Friday, January 14, 2011


Purification from Sin

God is holy. The Bible calls Him holy, holy, holy.

He is set apart from all creation. God is pure, and will not tolerate sin. Any of it.


Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

Sin is anything I think, say, or do that displeases God. There has never been a person anywhere other than God who hasn’t sinned. God hates sin. It mocks his glory, it offends Him to the uttermost, and He will have no part of it.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin is a crime against God, and the punishment is separation from God now and eternal judgment from God throughout eternity.

You cannot enjoy the presence of God unless you are purified from sin.

That’s a problem, but there is good news. That’s what the word “Gospel” means. Good news. It’s a simple solution. We teach children the ABC’s of salvation. Admit that I am a sinner, Believe that Jesus death on the cross took care of my punishment, confess my sin to God.

To the sinner who is willing to say, “I’m sorry. Please, Lord, take my life”, there is purification from sin, and free entrance into the presence of the almighty God.

Wait now. Don’t misunderstand. There is nothing magic about saying a prayer. How many people have walked down an aisle, prayed the prayer and then gone on living like Christ didn’t matter. There is this feeling that if I prayed that special prayer then I’m in.

That turns God into some sort of genie that must comply when you utter a certain spell. It’s like Harry Potter.

Romans 10:9 “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

In the scriptures, belief always implies action, living out of one’s beliefs. The things I truly believe, I stake my life on. Have you staked your life on Jesus Christ this morning? Or did you just say the Words?

It’s a critical question.

If you have given your whole life to Christ, not implying that you are perfect, not implying that you will never mess up, but stating that you truly want Jesus more than anything, and want him to transform you, making you like Himself, then you have been purified from sin and are graciously ushered into the very presence of God, and may at any and all times go to Him without fearing He will destroy you.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Still we struggle against sin, as our enemy, Satan, fights against us and our own human nature has the urge to sin, God is doing a transforming work in our lives making us into a different person.

Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

What is implied in this verse? As we continue to seek Him out, resisting the effects of the world upon us, God continues to mature us, making us like Him.

The process of transformation can be difficult and painful at times, but it always liberating. I know of no person who after giving himself whole heartedly to God has regretted it.

From grace to grace, God engages in our lives to, in stages; liberate us from the enslaving impact of sin, freeing us to enjoy Him. In this process we discover what Moses of old new.

The pleasures of sin are not worth our time. Anyone can tell you. Sinful living may be alluring at first, but it is always enslaving, dehumanizing, and destructive.

Pure Pleasure

BUT! As Christ transforms us, we discover new pleasures.

As we enter into the presence of God through the purifying work of Jesus Christ, we discover pure pleasure.

Now the word pleasure is bound to make many believers a little nervous. It’s because we associate the word pleasure with sinful pleasure, but that is not how God created us. God created us and found pleasure or joy in doing so:

Rev 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

God took pleasure in creating, and created us to enjoy pleasure. The sad fact is that, because of sin we tend to pursue pleasure as a God, and pursue sinful pleasures that have a destructive effect. There are numerous verses warning us against sinful pleasure.

Proverbs 21:17 speaks against pleasure seeking when it says,

“He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”

But, when you enter into the pleasure of God and submit to his purifying transforming work, your eyes become open to the pleasure of knowing Him. Look back at Matthew 13:44. For joy the man went to sell all he had. In other passages the Greek word there is translated delight. The driving factor is desire for God, and we don’t strive to have things that are drudgery, but instead we seek out those things we enjoy. There is enjoyment in being in the purifying presence of God.

Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

There are wholesome refreshing pleasures: A beautiful sunset, a delicious steak dinner. If you are a hunter or fisher, the act of hunting and fishing is pleasurable. For an artist, it is a great song or piece of art. A game of softball or golf, a good book, planting a garden or for some even mowing the lawn is all pleasurable. Remember playing tag or going for a swim with friends as a child?

God has given us “richly all things to enjoy.” I Timothy 6:17

As God transforms us and we have a close relationship with Him, we come to enjoy Him. There is a pleasure and enjoyment in knowing God. He created us to enjoy Him, just like he made friendship, family, and the marriage relationship to be enjoyed. These things are meant, among other things, to be a pleasure to us. These relationships satisfy us.

The ultimate relationship leads to the ultimate joy, the ultimate pleasure of knowing God. When we enter His presence and He transforms us, what we desire…what satisfies us changes, because He is purifying us.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

God will give us the desires of our heart as he transforms us and as our desires turn toward Him and His glory.

Think about it: when you are a child you desired things that adults would have no interest in. That’s because you were a child. In the same way, when we are outside of the Kingdom our desires are enslaved by sin, and we chase after junk that has no lasting value. These things ultimately do not satisfy, and we must constantly pursue newer and better pleasures to keep up the charade that we are satisfied.

When you enter the kingdom and God engages His transformational work, we discover the pure pleasure of knowing God. The delight of seeking Him out through studying and meditating on his word, the joy of speaking with Him and sharing in life with the Lord God, creator and king of call creation.

There is not greater joy, no more satisfying pleasure than knowing God.

I hope you know what I mean. I went through years of Christian living seeking the world while I was seeking Christ, because in my heart I thought that what I really needed was certain things to satisfy me.

I can say that it has only been over the last ten years that I have been in the process of discovering that wonder, joy, pleasure, fun, whatever you want to call it, of knowing God.

If you have not known that joy, and want to discover it, talk to your pastor, or a Christian friend. More importantly, talk to God about it.

It’s easy to do it. “God, I want what Adam is talking about, please help me. “ Sorry, that’s the way I pray. I’m terrible at it. I just sort of gut it out, but praise be to God that He does not depend on me to do His work.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

If you ask God to change you, ask God to purify you, bring you into His presence and open your eyes to the pleasure of knowing Him. He will, and you will discover the joy of knowing Jesus.

James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...”

Maybe you’ve been living a shallow Christian life, and have not experienced this joy. Make your move. Seek God. Ask Him to change you, ask Him to show you in His Word, ask Him to guide you in prayer. He will say yes, move toward the Lord and he will move toward you.

The way will not be easy. The transformation process is tough, but the result is joy, and in the end you will understand the parable of the hidden treasure and be able to gladly sing with the hymn writer Mary James:

All for Jesus, all for Jesus!

All my being’s ransomed powers:

All my thoughts and words and doings,

All my days and all my hours.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Matthew 13:44   “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." NKJV

Matthew 13:44 serves as a reminder of the valuable treasure the kingdom of heaven is. Not how valuable it is to me—that would mislead you into thinking that my opinion or perspective has some bearing on it. The perception of value can change over time.

For example, Beanie Babies were once a cute stuffed doll. They became collector’s items, but today, only a few fetch close to what folks thought they would. The broader public no longer perceives them as having a high value, so they are worthless. So much in our society is like that. The hot new toy this year sells for triple the list price at Christmas and next year is on eBay for half of its list price because something else is hotter.
The value of the kingdom of heaven is much different. It has intrinsic value that comes from within it, is eternal, and is unchanging. Take a look at the Kingdom of heaven and reacquaint yourself with its limitless value. Many of us Americans have lost sight of the value of the Kingdom. We allow society around us to change our perceptions, and thereby begin to think less of Christ.

But, what is the kingdom?

John Piper says that the Kingdom of Heaven “is the exertion of the reign of God through Christ on the cross and the resurrection by the Spirit, removing every obstacle between you and everlasting life and joy with God.”

Short version: This kingdom is a present possession with a future realization.

The rule and reign of Christ in our lives is ours now. God the Spirit is alive in us, transforming us. The presence of the Holy Spirit also gains us entry into the coming kingdom. It is a kingdom in which our transformation will be complete, the presence of God fully realized and our joy eternal.

Ephesians 1:12-14  “…that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” NKJV

The presence of God now in spirit is real, powerful, relevant, and transformational "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." In the coming kingdom we see God the Father face to face:
I Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” NKJV

The Kingdom of Heaven is both the spiritual kingdom now and the eternal kingdom to come. You can’t get into the eternal kingdom without first entering into the spiritual kingdom. You can’t get into heaven without first repenting before God. First the internal, spiritual transformational kingdom, then the future eternal kingdom is realized.

But why get so excited? Look back at I Corinthians 13:12. Our kingdom experience now is a shadow of the kingdom to come. We have the actual living presence of God in our lives, but that experience is simply an indication of what is to come. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine / O what a foretaste of glory divine” wrote Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer. In modern day lingo, “You like this? You ain't seen nothin’ yet.”
Why am I excited about the Kingdom of Heaven? It’s because what I can know and experience of God now is so valuable, so desirable, so life transforming, that I can’t wait to see and enjoy the eternal experience of his Kingdom in heaven with God. The kingdom of heaven cannot be bought. It’s not as if I have something that earns me entrance into God’s kingdom. Never. The emphasis in the parable is that the man gave up everything to get the Kingdom. Look back at Matthew 13:44, “…and for joy over it he goes and sells all…”

If during my life, I give up everything in order to be in the kingdom of God, I’ve got a good deal. The emphasis isn’t on what I give up; it’s on what I get in return. I can give up everything, every desire, every possession, every plan I ever had, and in exchange I get more than I could ever dream of having.
It’s my joy, to sacrifice what I have in order to have His kingdom. I am not suggesting we can ever earn our salvation. It is freely given, but it costs us everything, and it is worth more than we could ever offer.

There are three valuable aspects of the kingdom of heaven:
I. Presence of God
II. Purification from sin
III. Pure Pleasure

The Presence of God
If you are a Christian God is your King and your Father. You have His protection and He listens to you as only the most ideal Father could. We have His very real spirit present within us today, and have the hope that we will physically stand before Him in eternity. That in and of itself is really cool, but I think we easily forget who God is.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created . . .” NKJV


Everything. From the vast reaches of outer space, billions upon billions of galaxies all spin with clockwork precision to the inner complexities of the human cell. Each cell in a human or animal body is like a small factory with molecular machines using DNA instructions to maintain and reproduce. You ever watch videos of this stuff? Think: All of that is inside you and me. Then on the atomic and subatomic scale things get even more bizarre, and it all functions with precision.

God made this.

The mighty mountain lion, great black bear, giant whales, highest mountains, and the deepest sea.

God made this.

Cuddly kittens, sweet babies, sunset on a June evening, and all the ingredients that became chocolate.

God made this.

The joy of finding a spouse, loving each other and growing old together. The pleasure you feel at seeing your children grow up, and getting to hold your grandbabies in your arms.

God made this. Sin messes it up.

Sin has twisted and misshapen our world, but we can still see the evidence of what God created and then called “Very good.” The best in our world and the sweetest blessings are from God alone for are His creation. God made us, gave us breath and allows us to live even though we so often refuse to acknowledge Him or give Him the love and devotion He so richly deserves.

God made us.

Romans 1:19 & 20 “…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

What do the vast outer space and the vast inner space of our bodies tell you about God? What does all the sweep of creation from ants to kittens to people to giant squid tell you about God? A vast unsearchable, unlimited, unstoppable, all knowing, mind boggling all powerful being who brought everything into existence simply by speaking it.

Oh, by the way, He is willing to come and dwell in you.

He made you, so He owns you. He could just take you if He wanted, but he is offering you the choice, to dwell with Him in peace today. That is so cool!

Ever hear someone say, "I got back stage passes to [name the band]", or "I got to meet [name the celebrity]". We all say, “Wow! Let me see the pictures!” We pay big money to see certain people or go certain places. We will go to great effort, because we perceive certain things have great value, and our friends say, “That was cool.”

But really, who cares? Everything else looks like junk when compared to the unlimited, unstoppable Father god, who loves perfectly, always knows the best thing for us, and always does what is right. He never fails, makes mistakes, and he is always with us. He is offering to live inside us, and as we look at Matthew 13:44 he says that this privilege goes to those of us who want Him more than anything else.

Why would we ever want anything else? The promise is that as we live with Him now, we shall live with Him in eternity face to face. I have no clue what that will be like, but as I look at God’s creation I can’t only imagine that heaven will be awesome. It will be better than anything on earth. Wow.

What a deal! I’ll give up anything for this, because it’s worth more than I could ever offer.

But there’s a problem.

Next Week:  Part II - Purification from sin leading to pure pleasure

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can You Trust It?

I'll be 46 years old in February.  I tend to be rational and my motto is "Question everything."  It has surprised some folks that I know that I'm a Christian who believes the Bible to authentically be a book written down under the inspiration of God.

I also believe that it has been accurately preserved such that the book we have today is essentially what was written down.  In fact, the Bible is by far the best and most accurately preserved book of all antiquity.  I stake my life on it, and treat it as an eye witness account and authoritative in all matters which it addresses.

One of my favorite skeptics is Josh McDowell.  Years ago, when a law student at university, he set about to establish that Christianity is a farce.  Instead, he found such a pile of evidence for the Christian faith, that he became a believer.  He is one of many who have honestly followed the evidence where it leads.

I, on the other hand, was raised in a Christian home, but was always encouraged to think for myself and question what I heard.  I spent some time trying to disprove my own faith, but the arguments against it were so feeble, I gave up trying.  Even the little I've heard from the very popular Richard Dawkins and others seem based on a presupposition that there can't possibly be a God.  Everyone begins with a set of presuppositions.  I certainly have mine.  While no one can ever be 100% neutral, there are individuals so bent on denying God that they force all their ideas to align with an atheist presupposition, even if result is nonsense.  

I suppose, I may be doing the same in favor of God.  I don't believe that to be the case.  Rather, I believe that the most rational approach is a belief in God and the Bible.  What are your thoughts?


Saturday, December 18, 2010


Click here to read Matthew 14:22-36

In the Bible, Matthew 14:22-36, tells a familiar story of Peter walking on water and sinking, because his faith was lagging. We love to wag our fingers at Peter, but I think he is often misunderstood.

I’ve heard it before, “Peter just didn’t have enough faith.” Great, I’m certain I don’t have as much faith as Peter did. I must really be in trouble.

Is faith really measured in volume or quantity? What is the central message the account in Matthew 14 is giving us?  First, let's ask how we view faith ourselves.

In America we have a number of popular phrases to which individuals cling:
  • “Let go and let God.” To many that saying is an encouragement to not worry. One writer wrote, “STOP worrying, just say a little prayer and let go of the problem, and let God work it out.”
  • “Blind Faith Obedience”.
  • “God said it; I believe it, that’s good enough for me.” That’s what the song says.

Then there is the “Leap of Faith”. The leap of faith is believing something without evidence. That might not be what Soren Kierkegaard meant by leap of faith. But to many individuals in America, Leap of faith means to put your faith in something. Anything. Even if it is impossible. It’s not important what you have faith in, It’s just important to have a faith.

When I look back at the Bible passage, watching Peter, I don’t see any of those kinds of faith. In Peter I see, “Eyes Open Faith.”  I believe Eyes Open Faith is infinitely more rewarding and much more demanding as well. I also believe that it is the way the Biblical to Christians to live.

Looking at the environment leading up to Peter’s act of faith and you’ll get a better idea what motivated Peter to get out of the boat.

Matthew 14:22 “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”

Jesus needed to be alone. We read in the first twelve verses of chapter 14 that John the Baptist had just been beheaded. According to the flesh, John the Baptist’s mother Elizabeth and Jesus’ mother Mary were cousins. In God’s plan John was the key herald of Jesus’ Messiahship. Jesus and John had a bond born out of family, prophecy, and personal respect. After hearing the news that John had been executed, Jesus went some place isolated to get some time alone with the Father.

When he got to the isolated place with His disciples, the whole countryside came out to find Him. This presented an opportunity for Jesus to teach his disciples, which He did when he fed more than 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

While this had to have been an unforgettable experience, the disciples must have been exhausted after serving dinner to 5000 plus guests. And Jesus still wanted that time alone with the Father God, so he sent the disciples on ahead in the boat.

This presented another opportunity to test and teach his disciples faith.

Matthew 14:23-29 “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.   But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come.”

If this were a movie on your DVD player, Peter would be gripping the edge of the boat. Dramatic music would rise as wind whips his hair across his forehead. Moving in slow motion, he starts to lift his leg over the side, and then…… I press pause.

Freeze frame right there.

What is Peter doing?  Blind faith? “Jesus said come so I’m coming, and I have no idea why, where or how.”  Leap of faith? Turn off reason and just jump? Peter had been a fisherman for years. Water was something he knew. He knew how to handle himself in a boat. I bet he had been in other storms; maybe even fallen in a few times. He knew that it is not possible to walk on water, and that in a storm there was little chance his friends would be able to get him back into the boat. So Peter was up to the edge, turn off his brain and jump? Was that it?  Or did he decide to say a little prayer and stop worrying about it. Let go and let God.

Was it any of those or was it Eyes Open Faith?

To answer this question let’s look back at Peter’s relationship with Jesus up to that point.
In Matthew 4:18 Jesus calls his first two disciples, Peter and Andrew.

Then in Matthew 4:23, in Galilee, Peter sees Jesus heal every—the Bible says every—disease and sickness among the people. Crowds of people gather for help and he heals them all.

Matthew 8, after the Sermon on the Mount Jesus heals a man w/leprosy. Then a centurion asks Jesus to heal a servant of his. Jesus heals the servant without even being near him. That’s long distance healing.
Later he heals Peter’s mother-in-law.

The crowds come back, and Jesus is a just a non-stop healer. He doesn’t heal common aches and pains. He heals serious medical problems.

In chapter 9, He heals a paralyzed man, a blind guy, and man who is mute.  Then He brings a little girl back from the dead.

In chapter 10, he gives his healing authority to the twelve disciples, and they do healing.

In 11 Jesus does a bunch more healing and the then the finale! Peter saw the things that Jesus did, and then he saw Jesus divide up 5 loaves and two small fishes in order to feed five thousand people.
Jesus still wasn’t done, later he caught up with the disciples boat across several miles of water, during a storm on foot!  Our Lord Jesus left no doubt that he is God and has power over all things.

Why did Peter jump onto the water with Christ?  Here’s a better question, why didn’t half the boat jump in after him? At least James and John should have given it a try!  The other disciples had seen Jesus evidence power and authority over illness, death, and nature. Why didn’t the others get in?

Same reason we don’t.

Here’s a check point for us to consider, Peter wasn't running blind. Peter hadn’t turned off his brain.  Peter was taking what he knew of Christ, and was daring enough to put it into practice.


Unpause the DVD. Peter steps on the water. He’s freaking out, but he is doing it. The storms around him take the advantage and he starts to sink. He tried but couldn’t stop sinking, so he cried out to the Lord.
Don’t we love to shake our finger at Peter, “Never take your eyes off of God?”  Peter failed, because he took his eyes off of God?  I disagree. Peter wasn't a failure, he was a success. Peter was a complete success, because he stepped into the storm with Jesus, and when he was overwhelmed with the struggle, he turned to Jesus Christ for help.  That is victory. Not failure.

Failure would have been not stepping out of the boat at all.  Failure is ignoring the Lord when we have struggles or ignoring the Lord when things go well.  Peter couldn't even save Himself. He had get Christ to help him up back onto the water.  Guess what! Nobody can walk on water by themselves, and only a complete fool would try and climb up out and onto the waves by himself.

Peter was a success, because he stepped into the storm with Christ and continued to turn to Christ for support.
So, what do we learn from all this?  In order to step out on faith, Peter had to know Christ. In order to step out in faith, Peter had to believe his own eyes and put his belief into practice. Stepping out on faith, means stepping into the storm.

Do you know Christ? Are you in a healthy, growing relationship with Christ? If not then, you won’t be able to share in the power of Eyes Open Faith.  Do you know His Word?  You can’t believe Christ if you don’t the Bible.  The Bible records who Christ is.  

I’m not talking just about reading the Bible, but about relating to it.  Read it, think about it, and ask God and other Christians questions about it. When you relate to the events and teachings in scripture you are engaging your mind and heart in relation with our Lord.  In order to step out in faith, we have to know Christ, and we do that by knowing His Word, the Bible.

Second, in order to step out in faith, we have to believe the testimony of an eye witness account. We weren’t there to witness these things, but those who were wrote down some of what they saw. It’s called the Bible. If you really believe the Bible is true, then take action on what you know.
In order to step out with Eyes Open Faith, you have to actually believe the eye witness account in scripture, and put your belief into action.

Third, stepping out on faith, means stepping into the storm. Christians who have taken the step to live out their faith will face struggles.  Why do Christians struggle?  There is a storm raging around them. And to survive they must cry out to God.

Are we are in the middle of a spiritual storm? Look at the world around us. Temptations, apathy and outright resistance to anything Christian constantly swirl around us and at us.  The healthy Christians are struggling: struggling against the gale force winds of temptation and old habits, struggling against the tides of peer pressure or socially acceptable sin.  Get caught in a storm and quit struggling then you're swept up by the storm and carried away.  If you want to step out in faith then realize you are stepping into a storm and you will have struggles.

Check something else. Peter didn’t let go and let God, he stepped out of the boat, and he walked on the water (by God’s empowerment).  After he sank and Christ lifted him back up, Peter walked with Christ back through the storm on the way back to the boat.  As Peter sank, Jesus could have calmed the storm. Jesus has power over all storms. Instead of taking away the storm, Jesus walked with Peter through it.  Peter knew Christ, responded to Jesus’ call, put his faith into practice, and struggled through the storm, side-by-side with Jesus Christ.

That is true faith: eyes open faith.  I want that faith.  Why, so I can be faith healer? Or get a new car or better job? Get rid of the chronic pain that has plagued me for years. Go be a missionary?
We always think that powerful faith is for the big stuff.

Is Jesus calling us to do big movie style things?  Sometimes, but the most important things that Christ is calling us to are spelled out clearly in the Bible.
Here are some of the ways Jesus is calling us:
  • Jesus is calling us: Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.
  • Jesus is calling us: Forgive those how have sinned against us.
  • Jesus is calling us: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. 
  • Jesus, through the apostle Paul, is calling us: “In your anger, do not sin.” Eph. 4:26

I’ll stop there. 

These are difficult things Jesus is calling us to. It will be very hard, but I know Christ, and believe He is God. Yet, am I willing to step out of the boat?

There is a man I know. Some years ago we had a disagreement. We had an argument. The anger built to mistrust, and the relationship was broken.  I had trusted, admired and looked up to this man.  Jesus is calling me. Jesus is saying, come, get out of the boat, and forgive this man.

After a year or so, my anger and resentment had turned to apathy and disappointment. Not exactly a success story.  I haven’t made a lot of progress, but have struggled to forgive. I repeatedly fail in forgiving and sink beneath the waves.  I cry out to Christ for help, and He lifts me up. I’ve sunk down and been lifted up so many times I feel like a cork in a water fountain.

I know that when Christ calls us, he enables us to follow. He knows we will fall, and when we reach out again, like a baby learning to walk, we grow stronger.  If I were a man who could freely forgive others, not harboring anger, what transformation would take place in my relationship with Christ and those around me?   It would be a life altering change that would bless me and everyone that I know.

So what is the central message of faith? Make a choice to believe the reliable account of an eye witness to the nature and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is a difficult road, filled with sweet reward, and there is nothing better.

Let’s jump into the storm, and walk with Christ.

(All scripture quotes were from the New King James Version © 1982 Thomas Nelson Publishers)