Pastor Keith’s Blog

The Blessing

What would it take to convince you that Jesus is alive, that He is concerned about you and that He is fulfilling His promises?  In Matthew 11 we see that John the Baptist is in prison.  Prior to this he had boldly declared that there was coming someone who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.  He baptized Jesus and heard a voice from heaven saying that this was God’s beloved Son in Whom He was well pleased, he saw the Spirit of God alighting upon Jesus, Matt. 3:13-17. 

   There would have been some excitement and anticipation that Jesus was going to help change the situations of life.  However, when in prison John the Baptist is having second thoughts.   Life was not “playing out” as he had anticipated that it would, Jesus had not produced the desired changes, and life had actually gotten harder for John the Baptist since Jesus came around.  John was about to be beheaded.  A question is sent to Jesus, “Are  You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
   Many times we too can get discouraged because it does not seem as though we are obtaining the results that we thought we should be getting as a follower of Christ.  We might think that, “As a believer in Jesus, life should be getting easier, there should be less problems and difficulties, and there should be blessings in every area of my life.”  Then when these expectations are not fulfilled we may question God with the, “How come?”, “Where were You?”, and “Why?” questions.  This was how John the Baptist was feeling.
   Jesus sends a message back to John saying, “The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the gospel is preached to them”, (vs. 5).  These statements were all true but they did not address the area of need that John had, John was in prison and was about to die.  This was what John was concerned about.  Jesus then says, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of me.” (vs. 6)  Jesus is challenging John with the thought that, ” Yes, there are times when life doesn’t seem to line up with what we think that it should, but don’t be offended.”  The blessing comes by realizing that God is still working even though He might not seem to be working in our life or in our area of need.
  The above comments from Jesus seemed sufficient to remove the doubts from the heart and mind of John the Baptist.
   Could you be content to see God work in the hearts and lives of others even when the things that you would want and desire for yourself do not seem to come to pass?  Would you be offended because Jesus doesn’t seem to be there for you, when your “prison” situation or your situation of “death” is not removed?  Or, could you rejoice because you see the hand of God at work, and could you rest knowing that if God is working in the situation of others, then He is also working in your situation, even when you don’t seem to see anything happening? 

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What Will I Say?

One of the greatest fears that we can have in trying to share our faith is that we would not have the right words to say.  We fear saying the wrong things and we fear that we would not have answers to the difficult questions.  As Jesus is sending out His disciples in Matthew 10:19, He says, ” Do not worry about how or what you should speak,  For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak.”
   Some people have taken this verse to mean that when preaching or teaching one can just start talking without any preparation or planning and God will miraculously give the words to the speaker.  But that thought is not consistent with the scriptures that tell us to study to make ourselves approved, to be prepared to answer everyone for the hope that lies within us, (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pt. 3:15).
   If you were to read the previous verses in this chapter in Matthew chapter 10:1 you would notice  that the disciples were called to be with Jesus (See also Mk. 3:14).  It is as we spend time with Jesus that we are able to start to understand His perspective, His heart for people, and His manner of dealing with situations.  Then knowing what Jesus would do and how He would speak, we too can minister with confidence.  It is the time spent with Jesus that gives the confidence that is necessary to help us to speak forth what God’s Spirit would be prompting us to share.  Peter and John walked in this confidence of being with Jesus, and others noticed it (read Acts 4:13).
   Spend more time with our Lord, then He will remove our fear and He will give us something to say.

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I Fit In

There are times when one’s heart is filled with joy and confidence.  As a believer one walks with boldness inwardly declaring that “I am a child of the King, His hand is upon me.”  At these times one can easily declare that God is with me and nothing can separate me from Him. One can easily feel able to conquer all struggles or challenges.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
   However, there are other times when the heart is heavier.  The struggles of life, situations not working out properly, failures and disappointments easily cause the head to hang, discouragement sets in, and hope dissipates.  At these times one can even wonder “can I do anything right?” and “could anything good come from what is happening?”
   When our hearts are heavy we can easily feel that, “If only I were wiser, more powerful, had more resources, then surely my situations and my life would be better.”  1 Corinthians 1:26  says, ” For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”  Reading this list can be encouraging, if lacking wisdom – then God is calling you.  Are you lacking strength – then God is calling you.  Even if you possess insufficient resources then God is calling you.
   This does not mean that God does not work within the lives of the wise or the rich or the mighty, but it does mean that when we do not see ourselves within those categories, we can still fit into the calling of God.  God calls us so that He can work through and in us.  That is encouraging.

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Pulling Back In The Midst Of Fame

I often think, “If only I had a better reputation and more fame.  If only I could communicate more clearly, if only people admired me more, then I would be able to better influence people towards the kingdom of God.  Miracles and wonderful healing could all be used to further convince people of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus.  Once word gets out and the ball gets rolling, then great things will be accomplished for the Lord”  but God’s thoughts are not the same as my thoughts.
In John 6:15 it says that the people were so excited about the miracles and the provision of Jesus that, “they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.”  In the time of success, instead of getting more pumped up, Jesus pulls back all the more to refocus on the source of true strength, His walk with the Father, see also Lk. 9:10. He was “on a roll” yet knew what was really important.  It is always our walk with God that is more important than what is accomplished.
    Lord, help us to always have the right focus, the right perspective of success.  May our greatest point of personal rejoicing be based upon our closeness to our heavenly Father.  May we be like Jesus, taking extra time aside from the fame and success to be with Him.

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