Greatest

Pride is relentless. It can cause self-deception, and distorts our view of reality. Even though the disciples spent every day hearing and seeing Jesus, pride was a constant foe; and the battle was real. Consider this moment:

“Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, ‘What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?’ But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’” – Mark 9:33-35 NKJV

Pride can be “sneaky mean” and silently creep in where we least expect it. It’s been said that humility isn’t thinking lowly of ourselves, it’s simply not thinking of ourselves at all. In what area of life does pride challenge you? Victory starts with prayer…

Wisdom 20.29

“The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” – Proverbs 20:29 HCSB

The way a society views its elder population, reveals much of its spiritual condition. May we in the church model an appreciation for those who have so much love, experience, and wisdom to give.

Help!

Admission of weak faith can be the beginning of moving forward.

For example, Mark records that a father brought his son to be healed from an evil spirit and the disciples couldn’t help him. Later, when Jesus arrived, the father asked Him to heal his son and they had this exchange:

Jesus: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Child’s Father: “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”

(Mark 9:23-24 NKJV)

Mark also describes how desperate and tearful the man was. He was so concerned for his child, but admitted his shortcoming and asked for the Lord’s help. In a moment, his son was healed and his faith grew exponentially; not because of self-generated commitment, but because of his humble request.

Honesty with the Lord is always the best place to start. He knows every detail and secret thought of our heart already; and we’re in need of confessing them. Is there an area of life where your faith is faltering? If so, confess it. Admit the obvious, and speak the words of “Lord please help my unbelief…”

Avoiding “Sudden Speech Syndrome”

When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (in the presence of Peter, James and John), His heavenly glory burned bright as the sun. Excited by what he saw, Peter immediately began talking of his plan for monuments, but the scripture says while he was still speaking, God interrupted and this happened:

“…a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him! And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.” – Matthew 17:5-6 NKJV

Once again, Peter was talking when he should’ve been listening. Seeing the glory wasn’t about memorializing a “moment”, it was about a heavenly endorsement of actionable words; “Hear Him!” the voice of God commanded. Of course, Peter isn’t the only example of “Sudden Speech Syndrome”. We too can suffer from the urge to start speaking (or sharing on social media) about an experience, instead of truly listening and applying His words.

Have you caught a glimpse of His glory? Has your heart been overshadowed by His presence? If so, be empowered by recalling the moment as you apply what He said. If you haven’t, today would be a great time to prayerfully look toward His majestic presence…and truly listen.

Principles

Christ

“Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am?” – Matthew 16:13 NKJV

There have always been various opinions of Jesus; even during His earthly ministry. When He asked the disciples what the “word on the street” was, they responded with several answers; John the Baptist (resurrected), Elijah, Jeremiah or others (returned to earth). However, when Jesus asked directly, “Who do YOU say that I am?” Peter spoke-up and got it right. He said:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”– Matthew 16:16 NKJV

But the interesting part is Jesus’ response. He said specifically that the Holy Spirit revealed it to him. In other words, among the various descriptions “in the press”, He was the CHRIST. Yes Jesus healed the sick, yes He fed hungry folks, and yes He showed kindness to the downtrodden, but the ultimate reason He came was to deal with sin; and the two questions still apply today.

“Who do people say that He is?”

Maybe a higher power? Maybe a great teacher?

But then the next question is,

“Who do YOU say that He is?”

Is He Christ to you, or something more along the lines of a great humanitarian-type deity? Yes, there’s a list of wonderful things that come through knowing Christ (love, joy, peace, etc.), but His main purpose in coming wasn’t to help us feel better about ourselves; it was to make a way for us to leave “ourselves” behind…and follow Him.

He’s the Christ-the Son of the Living God!

Heaviness

Jesus sighed. The reality of sin’s weight on the world moved Jesus to express a heaviness through what we call a “sigh”. Even though a “sigh” isn’t verbal speech, we know what it means. It’s a pause that reflects something deep in our spirit that’s louder than words. When Jesus was preparing to heal a deaf-mute, He touched the man’s ears and tongue, then:

“…looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is ‘Be opened.’.” – Mark 7:34 NKJV

The moment so clearly forms a picture of our need for Him. As broken vessels, our only hope is in Christ. There was nothing the man could do in his own power to overcome his physical challenges. There are broken lives all around us needing the same thing…His touch, His healing, and His declaration of freedom! Are the ravages of sin causing you heaviness today? If so, you’re not alone in that emotion, but praise be to God-He has overcome sin and its destruction.

“…but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NKJV

If you’re redeemed, give thanks for His healing. If sin is crippling your walk with Him; repent and be healed. For those around you who need it, pray specifically for their hearts to be open to His life-changing touch.

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