Different Eyes

I Will Never Leave You

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Joshua 1:5

Before I was a Christian, I would wonder where God was in my life during hard times.  When my brother passed away from Leukemia when I was 12, I didn’t understand why God would take the life of a 17 year old that way.  When  my family moved to Singapore when I was a teenager and I felt alone, I wondered what God had for my life.  When I became a Christian at the age of 23, I started looking at difficult situations as they occurred with much different eyes.  Joshua 1:5 reminds me that just as God was with Moses through all of his life and struggles, He is with me also.  So if God is with me always now, then Malachai 3:6 tells me that God was with me before I was a Christian too because it says, “I the Lord do not change…”  Through any time of struggle, through any time of need, God is always and has always been with me.  God knew me before I was born, He …”knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)  I take comfort in knowing that the God of Abraham, the God of Moses and the God of Joshua will always be with me no matter what I am going through.  I just need to look with different eyes.

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Stand Ready

Stand Ready

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Ephesians 6:10-13

Every knight had a squire.  The squire was someone who helped the knight get ready for battle.  They took care of the war horse, they made sure the swords were sharp and that the knights armor was polished.  When it was time for war, the squire helped the knight into his armor.  I don’t know much about war here on Earth other than what I’ve seen on the news or talked to friends that our soldiers, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never been to battle.  Ephesians 6 reminds us that the wars we all fight during the day are not against things here on Earth, they are against “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. (Ephesians 6:12)  How scary is it to know that we battle against things that we cannot see.  We can draw comfort in knowing that we have someone who helps to prepare us for battle.  Christ is our squire and the word of God is our sword.  Ephesians 6 tells us to stand firm with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness and feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  We also have a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.  Every item prepares us to stand against the devil and his schemes and Christ, our ever faithful squire, is there to help make sure that our armor is polished and sword is sharp for the battle.

 

 

If He Calls, Will You Go?

A Fisher of Men

“And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 14:19

We first meet Peter (Simon) while he is working with his brother Andrew in the family business.  Simon and Andrew were fisherman.  They were not the brightest men around, they probably didn’t do well in school when they were young, and we don’t really know how successful they were at fishing.  They were the working class.  So why did Jesus pick them?  Why did He pick any of the disciples?  He could have had the best, smartest minds of the time following Him, but He chose the everyman.  I think that everyone can identify with at least one of the twelve disciples.  Maybe you’ve cheated someone in your past like Matthew, the tax collector (Luke 5:27-28) or you have a tendency to doubt the things you can’t see or don’t understand like Thomas (John 20:25).  No matter what your vice, there is a disciple you can relate too.  However, it’s not important that each of the twelve have a sin you can identify with, it is that Jesus called them from right where they were, and they went.  They dropped what ever they were doing to follow Him.  They knew that what Christ had for them was much more important than what they were doing at that moment.  This is what amazes me about the disciples.  I like to think that I would do the same, that I am doing the same, but I know there are things that hold me back.  Things that I think are valid excuses like my responsibilities to my family or my job.  Yet these men had families and jobs and they still left.  They knew that what Christ called them to do was bigger.  When Christ gives me the opportunity to fish, I hope I have the brains to cast my line to the side He tells me.

 

You Are Important

The Lost Sheep

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”

Matthew 18:12-14

I am trying to think of a modern day example to this parable but at the moment it eludes me.  Jesus told parables so that the people he talked to could relate to what he was saying.  It is an old teacher trick, you  make your content relavent so your students can relate personally to what you have to say.  The only problem is that today, I don’t think we keep the same passion that the sheppards or towns-people did back in Jesus’s day.  Everything we have is disposable.  Most of us don’t tend to things where it is important to have every piece.  If we loose something, it can be replaced.  To God, we are not disposable.  We are an irreplacable part of His plan.  Jesus says that the sheppard (God) would leave the ninety-nine sheep to go find the one that has wandered off.  He’s not really talking about sheep here, He’s talking about us.  We are that one that wanders.  It is comforting to know that God values me so much that He would go searching for me.  He searches even when I don’t want to be found.  And when He finds me (or rather, when I lift up my eyes and see that He has been there all along), He rejoices.  The Bible says in Luke 15:10 that the angles rejoice when one sinner repents.  They throw a party when one lost sheep is found.  You are not disposable, you are an irreplacable to God. I take comfort in knowing that I am that valuable to Him.

The Perfect Gift

 

Eph 2: 8-9

 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

The idea that something is a gift is often times a hard concept to grasp.  People often think that if you give them a gift, it is for some reason.  You either want something in return or you feel guilty for doing something wrong.  A gift is something that is free, no strings attached, no questions, it just… is.  God is the perfect giver.  He gives to us simply because he loves us.  There is nothing we can do to earn a gift from God.  Ephesians 2: 8-9 reflects the perfect gift of God.  The grace of Christ is what saves us from certain death.  The grace of Christ dieing on the cross for us.  I didn’t do anything to deserve this, in fact, I done more in my life to not deserve it.  But that is not who God is.  God gives me grace because he loves me unconditionally.  No matter what I do, no matter what I have done, I am saved by “grace through faith”.  During this Christmas season, remember that the biggest gift of all is Christ Jesus, God’s one and only son.  Christ gave the ultimate gift of his life for ours, not for any reason then the fact that we needed it and He loved us.