Day 34 – Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-17

Amazing Faith.

Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-17

“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’” – Matthew 8:10 NLT

I would venture to say that it would take a lot to amaze Jesus. After all, He is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, and the creator of the world. He has literally seen it all. But in this story we read that Jesus was amazed. At what? The faith of an unnamed Roman officer. The Greek word used here for amazed means that Jesus was astounded, astonished – literally stunned by what He heard. Consider the source. This man was a Gentile – a non-Jew. On top of that, he was a Roman citizen. And to make matters even more astonishing – he was a Roman officer. Yet this man had what most of the Jews didn’t have: believing faith. Luke tells us this man was a good man who had been kind to the Jews under his jurisdiction, even helping pay to have a synagogue built for them. He was so well respected by the Jews, that they sent a delegation of their elders to seek out Jesus on his behalf. And interestingly enough, the reason this man was wanting Jesus’ help was because he had a SLAVE who was sick and hear death. Obviously, this man was a compassionate person who cared for those under his authority. He was more than just a leader of men. He was a servant leader who modeled many of the very characteristics Jesus had just taught about. “Do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6:27 NLT). “Do to others as you would like them to do to you” (Luke 6:31 NLT). “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:35 NLT). “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36 NLT). “Give, and you will receive” (Luke 6:38 NLT).

Jesus was amazed at this man’s faith. As a Gentile and a Roman officer, there was no reason this man should have had any thought of turning to Jesus for help. But his need drove him there. His heart of compassion and his desire to love others, but his inability to help his servant, drove him to seek out Jesus. And he knew that Jesus could help him. He sensed that Jesus had the power and authority to solve his problem. He also knew that he was unworthy of the help for which he was asking. He told Jesus, “I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you” (Luke 7:6-7 NLT). What humility. What faith. What awareness of his situation. This man was illustrating exactly the attitude Jesus was seeking from His own people, the Jews. But He sadly states, “I haven’t seen faith this in all Israel!” (Luke 7:9 NLT).

This man’s faith amazed Jesus. It amazes me. And I believe it stunned the people in Jesus’ audience that day, including His disciples. Even they would struggle believing the way this man did. They would doubt and struggle with faith over the next few years, even as they walked alongside Jesus and watched Him do miracle after miracle. And I can be guilty of the same thing in my life. The key to faith is humility and a recognition of need. Faith requires reliance and dependence. It is based on an inner assurance that Jesus can and will help. He has the power. He has the authority. He has the desire. He just needs to be asked.

Father, I want my faith to be amazing faith. I want my reliance on You to be complete, not partial. I want to turn to You and rely on You, faithfully. Give me amazing faith like the man in this story. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Advertisements

Proverbs 21

Leave the Results to God.

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” – Proverbs 21:31 NLT

I come from the do-it-yourself generation. We are self-sufficient, independent free agents who don’t need anyone or anything in our lives. We have been trained to pick ourselves up by our own boot straps and deal with our problems on our own. We have been taught to gut it up and get it done. Even as believers we tend to have a lone wolf mentality that discounts our need for others, including God. Even our spiritual formation is our job. It is all up to us. And some of us have gotten really good at living the Christian life without God. But at the end of the day, we have got to learn that the victory belongs to the Lord. It is all up to Him. We cannot live the Christian life without His help or apart from His strength. Even all the pithy proverbs we have been reading are impossible to live out apart from Him. We can’t find wisdom without Him. We will never have understanding apart from Him. We will never really experience true success in life without God’s help. It is impossible to be godly without God.

So, do we have our role to play in all of this? Sure. Just as verse 31 says, you have to prepare the horse for battle. You have to get ready for what is headed your way, but you also have to recognize that the outcome is completely up to God. We cannot dictate or determine outcomes. Even our best efforts and careful planning cannot guarantee success. Only God can do that. We can’t do it ourselves. We can’t live the Christian life alone or on our own. A big part of living the Christian life is learning to trust God for the outcomes of life. We can do everything we know to do to raise godly kids, but we are completely incapable of raising godly kids. We don’t have what it takes to produce godliness in our children. Only God can do that. But we are to do our part. We are to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Then we are to leave the results up to Him. We have to trust Him for the victory. We have to let Him fight our battles. We have to depend on Him, which requires that we stop trying so hard trying to be independent.

The victory is up to God. Do you believe that today or are you still trying to win your own battles in your own strength? God does not need your help. That doesn’t mean that God absolves you from all effort or involvement. You have your part to play and your job to do, but the outcome is always up to Him. Rest in that assurance. Prepare for battle knowing that He goes before you and will be behind you. The outcome is in His hands and it is assured.

Father, may I learn more and more that You have the battles of my life completely in control. I do not need to worry, fret, or grow anxious. I simply need to prepare myself for the battle, then watch You work. You will use me. You will allow me to play a part, but the outcome will be completely up to You. The results do not rest on my shoulders. Thank You. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Psalm 144 – Day 1

Who Are We Compared To You?

“O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?” – Psalm 144:3 NLT

Perspective can be an illusive thing. It is so easy to have a one-dimensional view of life and the circumstances surrounding it. We can end up seeing things from our point of view alone, and lose sight of reality. We can easily view ourselves as somehow special, our talents as truly unique, and our inherent value as greater than it really is. God provides perspective to life. He is to be the focal point to all of life and all meaning. He is the creator and sustainer of life. The world exists for Him, not the other way around. He is one who came up with the idea of mankind and then made it happen. David was blown away that this all-powerful God would even bother to waste a single second dealing with the likes of men. The Message paraphrases verse three quite clearly and frankly: “I wonder why you care, GOD – why do you bother with us at all?”

David had a healthy perspective of life because he had an accurate view of God. He understood the greatness of God was and the pitifully powerless condition of man. David lived dependent on God – gladly and willingly. He viewed God as his rock – his source of stability and strength. He saw God as his personal trainer and reliable ally. When David ran into trouble, God was who David ran to for help, hope and healing. He didn’t get too full of himself or allow his position, possessions or power to warp his perspective on life. He knew he needed God – at all times and in every way. All his strength came from God. All his victories were due to God. His rescue from trouble was totally up to God. His success or failure was in God’s hands. His present prosperity and future posterity were up to God. Which is why he could say, “Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15 NLT). Living with a clear perspective of God and life is essential to experiencing joy. When we understand just who God is, we will gladly place all our  hope on Him, and refuse to see ourselves as more than what we are – mere mortals. A God-focused perspective can bring peace even in the midst of difficulty, hope in the face of heartache, confidence even when surrounded by confusion and chaos. A healthy perspective of God gives us a healthy view of life.

Father, it is amazing that You, the God of the universe, would take time to even think about me, a mere man. But You do. You created me, care for me, sent Your Son to die for me and You have a plan that includes me. You are great, powerful, holy, sinless, righteous, and yet You choose to care for me. Thank You! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org