Friday, October 26, 2018

October 27, 2018

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians." Exodus 6:6-7

At FredWes this month we have been unpacking these four powerful promises God made to His people through His servant, Moses.

In these four promises God makes known His passion for His people, His purpose for His people and His plan for their lives and their nation!

We have based this study series around a book by Chris Hodges entitled "The Four Cups". Pastor Hodges founded and leads Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also the head of ARC - (Association of Related Churches) one of the most effective and influential church-planting movements in America.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who may be looking to refine or reshape the focus of your life OR for a church leader wanting a clear and compelling vision for his church.

With that said and before I begin to mine some gold from these four promises let me build a strong foundation under them. They would have no force behind them except for two phrases, one is found at the beginning of verse six and the other is found near the end of verse seven.

What are these phrases?

"I am the Lord" and "I am the Lord your God"!

Promises are only as valid as the one who makes them, right?

Of course!

So, the reason Chris Hodges can write a book about these promises and build a church vision upon them is because GOD made these promises!

The reason we can spend an entire month preaching and studying these promises is because they were made by GOD!

A promise made by an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing and loving God is a sure thing! A promise made by a God like this is done as soon as it is said! 

God cannot break a promise that He makes! So, whether the promise was made 3,500 years ago or 35 seconds ago it doesn't matter! It is as good as done!

What are you building your life upon?

Is your foundation as sure as the promises of God? 

October 26, 2018

"While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”  Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.  Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.  She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.”  Matthew 9:18-26

“What determines your reality? How do you decide what is real?”

That is a very important question. You need to have a very good answer. Over the next few posts I want to share some examples of people whose faith shaped their reality. They believed what they believed more than they believed what they saw. Christ was more real to them than their circumstances.

Two great examples are shown in these several verses from Matthew 9.

The local synagogue leader – and position of respect and influence in any community – came to Jesus bearing news that was all too real, his beloved daughter laid dead at home. But he made an amazing statement, ““My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”

Wow! Here is a guy who should have been grieving but instead – he was believing! This dad refused to let death have the last word with his daughter. Though there was nothing he could do he knew that Jesus was in town and was convinced that Jesus WAS the Son of God. So his thought process went something like this – Jesus is in town. Jesus in the Messiah come from God. God is the Creator and Giver of life. Therefore, Jesus is connected to the source of life and He should be able to raise my daughter from the dead. THAT was his new reality – his faith in Jesus.

Since he believed so strongly in Jesus, Jesus was able to believe in this guy and He arose to follow this fellow home to raise his deceased daughter. But before they made it to the end of the block a woman with a debilitating blood disease took her opportunity to touch the Master’s garment. There is an important reason she reached for the hem of his garment and I recommend you do some research on it.

Matthew reveals what she was thinking as she reached to touch Jesus, ‘She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’” Her affliction was real, but her faith was more real. She had a faith that changed her reality. She came with a disease and went home completely healed.

Jesus and the synagogue leader then sped their way to his home. As Jesus entered the house He saw the evidence of a death – mourners and music. Speaking to them, Jesus ordered them to leave. Mourners are for the dead and this girl was not going to be dead. That caused them to mock Him because they were locked into a different reality than He was.

After the commotion was stilled, Jesus went to where the daughter was laid and He proceeded to raise her back to life in respect to the great faith of her father. The father’s faith became reality. By letting Jesus have the last word, death did not.

So, I ask you, “Does reality shape your faith or does your faith shape reality?”