Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What God Wants to Do...More than We Ever Dreamed!"

Matthew 13: 58: "And He did not do mighty works there because of their unbelief."

The above verse grabbed my attention as I was reading the Word this morning. Think about what the implications of these words mean.Jesus wanted to do miracles as He taught in His own hometown. But He could not. Why? Because of unbelief. God wants to have a "green light" to go forward in His plans (beyond what we could ask or think,(Ephesians 3: 20) for our lives. But unbelief stops Him at a red light.

It got me to thinking about the things I may have hindered in my own life because of unbelief. An English Bible scholar named J.B. Phillips once penned a book entitled Your God is Too Small. It is one I definitely need to add to my "to be read" pile. I am struck by this verse: "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" in Genesis 18: 14. God spoke these words to Abraham after Sarah laughed about hearing the promise she would conceive a son in her old age.

Abraham is considered the eminent human role model when it comes to faith (Romans 4: 16-22) and Moses was called the friend of God in Exodus 33:11. What a privilege to be called that by God. Certainly, our Lord Jesus Christ is known as a "Friend of sinners" in Matthew 11: 19. But for Him to call us His friend is quite another matter.

Jesus says clearly in John 14:15:" If you love Me, keep My commandments." He didn't mean we had to do it in our own power, for we have no power at all to live the Christian life without His ability. John 15: 5 says "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

So we may say we love Him, but if we aren't keeping His commandments, we do not really love Him. One day many years ago I found in reading the Word a verse that brought me a huge sigh of relief. I thought I had to do a million things to be pleasing to God, to fulfill His commandments. In this same book of the Bible, the Gospel of John, it told me, who was trying so hard to make myself acceptable before Him.

John 6:28: "Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” verse 29: Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Faith is the golden key to pleasing God. Abraham proved his faith before God when he was commanded by God to offer up his son Isaac on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22. After waiting all his life for an heir, God finally gives him a son as a miracle, way after he and Sarah were able to produce one on their own. Then God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering in Genesis 22:2.

"Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Abraham did not cry out and say, "Hey, wait just a second here! Didn't you say this son would be my heir?" (Genesis 12: 1-3)

The very next verse (Gen. 22: 3) says: "So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him."

He went forward with what God told him to do, and just as he was ready to slay his son Isaac as the offering, God said (Genesis 22:12) "And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

It was then that God provided a Lamb, who typified what God would do on that very spot thousands of years later. God provided a Lamb in our Lord Jesus Christ, being lifted up on the Hill of the Skull, where He tasted death for every single one of us. (Hebrews 2:9) "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone."

All He asks is that we believe Him. He did the impossible part in dying for our sins. He just asks that we believe that He is able to give us a life beyond what we could imagine or think, a life so much better than we possibly could make for ourselves.

Well, then, how do we get faith, some may ask. Paul tells us the answer in Romans 10: 17.

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

We can please God when we take time from our busy lives to hear God's Word and read it for ourselves. When we find a promise that helps us, we can write it down and expect it from Him. As we grow in grace, the promises of God become increasingly more precious to us. For God's Word is the only Truth in the universe, the only thing on which we can firmly rely. We know that we can "take God's Word to the bank," for Jesus says in Matthew 24:35:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words by no means will pass away."

You can please God today just like Abraham, the father of faith did. Simply believe that Jesus is the Christ, the One who took our sin burden upon His back and paid for every infraction of every single man, woman, boy or girl that has ever lived or will live. Believe He died, was buried, and rose up from the grave. (I Corinthians 15: 1-6) You will suddenly have peace, and your life can have a brand new purpose.

If we have already believed, we can always take stock of where we are in relation to believing God's Word. As long as we breathe, we have more opportunities to believe God's Word. This is true faith, the only thing that pleases Him.

Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

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