lord,don’t let me be “just concerned” about TRUTH,but let my life be changed by TRUTH!Grant me wisdom&discernment 2 know YOUR TRUTHS,the TRUTHS that transcend all time,& YOUR STRENGTH&POWER 2 change my life from the inside out,so true repentance happens n my life.