“…it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” – Luke 1:3-4
With Christmas fast approaching, I’m reminding myself that I don’t want to miss Jesus, the Christ child like I have in years past.
I don’t want to set Him aside amidst the hustle and bustle of the season. Neglecting God’s greatest Gift while purchasing presents that will not last. Attending concerts and Christmas plays yet failing to worship the newborn King.
I want to devote the time to study the story of my Savior’s birth. Not just some made up story, but eyewitness accounts about Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection. Luke took the time to learn and write down in a very orderly manner the events Jesus, Who is God with us. He compiled the stories about Jesus to send to his friend Theosophies so that he might know with certainty the truth about what he had been taught.
I’m challenged by Luke’s willingness to do the work so that he could share the good news of the Gospel message with his friend. Do I do the same? Do I take the time to carefully study God’s word so that I can share it?
It’s easier to give a gift wrapped with pretty paper and bows rather than give my family and friends the Gift of life through Jesus Christ. It requires very little of me to do that and there is no risk or rejection.
I can celebrate Christmas with family and friends, but if I fail to share that salvation is found in no other name on heaven and earth than Jesus Christ…I may not share eternity with them.
During the season that’s supposed to celebrate Christ’s birth…will my focus be on that which is insignificant and inconsequential? Or will I focus on the One who is Eternal, Jesus Christ? Will I share the Gift of eternal life with family and friends?
With the busyness of the holidays and a brief break from the usual Bible studies and church related activities…I have felt a silence from God. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been distracted…this servant has not had ears to hear.
This week…I’m starting to get back into my normal schedule…which includes a prayer meeting and a couple of Bible studies during the week.
In recent months…I was listening to Beth Moore’s Bible studies…and oh how God speaks to me through her personal and powerful teaching. But a few weeks ago…as I was about to pop in one of Beth’s CDs…and I thought “No…I want to hear the study of Luke”.
Shortly after Kindred Community Church became a church, our Pastor Chuck Obremski started a study in the book of Luke. That study lasted 87 weeks…and it is a phenomenal study. During the course of the study…Pastor Chuck was diagnosed with cancer…thus began his “cancer coaster”…and as a church we were on the cancer coaster with Chuck and his family. While I had attended the study live…I had forgotten how awesome that study was.
Going back and hearing it again…takes my breath away. Each week the Gospel was preached…and no one could sit in class and not hear of their need for a Savior and that the Savior is Jesus Christ. The word of God is so powerful and it transforms lives. It is with delight and awe I am listening the Luke study again.
Today…God in His sometimes not so subtle way…had a few messages for me.
As Chuck taught about the parable of the sowers in Luke 8…he brought it home by reminding us that we have to use what God has given us or it will be taken away.
“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. – Luke 19:26
When I heard that verse…I didn’t have to think how that applied to me. I knew immediately that the Holy Spirit was reminding me that God has given me a measure of faith. The question is…am I believing God? Am I exercising my faith? Or am I like the fool who buries his treasure? Make no mistake…faith is more valuable than all the treasures on earth…but only when it exercised.
When I fail to exercise my faith…when I choose to believe the lies of the enemy…then my measure of faith that God has given me will be taken away. Actually I will have surrendered it. Do you know any men or women of great faith? Do you find yourself admiring their faith…and wishing you had a powerful deep abiding faith like they do? Well God wants to make each of us great men and women of faith.
There is an issue in my life that has been one of the biggest areas where I struggle with faith. That’s with regards to being single. This is where I allow my hurt and loneliness to cause me to believe the lies of the enemy. That God doesn’t love me or care for me…and that He will never change my circumstances.
I see what’s going on around me in the lives of unbelievers and believers alike…and I hear Satan reminding me that God has provided them with a spouse…or has allowed them to live together outside of marriage seemingly no consequence to something that God has clearly stated is wrong.
It’s so easy to turn my inability to understand what God is doing…and His plan and timing into doubt and unbelief. But when I do that…I’m falling right into the hands of the enemy. I’m handing over the measure of faith that God has given me. Instead of shoring up my mind with scripture that reminds me of God’s faithfulness…I give in to defeat.
God continued His message to me tonight through our study in Revelation 12. Elder Dave Dunn reminded us that those who believe Satan’s lie that God is a liar…have abdicated their faith over to the enemy. It’s what he’s been doing since the beginning. He did it with Eve when he questioned, “Did God really say…?” And he continues to use that which has been very successful to this day.
There are times I’m a little slow on the uptake…so God made sure that He reinforced the message as I drove home from Bible study. I was listening to Chuck teach on four meaty verses.
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” – Luke 8:22-25
Now this is a story I’m very familiar with…I’ve heard so many times before. But I never heard this before, “Where is your faith?”.
Indeed…where is my faith God? I have surrendered it too many times to the enemy. I’ve believed his lies…that You don’t love me, or care for me and won’t act in my situation.
The other thing that struck me…is that the storm was stilled immediately. The disciples fretted and worried needlessly before they awoke Jesus. In nothing flat He attended to their needs.
It will take no effort for God to change my life and my situation. With just a word…He can rebuke the enemy and answer my prayers. The question is…where is my faith? In Whom is my faith? Will I choose to exercise my faith?
As Dave taught us tonight he said one thing in particular grabbed me. He said that God had used Paul so much because he had yielded, obeyed and submitted himself to God. Dave challenged us to do the same. God desires to use each of us greatly if we will but yield, obey and submit ourselves to Him. For me part of that is having faith and believing God even the storm wails about me…when the dark clouds obstruct the sun…and waves threaten to sink my boat.
Right now that stormy sea is an apt description of my struggle with faith. I’m like the father who cried out to Jesus, “I believe, help me with my unbelief.”