Monday, January 2, 2017

Faith is the Answer

          I pray 2017 will be the best year of your life. Happy New Year!           
Chuckle: While eating in a nice restaurant, a patron overheard the man in the next table ask the waitress to pack the leftovers for their dog. The man's young son then exclaimed, "Whoopee! we're going to get a dog!"
Good Quote: "Faith is focusing on God's promises, and cropping out the world's discouragements." --William Arthur Ward
Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe. And they praised God, saying over and over again, "We have seen amazing things today" (Luke 5:26 NLT).
Leading up to our focal passage is a beautiful story about four men who were deeply concerned for their friend who was paralyzed. They heard that Jesus was performing miracles in their area, so they carried their friend to the place where Jesus was teaching. They tried to force their way through the crowd, but they couldn't reach Jesus. They would not be denied, however, and they took their friend up on the roof, removed some of the tiles and lowered him down on a sleeping mat right in front of Jesus.
After seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven" (vs. 20). The Pharisees and teachers of the law heard this and immediately accused Jesus of blasphemy because only God could forgive sins. To prove He had the power to forgive sins and also heal physical bodies, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "Stand up, take up your mat, and go home, because you are healed" (vs. 24). Our primary passage records the reaction of those who witnessed the twin miracles -- forgiveness of sins and physical healing.
Please notice that it wasn't the faith of the paralyzed man that impressed Jesus but the faith of his friends. Without hesitation, Jesus responded to their faith and healed their friend. What are the lessons for us from this account/?
First, if you know Christ as Savior and Lord, you have already experienced the first miracle -- forgiveness of your sins. When you stop and think about it, that miracle is greater by far than any miracle that heals your physical body. Unlike healing of the body, this miracle has eternal implications. That was the lesson Jesus wanted to teach the Pharisees, teachers, and others who were present. Even if you never have your physical body miraculously healed, you have already experienced the greatest miracle of all. (Praise!!)
Second, God responds to our faith. Jesus responded to the faith of the four men, and He will respond to our faith to impact the lives of others. We cannot force another person to become a Christian, however, we can do much, in the power of the Spirit to encourage people to come to Christ. God will use our words, actions, and love to draw people to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ. Like the friends of the paralyzed man, we should look for opportunities to bring our friends and acquaintances to the living Christ. God honors both our faith and faithfulness.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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