Faith When You Cannot See

I don’t know about you, but I have bad vision. When I wake up to the sound of my alarm and roll over to see what time it is, all I see is a fuzzy green speck. I know that it is early, because I know what time I set my alarm, but that doesn’t change the fact that I cannot see the time. It isn’t until I put on my glasses that I can clearly see the numbers on that clock.

How often do we face situations in life where we know the promise that God will never leave us or forsake us, but in the moment we have a hard time seeing that truth. This isn’t something new to us, and is a struggle that can be seen by the servant with Elisha the prophet.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15)

As Elisha and the servant headed out, they were met with a surprise. Early in the morning they found themselves surrounded by a large army. The servant did not know what to do.

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)

In this moment of distress, Elisha provided comfort for the servant with truth. First he told him not to be afraid. That in itself is probably not enough to calm his fears. It is hard to instantly just change your emotions.

So Elisha continued to let him know the reason why he should not be afraid. They were not alone. Again, that in itself is probably not enough to calm his fears. As the servant looked around, all he saw was himself, Elisha, and the army they were facing.

So continuing on, Elisha let his servant know that there were more with them than against them. They were not outnumbered. But the servant couldn’t see a single one of these that were with them.

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

I can only imagine the scene that the servant was so blessed to see. As God opened his eyes, he saw the angelic army of the Lord all around them. This army was so great and so massive that they filled a mountain. It was only until God opened the servants eyes that he was able to see this truth. Yet whether God opened his eyes or not does not change the truth that they were there.

We too are like this servant. There are trials that come into our lives that overwhelm us. And instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, we focus on the trial. Yet that does not change the fact that He is there.

We have not seen Jesus. We have not seen Him on the cross. Nor have we seen the piercings on His hands and side. But that does not change the fact about who Jesus is, and what He has done for us.

Our faith is not based on what we see (2 Corinthians 5:7). And our faith is not based on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Whatever you are facing today, whatever struggle you are in, know these very words that Jesus spoke.

…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

Praise our Lord Jesus Christ that no matter what we see, he is faithful and true to His word, and is with us always!

Rejoice Always

Are you experiencing joy in this very moment?

Sometimes life can go down a path that we did not expect. In those moments, rejoicing would seem like the last thing we would want to do, or are even capable of doing. I know this, as I have been there. I have been there in the sleepless nights, where my tears have followed me to my sleep. I am certain that each one of us has been there in different circumstances, but the emotions we feel are the same.

God made us to have emotions, and every single one of them are normal, everything from sadness to praise. Jesus, who is both God and Man, experienced emotion just like you and me. When He arrived to the place where Lazarus was laid, he was deeply moved with sorrow at the sight of his friend, and those that were weeping around him. In that moment, Jesus wept (John 11:35).

But throughout the bible, we are called to rejoice always.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

And again.

Rejoice always

1 Thessalonians 5:16

So this leaves us with one very important question. How do we rejoice always?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13

In believing we can be filled with all joy in peace, which is possible by the power of God. In believing the gospel. In believing that Jesus Christ is Lord. In believing that he was crucified, died, and was raised. In believing that he defeated death and sin on the cross. In believing that Jesus died for you. In believing that through faith you have been saved to an eternal hope. In believing that you are a partaker of the divine nature.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:2

Through this very hope in Jesus Christ, we can rejoice. The hope that we will be raised in our glorified bodies on the last day. That God will glorify us.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

This very hope is the reason why Paul could continue on to say that we can rejoice in our sufferings. The sufferings, and tribulations, and hurts, and heartaches that we experiencing today, although they are real, they do not compare to the eternal weight of glory.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

2 Corinthians 4:17

So I want to encourage you today, that whatever you may be facing, know that God wants to you to rejoice always. If you are not experiencing this today, don’t worry. You have a God and Father who loves you so much. So much that He died for you. And that by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will fill you with that very joy you need.

Rejoice and be glad!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14

Joy Inexpressible

There is something that is transforming about reading the bible. When I sit down and open up this holy book, I am faced with something powerful, something very different than any other book I could ever read.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture includes both the old testament and the new testament. From the early writings of creation by Moses, to the revelation of Jesus Christ to John. Every word was inspired and breathed out by God. The very God who spoke us into existence (Genesis 1:26) with His word, reveals who He is to us through His word.

This is why the word of God can be fully trusted, fully relied upon, and fully the authority in our lives. Looking to Jesus, he showed us the importance of relying on the word of God.

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4

When Jesus was sent into the desert to be tempted by Satan, every single one of His responses to temptation began with “It is written”. To follow the example of Jesus is to know His word, and to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Obedience to His word isn’t something that is burdensome, as the world would like you to believe. The world wants you to think that you will miss out on something. The world wants you to believe that His word cannot be trusted. And the world wants you to believe that you can do life on your own. But the world couldn’t be more wrong.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

The truth is that when we come to Jesus and fully trust Him, we can find rest in obedience to His word. The truth is that we are set free from the guilt and burden of being good enough. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn us. (John 3:17, Romans 8:1), but rather that we would be saved (John 3:16) and set free (Galatians 5:1). Our burdens are lifted off of us when we rely on the strength of Jesus. And not only that, but Jesus promises us His joy.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 15:11

The same exact joy that Jesus has is the same exact joy that we can have. This is the same exact joy that Jesus saw before enduring the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He knew that obeying the Father (Matthew 26:39) would lead to joy.

Today, know that you can experience joy that is inexpressible (1 Peter 1:8) when you believe and trust in Jesus, and obey His word. Come to him!

 

He Knows Your Name

Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

Isaiah 40:26

This past weekend, I went out to the country side for a quick hunting trip. One of the amazing things about the country is that there is little to almost no city light. So before sunrise and after sunset, the dark sky is lit up with multitudes of stars. It is an incredible sight that I barely can see a glimpse of from my home. As I would look up at all of those stars, I am just in amazement of how many there are. My eyes and finite mind can never conceive just how vast they are.

But the one thing that is beyond my understanding is the truth that God knows every single one of them by name, the ones that I see, and the ones that I cannot see, and by His power they are placed exactly where they are.

If God knows every single starry host in the sky, how much more does he know you and me?

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me

John 10:14

Jesus knows every single one of us by name. This knowing isn’t just a head knowledge, such as knowing who the first president of the United States was. This isn’t just a omniscient knowledge of knowing all of His creation. Rather, this is a close and intimate relationship that we all enter into when we become part of the eternal family of God. And that is something we can rejoice in every day. There is no other relationship that can compare to one with Jesus Christ!

 

Marks of a Disciple

There are many things in this world that we can follow. There are sports teams, political parties, technology companies, comedians, hobbies, people on social media, news stations, ourselves, and the list can go on. One thing is for sure is that we all follow someone or some thing.

A disciple is another word for a follower. In Christianity, it is someone who adheres to and is obedient to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Being a disciple of Jesus is radial. It isn’t simply an addition to your already existing life. It is a complete tear down, overhaul, and transformation of identity.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

The identity of a disciple is in Jesus Christ. Yet, even for Christians, it is easy to still put other things before Jesus. As I was reading through Luke 14, I came across three different marks of a disciple. Each one being more radical than the next.

Love Jesus more than family

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26

A disciple of Jesus cannot love anyone more than God. Not even our family, friends, neighbors, or ourselves. The above scripture is not commanding us to literally hate our family. Scripture is clear on how we are to treat everyone, and that is in love.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 13:34

As we follow Jesus and his commandments, the love that we have for God will overflow to those around us. This is why it is so important to love Him first. It is only by the power of God that we are able to truly love others more than ourselves.

Be fully dependent on Jesus

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:27

A disciple of Jesus is to bear their own cross. This means that that we die to our self-will, and replace it with full dependence and obedience to Jesus and His word, no matter the cost. For many of the disciples of the early church, this cost meant to the point of death. We are not guaranteed a life without suffering. In fact Jesus said that in this world we will face troubles (John 16:33).

Treasure Jesus more than anything

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33

A disciple of Jesus must renounce everything. There can be nothing in this world that you treasure more than Jesus. Whether that is a current (or past) relationship, your job, money,  friendship, a home, or your car. All of these things are great things, and can be blessings. But they cannot take the place of Jesus in your heart.

This was a truth that Paul knew and communicated to the church of Philippi.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Philippians 3:8

He counted everything as loss and rubbish in comparison to the surpassing worth of knowing and following Jesus. There is nothing that this world could offer him that could replace or fill what only Jesus could fill.

I know that there things that I have put before Jesus. So a challenge that I will be doing, and I encourage you to do as well, is to honestly examine our hearts before the Lord. Ask Him to reveal to you where you are with these different marks of being a disciple. Pray the Psalm below, listen to God through His word, and be obedient to Him who is worthy of our all!

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24