It Will Move

Here in the past few days, I have been led to Luke’s Gospel in my daily devotionals. Not sure exactly why – but over the years, I have learned to quit wondering/asking why and just soak on where God plants me. Took a while to get to that point – but in His time, He delivered me from my own “why” questions. But clearly, it has been God-ordered for me to be in Luke’s Gospel at this time, that is evident for more reasons than I can possibly glean right here.

Anyway, in Luke 17 there is nestled a record that is familiar among many Christians. In fact, it is a popular teaching and preaching topic: The Mustard Seed Faith.  A fascinating analogy taught by the Master that captures so much truth. Yet, how often we over complicate it.  How often we miss the context. How often we read right past it.

The chapter before, in Luke 16, Jesus is giving some very powerful teaching about His Kingdom. It is precise and calculated. It cuts to the heart. Read it – there is powerful truth in the Good News and it has been preserved to instruct, equip, and encourage us. When I read, I try to also be mindful of how the original followers and disciples would receive His teaching. Though we will never know fully – we can get a pretty good picture. Especially as it relates to the 12 disciples. They were uncertain. They wondered. At times it seems like they just didn’t get it. They speak when they should listen. They stick their foot in their mouth. They say things they don’t back up. They deal with fear. They have challenges. They are average, ordinary men. Any of that sound familiar? 

If your brother sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”  And the only response that Jesus’ followers, His disciples, could utter, was this: “Lord, increase our faith!” (v.5).

Here is my point:  If we will trust God, believe fully in His power and provision, and seek after His heart and will – He will increase our faith. In fact, our faith will move! He said it would! And it all begins with faith as a “mustard seed.” That is all it takes. Not riches. Not a fine education from a top notch university. Not a pile of degrees. Not a boatload of awards and personal achievements. But faith – faith as a mustard seed.

This Sunday (4-28-13), Lord willing, I am going to share about this mustard seed faith. Just know it is Good News no matter who you are. He is able to take your mustard seed and turn it into something amazing! Know that. His power within us can lead to our believing, and living, that all things are possible with God. Join us this week as we dig deeper ~ we would love to have you!

Joy and power are found in Him!

Porter

It Takes Courage

This past Sunday, I shared how the act of “watching a movie” is usually a great challenge for me. I know that seems boring, or utterly ridiculous, but it is so true. Not because I am some crazy anti-movie type, or because I am boycotting the big screen industry. Rather, the challenge is actually sitting down for 2-3 hours, blocking other things out, and focusing squarely on the film.  Yes, that ends up being a challenge for me.

Ridiculous? Mundane? Crazy? Most certainly. But it doesn’t remove the fact that it is both difficult and rare for me to execute a movie watch. If that’s not enough, as a general rule, I always prefer a movie when I can stop, rewind, rewind again, pause, and go back a third time if I must. For some odd reason, I almost always miss the important plot points.  Ever done that?  Once it happens – you just get lost. I have literally shut movies off when I get too far removed. Quite frequently, I ask questions (which seems to bother others, namely Angela, from time to time).

With all that being said, there is 1 movie I caught not long ago that was an exception to this movie rule.  The film, “We Bought a Zoo” seemed to be clean and cute – but after the first 30 minutes – it was obvious to me that it had more than just a pop appeal. In fact, whether by design or accident – the movie had a message.  God can use anything He so desires.

Here’s the general summary:

A father of 2 kids, Benjamin Mee (played by Matt Damon), is now widowed. His wife, the mother of the older son and younger daughter, fought a battle with a disease – a disease that is not identified specifically.  Now, the 3 of them are in a period of life transition, finding themselves having to make life decisions and somehow, get back to some normalcy.

In the process of making some hard life choices, Benjamin is beginning to connect with his kids and teaching them how to face life head-on.  One of the key imperatives comes from something his brother had taught him, many years before.  Benjamin even goes back to it, throughout the movie and from time to time.  Later in the film, he acknowledges that it was an important lesson – one that helped guide him; one that ultimatlely allowed him to initially introduce himself to his then future wife.

20 seconds of Courage…that’s all…just 20 seconds of literally embarrassing bravery…

Now take this and input it into what God’s Word states, and teaches, about courage.  We know that one of the most common commands in all of Scripture contains these 2 words:  “Be courageous!”  So today, no matter where you may be in life and regardless of what you are facing – seek, tap into, and find the courage that only comes when we trust God as Lord of our lives.

  • Do the godly thing, first – because that takes courage!
  • Be transparent, tell the truth, don’t deceive in any way – because that takes courage!
  • Quit taking the easy way out – bury whatever crutch you have depended on in the past – because that takes courage!
  • Perhaps for the first time – trust the Lord fully with that problem, that addiction, that attitude, that illness – because that takes courage!
  • Love that person that is often described, or seen, as unloving or unlovable – because that takes courage!
  • Call that friend, that neighbor, that loved one – who, like us at one time, so desperately needs the Lord in their life – and pray for them, go to them, meet them for a cup of coffee (or tea), invite them to join you at church, offer to take them to lunch afterwards – because that takes courage!
  • Dig deeper in the faith – in your faith journey with Jesus – and start to do away with all the excuses of why you are waiting…what’s in the way…who is distracting you; and simply allow God access to it – ask Him to do something amazing and fresh in your life as He removes barriers and excuses (He will) – because this takes courage!

Be courageous!  Be encouraged!  I really and truly believe that many are on the threshold of break-throughs, repentance, restoration, and renewal – in their lives.  Maybe you’ve been praying.  Perhaps you have been in a season of trial or personal challenge.  You’ve asked God about it.  You’ve shared it with others.  You have prayed.  You have sought God’s heart.  Maybe now it’s time to be courageous – maybe for just 1 person reading this, this is what God is saying, revealing, showing you.

If so – don’t delay.  Pray together with me:  Father God, Abba Daddy, help us to develop and have courage today.  In whatever it is we are facing – in relationships, at work, in the home, out in the community, as we interact with others – give us what we will need, when we will need it, in order to exercise courage and bravery.  May we be sensitive to Your Spirit’s direction and guidance all the while.  Increase our faith as we seek You with all that we are – that we would take Your commands to heart, with urgency, today.  Thank You, Lord, in advance, for what You are going to do.  In Jesus’ Name we ask it all.  Amen!

Love and joy…

Porter