If we would only believe

I was reading in Luke 1 this morning and was reading the story of Zechariah.  This is a story that I always forget about because often in the gospels, I tend to gloss over the early parts to get to the meat of the ministry of Jesus.   But the book starts with Zechariah, who is a priest and he and his wife are very old and have no children.  One day while serving in the temple, the angel Gabriel comes to Zechariah in a vision;

“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah!   For God has heard your prayers, and your wife, Elizabeth will bear you a son!  And you are to name him John.”  – Luke 1:12

The angel Gabriel, then goes on to him the great things that his son will do and that he is leading the way for the Lord to come.    Zechariah is a priest, he knows the the stories of Abraham who was a given a son in very old age who would do great things.  He knows that God kept his promise to Abraham.  Zechariah knows that throughout the scriptures, God keeps his promises no matter how incredible or difficult to believe.  Yet he answers Gabriel with:

“How can I know this will happen?  I’m an old man now and my wife is also well along in years.”  – Luke 1:19

He answers with disbelief and questioning.

God came through for Zechariah and his wife.  They had a son who would go on to become John the Baptist and lead the way for Jesus.

As I was reading this passage, it hit me that we so often find God’s promises to us so hard to believe, despite knowing the fact that He keeps everyone of his promises.  He has never let us down.  I can look back in my life and see so many times that God has kept his promises to me, perhaps not in the way I expected, but in a way that was better than I ever thought was possible.  Yet we continue to doubt that he will every time we face a challenge.   We trust our intellect and experience rather than God.

He has never let us down.  His power is not confined to the narrow constricts of human perspective or bound by human limitations.  We should trust Him completely!

 

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What is faith?

Reading through Romans this morning (one of my favorite books) and in chapter 4, we read about the faith of Abraham.

For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous’  – Romans 4:3

But when we hear this, and I’m as guilty of this as anyone, we often think, “Is my faith strong enough to save me, do I have enough faith?”  But we are completely missing the point here.  It is Jesus Christ who saves us, not our feelings or actions or strength of faith.  If only those of us with great faith were saved, while those of us with little were condemned, then that would put the result of salvation back on our works and not on Christ.  Jesus Christ is strong enough to save us regardless of how weak our faith is.

What then is faith?  Faith is believing and trusting in Jesus Christ and reaching out to accept his wonderful gift of salvation.   Salvation is a gift that God freely offers us if we just have faith.  I’ve written previously about what Faith does for us, it really is a charter for freedom.  It gives us true freedom.  Freedom to live a life free of fear of condemnation so that we can serve our living God.

 

Always in His Prescence – Psalm 16:11

You will show me the way of life
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
-Psalm 16:11

In the Old Testament, God lived in the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain of the temple.  The penalty of entering without the prescribed preparation was death.  Aaron had to spend hours preparing to meet God.  (Read Leviticus 16).  Today the way to God has been opened to us through Christ.  When Jesus died, the curtain separating us from the Holy of Holies was turn and God no longer dwells there.  We can now approach him anywhere, anytime.   We should still be sure to prepare our hearts to meet with God, he is still Holy and we need to be aware of that.

Today we still often look for God to be there in those special places.   We enter a church service and feel God’s presence, because he is there.  We may feel Him present in other activities and be assured he is there.

But how often do we actively feel his presence in our every day lives?  Do you feel he is with us at work?  You should, he’s there.  Do you feel him when you’re out with your family for dinner?  He’s there.  Do you enjoy his company at a sporting event?  You can, because he’s there.

He’s with you always and is with you everywhere.  You don’t have to wait until you are at a “church” service or gathering of Christians to meet him.  You can do that anywhere at anytime, because Jesus Christ did the preparation for us and has made us able to come into the presence of God outside the steps prescribed in the Old Testament.

Do we really need to “seek” God’s presence out?  Perhaps all we need to do is acknowledge his constant presence with us.