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Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

As a Christ-follower we should be thinking of possibilities, not impossibilities. It amazes me at times when I share ideas with people and the first thing I hear is all kinds of reasons why that can’t happen. I’m not talking about things like trying to fly by leaping off a roof or trying to squeeze blood from a turnip. There are some things within the human realm that are impossible.

What I’m talking about is stepping out in faith to let God do what he can do. As soon as we get the mindset that something won’t work, it most likely won’t! We also tie the hands of God to bring a miracle into our lives.

One day Jesus was walking along with his disciples and a rich young man asked him the way to eternal life. Jesus told him to give up all his money and put his trust in God. The rich young man contemplated the cost and walked away. We scoff at the man and wonder how he could choose money over Jesus. But before we get too hard on the rich young man we need to look at our own attitudes.

What Jesus was really telling the man is that he should step out of the box. He should trust God rather than trusting himself. We have a hard time with that. We don’t like to lose control of ‘the important things in life’. But as soon as we start to control on part of our lives it’s like building walls around God. We don’t say it verbally, but what we are really saying is “I have to handle this because God can’t/won’t/isn’t interested in this part of my life. I’m on my own here.

It’s that mind-set that ties Gods’ hands. Imagine that! We as mere humans can actually tie the hands of God when we take control by failing to give him 100% of our lives. Even so, we do it every day. We get frustrated with our spouses or children when they don’t meet our expectations. We get angry when we get cut off in traffic or when the service at our favorite store is below our expectations. We seek a different church when the pastor doesn’t tell us what we decide we want to hear. All of that really says, ‘My control of this situation is the most important thing to me’ rather than letting go and letting God.

Stop thinking that God can’t do a miracle in your life, or in the lives of others. Miracles are what he does best. As his dearly loved child he wants to show you great, wonderful, marvelous things. But as with the rich young ruler he asks you to let go of the control in your life so he has free reign to show his power. As a loving Father God wants to change you into all you can be!

PRAYER: Holy God. Creator God. Heavenly Father. I confess to you that even though I’ve believed in you for my salvation I struggle with giving over control of every aspect of my life. I’m more like the rich young man in my attitude than I’d like to admit. Forgive me for thinking of impossibilities rather than possibilities. Empower me by your Spirit to believe you can do miracles in my life. In the name of Jesus I pray this, amen.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17

Sit and listen to a group of senior citizens long enough and you’ll most likely hear references to ‘the good ole’ days’. Those times in the past when times were better, simpler, more spiritual, or happier. The money was better, the president was better, the pastor was better, the kids more respectful and trustworthy and the list goes on and on.

Without passing judgment on the truth of such statements, two things are certain. One is that times have changed. ‘Family’ is no longer confined to two biological parents raising their children together with the help of the church. Religion has replaced relationship in many ‘houses of worship’ so that rules replace grace and mercy. Political regimes once thought unshakeable lay in a cloud of dust.

The things that remain solid through time are the things that we cling to in times of trouble. That’s what worship is about. That’s what praise is about. Our King overcomes the changing times. Our King isn’t affected by political, financial or social changes. Our King isn’t threatened by any enemy in the seen or unseen world.

His grace is offered just as freely today as it was on the day of creation. His mercy continues to lift us up when we rebel. His forgiveness continues to be offered the second we confess our sin and ask for restoration.

Worship isn’t about music or style or place or state of mind. Worship isn’t dependent on who we are, who we are with, or the name on our church building. Our identity isn’t shaken by religious dogma. Worship is about giving homage to the King of Kings, who just happens to be our Father.

We naturally tend to give homage to those who are most important in our lives. The ones you think of most often are the ones most important to you. The people you talk to most intimately are the ones you trust and love the most. The activities you partake in give an idea of where your interests really are.

Where will you put your loyalty? Will you place it in people who will fail you or religion that will place all sorts of demands on you without offering you unfailing love or eternal life? Will you place it in social reform or education? All those things change with time. Our God never, ever changes! He is the King! The eternal, immortal, invisible God who loves you dearly and wants a passionate relationship with you.

PRAYER: Father God. Your Majesty. I thank you for your grace, mercy and unchanging love in my life. As the Apostle Paul prayed, Now to [you my] King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NLT)

One day Jesus was watching people. (Matthew 9:36) As he watched them he began to have compassion on them. He saw their plight and wished he could lighten their load. He likened them to sheep without a shepherd. What he didn’t mean is that they were just wandering around physically and doing nothing in particular. He didn’t see random activity; he saw a lack of passion and contentment in life.

That man there was struggling because the woman he loved wasn’t the one he went home to every night. The woman in the corner had been out partying and found herself in bed with someone she didn’t know. That person just got the doctors report and has only months to live. Some were burdened with debt. The man with his chin on his chest was trying to figure out how to tell the family he’d just lost his job.

Some carried emotional scars that seemed to cast a shadow on everything in life. Others were tired of trying to follow a life philosophy which only demanded more and never said “I have enough.” They’d tried religion and found it irrelevant. They’d tried chemicals and felt the pain of rejection. They’d bounced from one relationship to another to another and now, this one was on the ropes.

What Jesus saw was nothing new. It happens everyday. Stop and have a cup of coffee in a mall and just sit and watch those going by. Don’t just see the bodies. See the stories etched on their faces. Sit for a few moments in the doctor’s waiting room and take notice of the wringing hands and nervous body shifts. Visit a prison, a hospice, a drug and alcohol recovery center, a prison. Every person different; every longing the same. The longing for passionate relationship and contentment in life.

Solomon saw it too. He was the rich kid on the block. He had all the new toys, the biggest house and the coolest dad. When he had a party you knew it would be good. Only the most popular kids would be invited to this one.

Once ole’ Sol’s dad died the spending took off in earnest. He lavished himself with everything he could possibly think of. But even then nothing filled the void. All the women, all the houses, all the boats and newest gadgets couldn’t heal the gaping wound in his soul that cried out for meaningful relationship and freedom from emptiness.

So his final conclusion is one that each of us needs to heed. What’s needed to fill the void isn’t people, toys or philosophy. It won’t be found in religious dogma, political activism or having the right to ‘choose’. The healing of our wound can only be found in a relationship with the God of Genesis and following the life examples of his son, Jesus Christ. Nothing else works. People throughout the history of the world have tried everything imaginable. Only Jesus works and he longs for you to come to him for healing.

PRAYER: God, I’ve tried so many things to try to find happiness. I’m tired of the battle. I feel beaten up, bruised and scarred. Empower me with your spirit to stop fighting to find a way. Help me to follow your way to healing by living for you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. Galatians 4:7 (NLT)

A slave has no decisions to make about daily schedules, what food to eat or where they will live. A child is given new choices every day.

A slave has no future other than that decided by the master. A child is groomed every day to believe that they can be anything they want to be.

A slave lives every day with the fear that they may be ripped up from where they are and taken from their family. A child is secure in the knowledge that they are loved and that they can always come home. 

A slave lives knowing that all relationships are temporary, that those closest to him may be gone tomorrow. A child lives with the assurance that those who love him will always be at their side.

A slave lives with the presupposition that love is based on performance, that he is loved for what he does. A child lives with the foundational truth that he is loved for who he is, not for what he does.

A slave lives for today because tomorrow there is no hope for tomorrow. A child endures the struggles of growing up because he knows that his future is full of hope because someday he will receive the inheritance.

A slave knows that if he leaves, death is certain. A child knows that if he wanders he can always come home. Always.

A slave, even if he were to become ‘legally free’ still holds the DNA of slavery. A child will always bear the genetic marks of son-ship.

A slave sees a master. A child sees a loving father.

Brothers and sisters, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a child of the living God. You no longer need to live as slaves. You are a child of the King. Regardless of where you are, or where you have been. You have hope based on the person of Jesus Christ, not of yourself.

PRAYER: Father God. Daddy. I’m in awe as I’m reminded once again of who I am. It’s so easy with life circumstances to be deceived into seeing myself as a failure rather than your child. Forgive me for my doubt. Empower me with your spirit to live as your child. Thank you again for Jesus. Amen.

Don’t rip your clothes to show your sorrow. Instead, turn back to me with broken hearts. I am merciful, kind, and caring. I don’t easily lose my temper, and I don’t like to punish. Joel 2:13 (CEV)

When I was in about sixth grade a couple of friends of mine decided to have an overnight campout in one of the guys backyard. The tent was only big enough for two guys but they said I could hang out with them if I wanted to sleep under the stars. I went home and asked permission from my mom. Problem was, she said no. I could go back to play, but had to be home by dark.

I never went home that night. I lied to my friends about the pseudo permission I received and had an absolutely miserable time. They didn’t know it of course. I kept it well hidden as we played cards, sat around the campfire and told stories.

I slept under the stars that night with nothing but my light jacket. I assured my friends it was by my choice to sleep that way. I was cold. I was scared. Every little sound awakened me from a fitful slumber.

The odd part was, I was within eyesight of home. Just a short walk to a warm bed. In spite of that I was determined to do things my way. Even when I saw my dad drive by at about dusk I ignored the guilt and pain associated with knowing I was wrong! I took the long way home late the next morning. I was hungry, cold, tired and guilty. When I got home the next morning I was grounded for my actions. Both of my parents reminded me of the rules and assured me of their love, but that didn’t change the consequences.

You may be living the same way today. You are determined to live life your way. You know what God requires. You know the path you should take. You know that what you are doing is displeasing to God. You may even do as I did that night and try to convince yourself that everything is fine and life is good.

When you do things your way and leave God out there is an emptiness that nothing can fill. Relationships won’t fill it. Religion won’t fill it. Money, toys and social status won’t fill it. The only thing that will fill that emptiness is living for Jesus.

The prophet Joel wrote to a stubborn, rebellious people. People who’d seen God work many times but refused to follow him. Through the prophet God sends the people ofIsraelthe same lesson he sends us. ‘Come home. Get serious about life and living. I don’t want your rituals. I want your heart. I don’t want words. I want a passionate relationship with you. I’m patient. I understand your plight. I won’t lose my temper with you.’

PRAYER: Father God I have tried so many things to fill this void in my life. I confess that I am afraid to come home to you. I’m so used to people responding to my failures with anger and hostility I expect the same from you. Thank you for your patience, love, mercy and grace. Forgive me for being stubborn. Empower me to live for you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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