Evening Prayer 8 | Faith

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV)

The unknown writer of Hebrews describes faith in this opening passage of Chapter 11. Faith demonstrates confidence that things yet to come and that remain unseen will happen just as God has revealed that they will. We often think that the opposite of faith is doubt. However, it’s fear more than doubt.

Fear causes us to doubt.

Evening Prayer_Faith

In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4, we see the disciples overwhelmed by a storm while they are on the sea. After Jesus, who was in the boat with them all along, calms the storm, He asks them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-40).

Fear begs us to question and ask, “What if we’re wrong?” Fear gives us pause and concern.  What if God can’t, or doesn’t, or won’t? Faith reassures us that God can, that He does, and He will. When we remain confident in God’s promises, we need not be afraid. God’s got us. 

Father God, give me faith, not fear. Do not allow fear to paralyze me. Keep fear from distracting me from the truths that You have promised me. Help my faith lead to action, not distraction or inaction. May I face tomorrow grounded in faith, not fear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are You Tired and Empty? Find Jesus.

False belief leads to fatigue and emptiness. Are you worn out and running on empty?

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1 (ESV)

Jesus heralds the beginning of great significance in the history of the cosmos. By leaving the throne of God and becoming the Father’s humble servant on Earth, Jesus ushers in a paradigm shift of breathtaking magnitude.  Prior to Jesus, we were eternally separated from God. Through Jesus, you and I can choose to live a life marked by the eternal truth that nothing can separate us from God, our Father.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

By the time Mark wrote his Gospel, “Jesus Christ” had become a proper name, not a name (Jesus) and a title (Christ). However, Mark intended “Christ” to have its full meaning—Jesus, Messiah. Mark further identifies Jesus Christ as the “Son of God.” Together, “Jesus,” “Christ,” and “Son of God” present Jesus as a man who was God’s special agent but who was also fully divine. Fully Human, Fully God. Jesus took on the role of a servant of the Father to save humanity and restore our relationship with God.

Mark’s Gospel tells us about Jesus. It also mixes in stories about the religious authorities-those who stood in opposition to Christ and the disciples who sought to follow Him. God is for you not against you. Nothing can separate you from the love of the Father. Nothing.

Find Jesus

Fellowship With God

So let me ask you: How are you and God doing? What’s the status of your relationship? How are you and God? If you updated your Facebook page to show your relationship status with God what would say? Close? Distant? Intimate? Removed? Deep and Wide? Broken and in need of repair? Unwound?

Maybe your reeling and hurting inside. Healing can’t begin until we’re ready to admit our hurt. We won’t tend to our wounds if we choose to ignore them and keep them hidden from view.  Our broken habits won’t change if we don’t admit that we are powerless over them.

Jesus came to make a way for us leading to restoration. There is no hurt so deep that God cannot heal it. There is no fear you face that the Lord can’t help you overcome. There is no sin too great for His grace and mercy. There’s nothing too big for Him to forgive.

How you view the first verse of Mark’s gospel defines your relationship with God. Do you follow Jesus? Do you call Him Lord? Have you received Him as Savior?

Who Are You Following?

We all follow someone. If you’re not following Christ, who do you follow?

Who/what do you have faith in? God? Yourself? Someone else? Something else? Money? Things? A door knob? Door knobs are great after all. They are used to open doors. They help you get from A to B. But beyond that, door knobs can’t do much for you, can they?

Before he died, my Dad used to spend a lot of time in his workshop. In that workshop hung a sign that read:

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My Dad was a boss in real life. My Dad was Boss in our home. He was the boss of our lives. It was his way or the highway. He controlled everything. Naturally, I rebelled, wanting to do things my own way. Then one day I became a boss myself.

Like my Dad, I sought to control people, situations, and things. In his world, my Dad was god. And like my Dad, I saw myself as god of my life, until one day, tired and empty, hurting and broken, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. Today, Jesus is the God I serve. He is whom I have placed my faith and trust in–Him and Him alone.

God is for You, not against You.

Apart from Christ, I can’t do anything. But in Christ, I am a new creation. The old has washed away and the new has come. I am refreshed, restored, and renewed. I am no longer tired and empty. I am no longer dry like the desert. Rather, I am overflowing with the Spirit.

Jesus is for you, not against you.

Are you tired and broken? Are you wounded and hurting? Through Jesus, you can change that today.

Are you tired and empty? Find Jesus.

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4th Friday Prayer Time

 

What Keeps You From Worshiping Jesus?

The Gospel of Mark shares a story of a rich, young man who asks Jesus what he has to do to receive eternal life. In this parable, versions of which are also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the young man approaches Jesus, demonstrating respect by kneeling to him and referring to him as “Good Teacher”. The young man communicates a clear understanding that Jesus is someone worthy of honor and respect. His words also reveal a lack of fully understanding who Jesus was, is and will always be.

Claiming to have kept all of the Mosaic Law since childhood and being wealthy,  the young man seems to feel he has a right to receive the gift of eternal life. If not him, who?  He sees getting into Heaven something that can be earned, achieved, and obtained through living a good life, being successful, and having knowledge. When Jesus, looking at him with love, challenged him to get rid of all his possessions and follow Him, the young man dropped his head, unable to commit to God’s call on His life and walked away, unwilling to follow Jesus.

The young man believed he was worthy of receiving eternal life. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us are worthy of God’s grace. However, through sending Jesus to atone for our sins, God demonstrates His belief that we are worth it. Scripture repeatedly shows us that the Lord is a personal God who desires an intimate, close relationship with the people He has created. Through the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary, God removed all obstacles keeping us from a relationship with Him. Yet, like the rich, young man in our parable, many of us decide we can not give up our worldly identity and follow Jesus.

 

What we believe about Jesus matters.

 

Through His Son, God gave us the ultimate gift of love. By His actions, Jesus demonstrated that He is worthy of our worship. Through the Holy Spirit, we can grow in relationship with Christ, in the process, drawing nearer to the Father. Honestly, our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing about us because what we believe informs our decision-making and directs our problem-solving. Our faith determines our response to the trials and tribulations we experience in this lost and fallen world.

For the young man in our parable, his worldly possessions kept him from worshiping Jesus. What personal gods are keeping you from worshipping Jesus today?

Don’t leave Jesus sitting on the shelf like an unopened gift. Repent and believe in the Lord. Worship Jesus. 

Prayer:

Father, forgive us for not worshiping you with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul. We know that you are God alone and there is no other path to you except through placing our faith and trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us remove our individual distractions so that we might draw closer to You by turning our eyes upon Jesus and not relying on our own strength but rather depending on the power of Your Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.