Posts tagged ‘Psychology’

April 4, 2016

Not Without Your Faith

by Lester Young

Is God sovereign? For the vast majority of humanity, the answer to that question – by the sheer implication of His Name – can be nothing less than a “given.” Yet though God’s sovereignty is almost universally accepted as an axiom, we’ve all nevertheless heard on more than one occasion a query like this: “If God’s really sovereign, then why is the world in the ‘jacked-up’ condition it’s in?!” (I toned down the descriptor because this is a G-rated family site.) Or like this one: “Well, if God’s in charge, why did He allow this awful thing, that horrible thing or the other terrible thing to happen??”

Although those questions – and all similar forms of them – may sound reasonable and legitimate, they share one common flaw: they all wildly miss the very point upon which they’re seemingly based. And that point is this: The Truth that God is indeed sovereign means He’s in charge and can do whatever He chooses to do, and He’s chosen… <drum roll>… to give the earth to us humans! (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 115:16). Unfortunately – and this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who’s human – we humans are quite famous for making wildly bad choices. Particularly when we’ve been put in charge of stuff (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:6).

God made the earth – and by extension the entire physical universe – for Man, and then He gave it to us. And He’s not one to go back on His Word: He doesn’t change (Psalm 89:34; Malachi 3:6). He won’t – He can’t – break His own Law (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). In His sovereignty He’s chosen to bind Himself by His own commandment regarding whom He gave the earth to. God put the earth under Man’s dominion and control, giving us the authority to do with it whatever we chose – and, regrettably, we did (Genesis 1:28, 3:17). So the answer to those two reasonable- and legitimate-sounding questions above becomes understood: Yes, God truly is sovereign; and by His sovereignty He delegated complete authority over the earth to us humans – and we’ve been pretty much screwing it up by our bad decisions and actions ever since.

But even after Adam made the ultra-bad choice to hand his God-given authority of the world over to the devil by disobeying the LORD’s instruction, men could still exercise choice and go with God. Even though disobedience released Satan’s curse into the earth, people could still choose to walk in faith and obedience to God and enjoy His favor in their lives (Genesis 3:17-19, 5:21-24, 6:8 and 18, 15:1-6, 26:1-14, 39:1-4; Hebrews 11). Despite ‘death’ and ‘the curse’ running rampant, ‘life’ and ‘the blessing’ were always still available to those who chose them (Deuteronomy 30:19).

And that’s the issue: The curse is out there, running rampant. And if you don’t know it – and more to the point, if you don’t do something about it – you’re going to be living in and dominated by it regardless of whether you want to or not.

What can you do about it? I’m glad you asked. The Lord Jesus told us, “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers (allows, even requires) violence, and the violent (the energetic in their faith) seize and take the Kingdom by force” (Matthew 11:12). If you’re born again, the Kingdom of Heaven – God’s City of Blessing, the New Jerusalem – is already your home and place of legal residence (Galatians 4:26; Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:10; Revelation 21, 22:1-5). Find out what you already possess there and begin speaking those words in faith: because Jesus also said, “I’m telling you the truth: Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea!’ and doesn’t doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23 paraphrased). Death and Life – the curse as well as the Blessing – are in the power of your own tongue (Proverbs 18:21). So choose Jesus’ Words, and speak only them – about every situation and facet of your existence (John 5:19, 30; 6:63; 8:28). And while you’re at it, you’d better get “unreasonably” serious about the whole thing, too: believe and speak those Words as if your life depends on it – because it actually does (2 Corinthians 4:13; John 10:10). According to your own faith is the way it’s going to be done unto you – that fact’s already been established (Matthew 8:8, 13; 9:28-30; Mark 4:24; Luke 6:38). So act like you mean it and don’t back down once you’ve said it!

The devil’s probably not going to pack up all his business and leave your house just because you ask him nicely once or twice. So you might as well get used to the notion that you’re going to have to be assertive regarding the Blessing in your life (Matthew 11:12). Even though some particular issue may indeed be God’s will, you have to know that nothing’s going to happen for you apart from your say-so in the matter, because you’re the one who has the ultimate authority to choose it for yourself (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24; Matthew 8:7-13, 9:28-29; Deuteronomy 30:19). Nothing will happen for you without your faith. So get your “believing” going in line – in agreement – with God’s Word, and watch the Kingdom of Heaven start growing up around you… a rampantly spreading patch of Blessing right in the middle of the curse!

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March 21, 2016

If He’s Going With You…

by Lester Young

So here’s the setting: Jairus, the man in charge of the synagogue, had a twelve-year-old daughter who was very sick – so sick, in fact, that she was on the verge of dying at any moment. Being a local leader, he was well aware of Jesus and His reputation as a miracle-worker (John 3:2). When he heard that Jesus was in the area, he quickly went out to Him, fell at His feet and earnestly requested that He come home with him and lay hands on his ailing child to heal her. Mark 5:24 gives us the Lord’s response: “And [He] went with him.”

Now we all know what happened next: A woman with an issue of blood had the unmitigated gall to show up and receive her healing, thereby stopping the entire procession in its tracks at the absolute most inopportune time – as far as Jairus was concerned, anyway; because his daughter died before they could get to her (Mark 5:25-35).

But while those developments are certainly central – and crucial – to the narrative, I think we should spend a little more time actually considering the Lord’s response that immediately preceded them: “And [Jesus] went with him.” Jairus began the interaction by pleading with the Lord to lay hands on his daughter so she would get well. However, in order to do that, Jairus needed Jesus to go with him to his house. (Now I stress that Jairus “needed” the Lord to be physically present with his daughter in order to heal her because that’s the level of faith he was operating from. Recall the Roman centurion who came to Jesus to ask Him to heal his young servant: The Lord highly praised that man’s faith because he didn’t require – or even feel worthy of – Jesus’ presence anywhere near his house. He asked the Lord to just “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” [Matthew 8:8]. And Jesus’ reply to him was, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done unto you” [Matthew 8:13]. That being said, individual faith levels aren’t the real issue here, because God is willing to meet each of us wherever our own faith level is, as long as we’re willing to put that we’ve got to use [Mark 9:23-24; Luke 17:5-10].)

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March 15, 2016

A Man of Faith, a Son of God

by Lester Young

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd, He gave orders to go over to the other side [of the sea]. … And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but [Jesus] was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?'” (Matthew 8:18, 23-27, English Standard Version)

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