September 15, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO SEE YOU

Matthew 9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

The “receipt of custom” is a phrase referring to the establishment where a tax collector would gather, receive, organize, and record taxes. Pretty exciting, huh?

I admit, I sometimes look at God’s Word a little different than some. I have quite a vivid imagination. Maybe you can read between the lines with me a little bit here. What was life like for Matthew before Jesus walked by his office that day? I picture him sitting there going over tax assessments, tax bills, and tax payments. I do not know what the highlight of his days were before things changed for him. I see him going home to an empty house after a long day of work. Maybe he was a bit bothered by the dislike I am sure some people had toward him as a tax collector. There may have been times when he was deep in thought, pondering if this was all that life had to offer. Pretty much the same routine every day, opening the office and closing at five. Can you picture it?

I can see him that specific day, going to work as he always did. I can even see him sitting there at his desk, oblivious to what was getting ready to happen. I imagine Jesus already knowing the eternal impact that Matthew would make on mankind as one of the founding apostles that served with Christ. Matthew did not know how life changing this moment would be, but Jesus sure did. Can you picture that first moment when Matthew’s eyes fix themselves on God in human form? It all changed when Jesus “saw a man”.

I do not know if you were aware of this, but Jesus saw you. Your life changed when you finally saw Him. Life changed when Jesus said, “follow me”, and you followed Him. Why not take a few moments today and reflect on the moment that you were saved. I’m not saying you need to know the day or the hour, but you need to remember the moment that you said “yes” to Jesus. You need to never forget the moment when Jesus walked by your desk. If you can’t remember that moment dear friend, then you need to get your salvation settled. Matthew went from gathering taxes to gathering souls. Pretty exciting, huh?

September 14, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES (part 3)

Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water…….. 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it

“THAT THEY MAY SEE”
Who is God talking about here when He says “they”. He is referring to the poor and needy in verse seventeen. God works miracles to meet our needs so that we will “see” God. We are bad about this. God often works miracles for us and all we seem to notice is our ourselves. We ask, then God delivers, but we rarely notice all that He does and praise Him for it. God wants us to “see and know” Him. Please take time today to “see” Him.

“CONSIDER AND UNDERSTAND TOGETHER”
Consider what? Understand what? God wants us to consider and understand that God’s hand has done this miracle. To understand that it is not us, or our ability, or our wisdom, or our talent. To consider that God made the rivers, the fountains, and the pools in unlikely, impossible places. To know and understand that we were desperate for water, and needed it desperately in this dry, desert land, and God miraculously answered our prayer and met our need. It is amazing to know that we serve a God that can do whatever it takes to give us water. God “hath created it”. You see, if God can create the heavens and the earth, then he can put fountains in the valleys, pools in the wilderness, and rivers where they do not belong.

Please consider Him today. Know and understand this. God can and will do whatever it takes to get water to him that is needy and thirsty.

September 13, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES (part 2)

Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water…….. 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

“I WILL”
We must always remember that God will only do things that are in accordance with His will. God will not go against His will, just to be able to do something that you or I have asked. However, when God decides that He will do something, there is nothing that will stop Him, and there is nothing that God cannot do.

“I WILL OPEN RIVERS IN HIGH PLACES”
Rivers tend to exist in low places, where water funnels down to and where gravity takes over. Rivers flow from larger bodies of water and they flow even with or down from that larger body of water. God is saying here that He can make things happen that we cannot explain. God can do miracles that we have never seen if that is what is required to meet our needs. You just do not see rivers in high places, but do not doubt that God could do it.

“FOUNTAINS IN THE MIDST OF VALLEYS”
This is speaking of desert valleys that are dry, parched, and cracked. If you have or been out west much, there are wide dry valleys in many of our western states. I’ve driven across the salt flats in Utah and seen nothing but dry parched ground for miles and miles. God says that He can make fountains to begin springing up in dry valleys. He said that He can take an entire dry wilderness and turn it into a “pool of water”. What does all this mean? It means that when you are thirsty, and when you need water, God can do whatever it takes to get it for you.

Remember today as the song we used to sing says:
“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are his
The rivers are his
The skies are his handy works too
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty
There’s nothing my God cannot do.”

September 12, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES (part 1)

Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water…….. 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

When I read this passage, I see a simple principle. God can do whatever it takes to meet a need. “Poor and needy” is a pretty accurate description of us. In this passage, the poor and needy were thirsty, and desperate for water. Have you ever been desperate for a need to be met? They were not desperate for some luxury. They were not desperate for a bigger home, a nicer car, a better salary, or some extra benefit. Water is something that you need, that you must have. Water is a matter of life and death. A person cannot live without water. You can live without desires, but you cannot survive without water. They needed water.

God says here that the “Lord will hear them”. God has promised to do that by the way. The person that is “needy”, the person that is “thirsty”, and the person that calls out to the Lord, they will be heard. It doesn’t matter whether you think God has heard you or not. It doesn’t matter whether you feel God has responded to you or not. What matters is that God has promised that He would hear. We have to take that by faith. By faith, we claim the promises that he said he would hear us when we call him. There are times that I will say something to my wife and she does not respond. That doesn’t mean she didn’t hear me. It just means that she has not responded yet.

I encourage you today, have faith that God has heard your cry. If you are needy today, and if you are thirsty today, God “will not forsake” you. Do not think because He has not responded, or done something visibly, that He has not heard you. When you, as God’s child, have a serious need, God is aware, and He cares. He is able to do whatever it takes to meet that need.

September 11, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TAKE NOTICE WHEN WE PRAY (part 3)

Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel

So far, we have learned to be unselfish and humble as we call upon the Lord. Now we find the greatest ingredient in a person’s prayer life. You guessed it: “FAITH”.

This centurion had so much faith in God’s ability, that he did not require proof or performance from Jesus. He told Jesus that if He would just speak the word, he believed his servant would be healed. In other words, he did not have to see his friend being healed in order to believe that Jesus did heal. Remember:

* Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
* II Corinthians 5: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
* Ephesians 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
* Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
* James 1: 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

It is interesting to me that when Jesus heard this man say this, Jesus “marveled”. Jesus could not believe what He heard. The fact that this kind of faith would come from this kind of man. Centurions in charge of soldiers were normally against Jesus because their political leaders were. But this centurion was “all in”. This centurion felt that the word of Jesus was just as powerful as His miracles. He knew that Jesus could heal his friend right from where he was standing. That is faith in a miraculous power. And this man had it. Then Jesus said that this man had more faith than anyone else in Israel. Wow. God has told us that if we have faith only as big as the grain of a mustard seed, that mountains could be moved. I think that if God senses the smallest piece of faith in our life that is totally trusting and confident in God, I believe God notices that. The bottom line is that the servant was healed. Remember this today, Faith produces answered prayer.

September 10, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TAKE NOTICE WHEN WE PRAY (part 2)

Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel

As this centurion comes to Jesus on behalf of his friend, I notice the second thing that stands out about what this man said to Jesus:

“ I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof.”

Being unselfish in our prayer life gets the attention of God, and just as importantly, being “humble” gets the attention of God. We know that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. This man’s humility was sincere. This man tells God that not only is he unworthy to have God answer his prayer, but he is unworthy for God to even step into his house. You and I need to realize that not only are we unworthy for God to give us His blessings, and answer our prayers, but we are also unworthy that God would even give us His presence. We are unworthy for God to spend time with us, walk with us, and listen to us.

When you and I get on our knees to pray, we should already be in a state of amazement that God would allow us to enter into His presence. That is why we must “come into his presence with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise”. We should not have to wait for God to do something for us to be thankful, and we should not require that God answers some prayer that we pray in order for us to be grateful. We should be grateful that he even listens to our prayers. We should be grateful that God even hears what we have to say. We should be grateful that God honors us by allowing us to approach His holy throne. May we take a moment today to just stop and acknowledge to God how “unworthy” we are. Not only do we not deserve an answer to our prayer, we don’t even deserve the privilege to pray. When we take genuine steps to fully realize how unworthy we really are, God begins to take notice of our prayers.