Pastor Keith’s Blog

Do You Not Remember?

Jesus and the disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee when Jesus warns the disciples to “take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”.  The disciples immediately think that Jesus is reprimanding them because they had not brought any bread with them. In response to their discussion Jesus asks, “Do you not remember when I broke the loaves for the five thousand … or for the four thousand?” (Mark 8:13-21)
We could easily condemn the disciples for not remembering how marvelously Jesus had blessed the little amounts that were present, how He fed the multitudes and how that resulted in baskets of left over bread.  But perhaps we too are similar in nature.  God in His mercy and grace shows up, forgives us, comes into our lives, provides us with His Holy Spirit and the comfort of His word and yet we easily forget these blessings. God promises us eternal blessings and yet we only see the here and now struggles.  He has answered many of our prayers and yet at another time we question why He might seem to be distant.

What Jesus was using as a teaching situation, the disciples understood to be correction and reprimand.  The disciples, being aware of their inadequacies, their faults then interpreted the instructions of Jesus in light of their weakness.  They felt that God was rebuking them, instead of seeing the loving instruction that God was giving to them.

In another boating incident, when Jesus was asleep in the midst of a storm, the fearful disciples wake Him saying, “do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38)  Jesus was right there in their midst yet in the eyes of the disciples it seemed like Jesus did not care about the situations and the distress that was surrounding the disciples.  The disciples failed to see how Jesus was actually going through the storm with them.  Though the disciples wanted the storm removed, Jesus’ care was shown by being in the midst of the storm with them.  The disciples were fearful and lacked faith (vs 40) because they could not trust that all would be okay with Jesus in their midst. The disciples were flustered by the storm, Jesus was at peace in the storm.

In the struggles in our lives, do we remember what Jesus had done in the past, do we draw strength from these past experiences?  Do we see the comments or the lack of comments from Jesus as being corrections or do we see them as being loving instructions?  Do we see the activity of Jesus, or the lack of activity of Jesus, as showing that He doesn’t care or that He has no concern for us in our situations?

Take a moment to remember, with thanksgiving, what Jesus has already done for you.  Ask Jesus to help you see that He is not only with you in the storm, but that He is actually caring for you in the midst of the storm.


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What Would God Say?

Ps 139:23  says “search me and try my ways.”  Asking you to search my heart is a challenging thing.  This will mean that our Lord will examine and yes, reveal to me those weak areas, those areas that are not consistent with the heart and nature of our Lord.  This will mean that I will need to do something with what He is showing me, what He is not pleased with.

If God were to examine my heart perhaps He might say something like.  “You are a frail one, you are one with many weaknesses and many inabilities.  But will you not trust that I, the Lord, can even work through that which is the weakest thing in your life.  Will you not see that these flaws are actually for your protection for the furtherance of My kingdom.  You have said “would I not be more fruitful if I were different, if I were more able?”;  and yes, in your strength there would be more accomplished, you would see more busyness, but it would be that which is of your strength, and not that which is of My strength.  For I have created you even as a flawed one, one who has blemishes, that the power and the excellence and the true building and the true foundation would be of me and not of yourself. ”

“Yes you are grieved with yourself and with your nature, how flawed it is.  But surely this is,  so you would need Me more and seek Me more and shine more of Me.  In the midst of your messy life, and your marred image, I am shining even as a Light that shines through the muddy places upon the vase.  Even as the sun shining through the clouds which seem so dark and dismal.  So also your life is dark and dismal, that the brightness of Me light would shine clearly and brightly.  I will break forth as a shining light peaks through the mud encrusted layers on the vessel, the lamp, that you are created to be.”

“Yes, O broken one and weak one.  I desire that the glory and the excellency would be of Me and not of you.”

Lord Jesus, help me to remember that which You have spoken and to walk in the confidence of this Your word unto me.


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It Serves Them Right

Often we will look at what people will go through, their struggles and pains and knowing their lifestyle we will say, “It serves them right.”  We evaluate the abusive nature of the person, the aggressiveness, the anger, the self-centred manipulation and the hurtful abuse that we have received and inwardly think that they “got what was coming to them”.  They received the consequences for their actions.

But God, though He is the most faithful of judges and just in all His actions, though He is angered over the actions of the wicked, has a different response.  In Ezekiel 18:32, in the context of the righteous turning to wickedness, we are told that God “has no pleasure in the death of those that die”.  Though it might be true that the person has committed actions deserving of punishment, perhaps even death, the Lord God has no pleasure in this happening.

God’s responses are different from what we might think God to be like.  He is not a vindictive or a vengeful God; rather, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy..” (Ps. 103:8)

Take several minutes to review past situations where others have wronged you, irritated or hurt you.  Then ask God to work within you so that you too would be merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy.


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The Delay That Payed Off

We were ministering in a hospital for physically disabled patients in the northern part of Haiti.  The plan was that we would do a skit, share some testimonies, sing a song and then show the one hour Children’s Jesus Video in the Creole language.  Then, if time permitted, we would go from person to person and pray for them.  Originally we were going to show the video on a large flat screen TV that was mounted on the end of the large open area, but there would only be a limited number of people who could see that TV screen so we determined to project the video onto a closer and larger wall.  However as we were about to play the video we realized that we had a problem.  The computer that we used to play the video did not have a loud enough sound system for the size of the room.  We quickly switched to plan B – pray for the people first, while someone drives back to the mission base to obtain a bigger sound system.  Plan B would take at least 30 minutes as we waited for the equipment to come.

Now having more time than we anticipated, we proceeded to go from hospital bed to hospital bed praying for the patients, friends or family, whomever was present.  We had a lot more time so we prayed for everyone that was willing.  Some accepted Jesus as their Savior, but God did some other unique things also.  At one bed we talked with a young man who had injured his back and had lost feeling and usage of his left leg.  Though his spinal cord was not broken, he was, in effect, paralyzed in that leg.  When asked what he wanted prayer for he said that he might walk again.  Through translators we prayed for his leg to be healed.  Nothing happened.  Then we asked if he had ever accepted Jesus Christ into his life, to which he said he had, but was willing to recommit his life to Christ Jesus.  We prayed again for his leg.  Having time to spare we ask if he could feel anything as we touched his left leg.  There were no sensations or feelings that he perceived.   We prayed again for his nervous system to reconnect to all parts of his leg.  Then when we touched his lower shin, he said that he felt us touching, as if it were, above his knee!!!

Somethings seemed to be happening.  We prayed again, and again touched his lower shin, this time he felt the touching as if it was just at his knee.  We continued to pray many times until finally he could actually feel us touching his shin at the place where we were touching him.  We then prayed that Jesus would restore the neurological connections between the muscles and the nerves and the brain so that he could control his muscles.  After that prayer he said that he could feel his muscles in the calf of that paralyzed leg start to cramp.  His face was beaming as some significant physical and neurological restoration was taking place within his left leg.  Sensing that we should move to the next person we encouraged the man that this Jesus who was within him would continue to minister physically within him.

At the same time another group of our team was praying for a lady who also had a paralyzed leg.  After repeated prayer the lady was able to move her big toe on her paralyzed foot.  Though we did not see either of these patients get up out the bed and walk, we rejoiced at the start of something within their physical bodies.

We are exhorted in Colossians 4 to make the best use of our time, especially concerning how it might affect those that are outside the kingdom of God (Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Col 4:5 ) Looking back we saw how the need to get different equipment actually enables us to have more time for prayer and for ministry to those that were around us.

At times we may wonder why delays and setbacks take place in our lives.  Perhaps these are not postponements, but rather opportunities for our Lord to work through us.  We need to expectantly look to see how God is arranging situations which provide occasions for ministry.


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