After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum.
Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant.
4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.”
6 And Jesus went with them.
When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9
When Jesus heard these things,
he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”
10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
God doesn't enjoy it.
Do I Doubt? Really not much at all. I spent 16 of the first years of my life doubting that I believed fervently in the unseen. It was a popular thought to toss around if this was knowable. I joined a Youth Group in High School and I saw the peace and serenity of belief in Jesus as Lord. Later we were asked to make a decision. I did and felt the Holy Spirit come into my being - my soul. Light filled me. I have never been without the Holy Spirit again.
Others around me doubt. People I love. The point being - we who are strong, don't want to say to those around us - You Doubt?!!! We are bearing with God's Children in encouragement.
Life is in progress.
The Goal is to Finish in Faith.
Our destination is Jesus Christ.
The One who loves you most. Our Hero. The Savior we need.
Naked we were born into the is world, naked we will leave.
Doubt is an incredibly uncomfortable circumstance for the believer. A non-believer can draw comfort from other non-believers the reassuring fact this is unknowable.
I discovered, personally, people actually can cry so hard that tears leave our faces. A beloved Person in my life came to me to announce the faith defended for years had been abandoned. They were astonished to see my reaction. I sobbed - if you don't know the Love of God, you have nothing.
To dismiss doubt and questioning would not be done to our small children learning about life.
Why would we dismiss doubt and the tools the Bible gives us for learning to overcome doubt that we all experience. Especially when others try to share their disbelief. Be careful with doubters.
Picture several scenarios -
a) A Bible Study that dictates the truth of the Bible. All questions are answered with "Because the Bible says so." You are going to encourage the faithful. This reiterates the Truth. But an early believer in the Bible calls this living on the good milk of the Bible. This young believer is not apt to say - the seeds of life are choking this valued ideal out of my life and I really would like some answers on what is going on in my life.
b) A mature facilitator of the Word of God is going to think about the questions life throws at us to drown out the Truth. Drawing from and coaxing out experiences in others that encourage each other in confidence of shared experience and safety. The facilitator is going to know from thinking this out how the Bible supports itself and will use the stories of Scripture to teach the same point three different ways. This is the way a lot of us learn.
c) You have been invited to a Bible Study that encourages you to understand this is all fable. The discussions are lively. The toad in the water is being gradually warmed to boiling the frog to death. Be vwery caweful. Perhaps it's time to depart. The upward path of the Bible is upward to God. Filled with the reality that this is hard work, life throws curves. God says when we seek Him - we please Him - giving Justice with Mercy and Humility. Love.
Setting the scene for the Disciples.
The reality of Scripture is about situations of real life. These Disciples of Jesus were in awe of Him as they saw impossible things occur. Then they were completely afraid and ran out on these experiences because they were human and overwhelmed. Their lives were at stake and the work of Jesus looked as if it had failed. And suddenly they were shown Jesus was alive.
After a life threatening situation - denial causes the brain to reel back. People will try to act as if they can cope with the disaster as if it was normal circumstance. This is the way Ted Bundy lured people to their deaths. Jesus was Alive!!! And did they believe this - sorta - maybe. And two of the Gospels explain that even in the wake of Salvation - people were not perfect and were in doubt.
Now I ask you, is that a fable type story or does this encompass the reality of Violent Death and Government upheaval?
The Scriptures are painting a very real picture of real events. Not platitudes and fable.
Consider what we know of Cochlear Ear Implants - after the brain is operated on - the recipient of the Cochlear Ear hearing device placed in the brain, have months to overcome. Hearing people sound very odd. The doctors describe this literally as hearing people as if Daffy Duck was talking, because we don't hear with our ears, we hear with a brain to ear connection.
23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
The event of the life of Jesus you just read is recorded by similar stories in the Talmud recordings of the Sanhedrin Council. The actual Sanhedrin Council records the baffling and upsetting miracles surrounding Jesus of Nazareth. Housed in a museum in Scotland. What you just read is a 2,000 year old account of recovery from brain surgery. A Miracle with logic. Uncovered in this generation. Millenniums after the event we can see Jesus left us this mystery for it to be revealed. Blessed are the eyes that didn't see this miracle and yet believe.
Jesus is alive and working today.
Fact. And Good News.
Really think about Mark 8.
I discussed this in the nineteen seventies with my great-aunt Eloise. I asked here why the trees looked like walking trees. She said because that is the way Jesus decided to work the miracle. THIS IS A MIRACLE EXPLAINED TO OUR GENERATION.
Read Hebrews 11 , the real people of the real Word of God have had doubts. Jesus always works with sinners, He loves you as you are. The disciples had time to process, time to adapt, saw the Holy Spirit of God didn't abandon them. Went forth to do such miraculous things in the name of Jesus that the world has never, ever, ever changed this way before.
We have a spiral of fear with doubt. Will God love me? Is this pointless? God doesn't work on a magic formula. God's Plan is Good and He equips us, He promises, with every good thing to do His Will. The narrow path... this is where life gets meaningful. God helps sinners, saints, faithful and loves the whole world. If you are talking to God and being very honest, He honestly calls that seeking and He is going to answer. You need to focus on the "Hey, was that answered prayer or was that just om." That unseen assurance - is God. Our destination is Jesus.
I had a loved one tell me once that the list of saints exhausted him.
If you look at the Victory - It's a Miracle. And you just had to be good enough to get there? Well in faith - we are forgiven our sins to adhere with joy to the Word of God. Not giving God a broom to sweep up - hope He didn't see that.
If you break down the Victory into steps - it's Life.
The Victory is usually ... Unseen.
Noah had doubts and got drunk.
Abraham had doubts and became a very unhappy fixer.
Well, say this just couldn't happen if the Holy Spirit lives in you - is wrong. John the Baptist wanted to know if Jesus is God. Prophets have the Holy Spirit. So John the Baptist was telling us about life in God.
A relationship. Up and down. Journey forward, real topics. Real life.
This is about having doubts being strengthened and being allowed by God to have the process.
We can have the Tree of Knowledge. We can know all the Bible. We can be the good seed. The struggling seed.
And Knowing that what covers all this knowledge is - LOVE.
Common problems known to God -
Being pressed to drink.
Being pressed like Noah to be sexually inappropriate.
Being Perez and having your grandson be your son...
Being the Elijah of the New Testament.
WE are Not God.
This is the story of process and journey.
Abide in Jesus. He will abide in you. WE NEED THIS.
This is about having
Forgiveness - John the Baptist preached this. So did Paul and Peter. Labeling SIN as SIN. Seeking Restitution with God.
Knowing the Peace of God on the afternoons John the Baptist saw the crowds come to learn about God. Inside themselves.
This is Jesus telling the Woman on the Hill in Samaria that God will Dwell within us.
This is about John, Peter, Paul and John Mark wanting to be in Relationship with God.
And in Turmoil - finding a way to healing recovery and joy again.
Fear in Divorce
Fear in Economic Trouble
Loss of Child in Death
Changes of Season in Life
A Fruitful Life Looking for Meaning
Always Being Able to Say I'm Learning from God
Seeing God Unfold His Plan, coming to terms with Joy
Saying JESUS - is where we will Trust.
In doubt, in emotion, in joy, in prayer
THE LORD'S PRAYER
We do not have to solve anything totally today. Because God will be for us. We just have to try a little bit.And Try again. And communicate. God had to sweep up after all these amazing people He loves - He probably is going to not drop us on our head and leave us there.
Don't take your whole life, make it into a pineapple and then devour that in one bite.
Lean a little bit on God.
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
Day in, Day out, Seasons Come.
The Church is still Going Forth.
Solutions are God's Specialty.
HE says that He is the destination.
Father God loves you.
Father God, where is our Joy? The adventure of what You have brought us through. You have been steadfast. How many things have we overcome? Many. You are Strong Lord. Make us strong again in Your Might. Schemes to bring us down? Not from You. Let us hold up our Problems to You. You are our armor, strength and shield. The Armor of God cannot be removed. You are our fortress.
In the fortress of God, we will see the mercies of God renew. If we don't count the blessings - they fly by unappreciated. What is in the Fortress of God - joy and peace in our belief. The Power of the Holy Spirit - is hope. Compassion and Mercy are the fruit from believers. The destination is salvation.
Jesus is compassionate and merciful. Our advocate. You will call us to defend our hopes with gentleness and respect but our defense in You is sure. God will call me to do what He strengthens me to do. On this I trust in Jesus, our Strong Deliverer. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
If you name who doubted in the Bible, you are going to come up with Sarah, Abraham, Gideon and Thomas. Yep. Pretty long ago.
And if you think of miracles, perhaps you remember the phrase about the mustard seed.
Oh, the times we live in.
Remember with me, the Kings of Israel exist in our Bible to point out lessons in humanity.
14 generations and 14 generations and 14 generations and BAM- big news.
In the New Covenant - 500 years and 500 years and BAM - big news.
So - Where are we?
Well, when you look at the list on Matthew 1, we are in the - "Huh" - years. We are.
We do not remember the list towards the name of JESUS. Huh, who are they?
In the 1800s, you had the amazing defeat of Gin Lane in Europe and portions of the USA where Jesus Christ was having a revival. Charles and John Wesley, The Salvation Army. The defeat of poverty's grinding hopelessness and the conquering of the upper classes ennui. The Middle Class was graced to grow. New ways to have agriculture and the cotton gin. The ability to have mass production. If you worked hard, you could see that the Laws of God make society form a pattern. Hope and hard work with the goodness of all men understanding - form work and reward - trust or faith, hope of opportunity. Love can be taken care of with the wife and kids and not despair.
Kings in the Bible? You quickly learn, one generation of knowledge passes away - REALLY FAST. We all want to know - "Sure, but what about ME?"
We don't always believe that yesterday happens again today!!! What's the point of learning from the last generation...
Gotta love teenagers. The word 'Posers'.
People in my area are Affluent. If you speak with the car dealers you will find, people are carrying a note on that Lexus for six years. And then rolling it into another car. With more debt.
People will let you know they are calm and assured. With great worries they aren't happy.
We are in the "Huh" Years.
86% of our population believes in God and praying to Him. However, our marriage statistics say 50% of new births in the USA are in the not-the-wide highway-of- destruction, but NOT the narrow path of meaningful discovery.
Marriage equals commitment - the belief you can work life in this direction with love, happiness leading to success.
Why? People do not believe they are secure.
They have seen their parents divorce for 'it just wasn't fun' to work their brains out to afford a house. They have seen work isn't fun and if you pour your life of 30 years into a job, the company might change management, have a recession, but then old loyalties are not important in "Business."
The "Huh" years.
The Kings were doin OK. But the people were paying tax and the leaders just were not that inspiring. Business as usual. No real hope for zest in life. One foot in front of the other. Not exactly war at home, but dang where is the Zip, the Zang.
The Prophets got it.
This is where all the minor prophets live.
Justice was needed. The problem is that it sounds dang grim. Get grim about reality and wow - in lack of Zing, Zang, Zest times - people will not heed you.
Doubt is not just in Abraham. Doubt is in ALL the people of the Bible. - Minus Jesus.
Jesus the Lord never jumped in front of the worried disciples and screamed "Fired."
We have this idea that God is in Heaven with this Great Big Gauge
Believes Enough to Deserve His Blessings - Doubter
God said HE spits out the Lukewarm. True. But if you earnestly seek Him. He is going to be there.
Earnestly, Honestly Seek Him.
I feel uncomfortable when we sing on the radio - songs about God being all we need.
In Genesis - God created people have to have needs.
God created us to need Him in a tangible world.
Are we kidding? God put us here with people and problems and challenges and worries and blessings. God didn't say - don't complain.
God says - I'm With You Always.
God says in the Bible we want Life because God gave us that desire.
Of all the people to have a son from - would You Pick David?
He killed people for a living.
He was a sinner who had ingratitude.
David expected to want Life and to know God is Merciful. Expected Mercy.
God values heart and honesty and Love.
God valued the up and back again life seeking a forward place.
God said realize what idols are and put Him First.
He did name a second place, soo.... you gotta assume HE didn't mean for us to only want Him.
God did not say run around looking cheerful as a lie.
Don't say that your life doesn't matter. HE says He is Life.
If you believe that it is yours - it is yours. Tell that to your poker friends. At work.
Ha! Haahhaha ha ha ha. Welllll. God is going to bless those HE will bless and not others.
What to do with that attitude?
Sign up if you are unblessed. Ok. You should now be blind, deaf, shaky, and watch a lot of TV. Because you have failed to find treasure in what is around you. Have you taken care of the people in your life that you are not expecting to benefit from but you just like? Have you painted a room just because you needed a different way to look at the room? If only, if only, if only God had provided a WAY that we could use our voices with emotion and conversation, reach out, to use a device to convey conversation across the street, the state, the country.
Or we could type LOL.
If you tell yourself you believe that God does exist... are you saying to Him today - by the end of the day I'm going to do one little thing that enriches others and shows Him I treasure what I have. This is a way of saying Thank You.
Improve. What you can bless by commenting on that improvement. Did Hollywood get any praise for recognizing some people try to be better people as Christians? Hollywood did not really get lavish praise.
Take the Movie Cowboys and Aliens - this is advice, for today, from the Preacher during Crisis.
Doc: It's my fault she got took. I never should have taken her to that town.
Meacham: Oh, no! No! No! It's not your fault. You'll get her back. You're setting things right. Just gotta have faith, that's all.
Doc: Yeah. God's been real swell to me. I don't mean no disrespect, preacher, but either he ain't up there or he don't like me very much.
Meacham: Well, surely you don't expect the Lord to do everything for you. Do you, Doc? You gotta earn His presence. And then you gotta recognize HIM. And then you have to act on His Word.
And find What wind Serves to advance an honest mind.
Sometimes we are meant to worry.
We are supposed to grow. To decide to act. To decide to speak up.
Faith of a mustard seed doesn't make us God, we learn to trust some.
And then doubt does this...
Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
We really don't want that... that looks Bad.
Every single Disciple Doubted to some degree. Do you believe me? Yep. Even after the Resurrection. That was a Very Upsetting Event. And Jesus was among them.
Matthew 28 ends with this paragraph. See verse 17. A very honest verse. Would you include that in your gospel? I might not. John did.
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What did the Disciples of Jesus do with this Doubt. They did what they could to muster themselves to please God. They didn't place God soooo faaaar away. The Book of Acts of the Disciples says that some went out and Great Things Were Happening. Yet all the names are not mentioned. And still the world was so moved by this vast effort that in 16 years the name of JESUS CHRIST created faith, hope and Love across the world.
What did they do? They met to pray. They physically moved themselves to look someone in the eye and pray. I bet you! When they prayed, it was honest. These people hunkered down together in fear. They knew to print they had doubts. Real events require real conversation. Be honest about doubt.
God took that honest effort. Even doubting. And He turned that Doubt into Faith. Because they didn't quit. They met to pray. They broke bread and took meals. They were honest and not relying upon mere images.
The God of Vengeance. The God of Wrath.
He could have said, "Not them. They don't even believe Jesus alive again."
He could have pointed fingers.
And instead He had mercy on them for seeking Him. He created from their lives a way forward. God blesses human hearts seeking Him. He doesn't work with perfect. God creates His God Miracles from lives of sinners. Even in the face of Jesus, The Gospel of John records the last chapter having human wrangling.
That's a Lot of Love when God doesn't give up on us.
Father God, Creator the Universe! You never give up on Free Will. You didn't give up on us when the Cathedral Notre Dame was having the furniture burned and sacrifices to idols deliberately offending You during the French Revolution. You didn't give up on the idea of Freedom. Not when the City of Houston demanded Pastors turn over their sermons.
When the circumstances of life were ok yesterday and weigh heavily today, You tell us to be patient in tribulation, be steadfast in prayer. Rejoice in hope we don't have to figure it out right this second. Your Solution will arrive. We Expect You.
We are going to remember the Deeds we love in Scripture. We are going to remember with Joy! You have amazed us in this life. How Great You Are.
Help us this day to deliver You our best. Seize the moment we realize Your Mercies are New Each Morning. Thank You, Father God, for those around us Encouraging us to Go Forth in You.In Jesus will hope. Amen
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †