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Thursday, September 22, 2016

God's Timing (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”-John 11:1-7

As you read this passage, it is hard to get past the idea that Jesus deliberately stayed away for two whole days before traveling to Bethany to visit Lazarus. It is even harder to fathom when you consider that it is during this time frame that Lazarus goes from being sick to being dead. 

Upon arriving in Bethany, both Martha and Mary approach Jesus with an identical response to His late arrival:

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”-John 11:21 & 32

Although they are not being accusatory, they are highlighting what they perceive to be a flaw in God’s timing. How many of you would be honest enough to say that you have or may be even now questioning God’s timing in regards to a situation that you are facing? I think most of us have at some point. 

Our struggle like Mary and Martha is that we tend to fixate on the best case scenario. We pray and ask for God’s favor and help and then when we proceed (without consulting God) to plan out the perfect outcome. We lay out all the details in our minds, especially the what and when! However, when that time passes, we are forced to reconfigure the details and begin to believe for the next best set of outcomes. 

Mary and Martha believed that Jesus would respond immediately, because of His relationship with them and His love for Lazarus (John 11:36), and that He would come and pray for Lazarus and make him well. Instead, Jesus delayed His coming. 

He stayed long past when Mary and Maratha hoped Jesus would come and in so doing they stopped believing that Jesus could restore Lazarus. This is because their plans were hinged on God showing up by a certain time. 

There are two types of time that we see unfold in the Scriptures. Chronos time, from where we get the word chronological, is time that can be quantified in seconds, minutes, hours, and years. This is the time that we are most familiar with and operate within. However, there is also Karios time. The word Karios means: when it is ripe. There is no hour, second, day or year that can be placed on it, but is comes to pass when it is fully ready:

“And let us no grow weary in while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”-Galatians 6:9

Another great example of this is 1 Peter 5:6-7:

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He will exalt you in due time, casting all you care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Karios time is proof that God works on His own time schedule: 

“But, beloved, do not for this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”-2 Peter 3:8

Mary and Martha fell into the same trap may of us do, we expect God to move within the boundaries of Chronos time; while forgetting that God is waiting for the perfect time to reveal His glory! 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Are you ready to see? (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 2)

“They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.”-John 9:13-15

Upon hearing this, the Pharisees became indignant calling Jesus a sinner, because although He had done a notable miracle; He did so on a Sabbath day. This caused a great division among them. However, some protested that a sinner could not do such miracles. Others questioned whether he had been blind at all!

So they had the man’s parents brought in and asked them about the man’s miraculous healing. They testified that the man was their son and that he had been born blind, but they did not know how his eyes were opened. So they brought the man man back in and began to question him again:

“Then they said to him again, ‘What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”-John 9:26-27

The man’s answer infuriated the Pharisees and after another brief exchange they had him cast out. Upon hearing what happened, Jesus found the man and asked him an important question: “Do you believe in the Son of God?”  After confirming to the man that He, Himself, was the Son of God; the man placed his faith in Christ and worshipped Him.

It is then that Jesus made a bold proclamation:

“For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”-John 9:39

This caused some of the Pharisees to ask, “Are we blind also?” Jesus told them that their mistake was claiming to see, while living in darkness.

No man can see without coming to Christ! He is the light of the world! Just like the man born blind each of us was born into sin. Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Our spiritual blindness was not caused by our own sin or our parents sin, but (Romans 5:12) through Adam we all inherited a sin nature.

Jesus recognizing our misery, got directly involved; because He cares for us. So much so, that He died on Calvary’s cross to take upon Himself the penalty of our sinfulness. However, just like with any other miracle, we have to take a step of faith. We have to come to Him; so that we too can be washed. We have to make a confession of faith in Jesus Christ and allow Him to be Lord of our lives; so that we too can be saved and be able to see clearly to live a life that honors God.

Some of you, nevertheless, are living a lie. You are living in darkness, but claiming you are able to see. You don’t see your need for a Savior and have convinced yourselves that there is some other way to make heaven and that you don’t have to put faith in Christ to get there. Therefore, your sins remain! You remain separated from God because it is now your sin that separates you from Him.

Jesus wants to open your blind eyes; that you may see the truth. If you will put your trust in Him, He will restore your sight!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Are you ready to see? (Pt.1)

(Part 1)

“He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received my sight.”-John 9:11

The story of Jesus and the man born blind is unique; not regarding Jesus’ willingness or ability to heal, but in method. His method was distinct from how He had healed on other occasions. Little did this man know that his healing would communicate a significant truth that every person reading this column today needs to hear. 

When John writes this passage he is clear to point out a couple of important observations for us:

“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”-John 9:1-2

First we read that the man was blind from birth. His blindness was not caused by an accident or traumatic event. Secondly we are told that his blindness was also not the by-product of his or his parents’ sin. Instead, Jesus makes a bold declaration:

“Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in in him.”-John 9:3 

Jesus’ answer leads us to believe that there is more to be understood from this moment than God’s ability to restore sight to a blind man. After saying this, Jesus turns spits on the ground and makes clay from the mud and saliva. He then applies the muddy concoction to the man’s eyes. Why would Jesus apply mud over the eyes of someone who already could not see? Wouldn’t that make seeing even more difficult? Perhaps, Jesus was making a statement; that the man’s blindness was two fold, both physical and spiritual. 

After anointing both his eyes Jesus gives him some very specific directions:

“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”-John 9:7

Jesus told him to go, where to go, and what to do. Throughout the New Testament there is always an act or step of faith that accompanies every miracle. If this man had not went as he was told, had failed to wash, or had even gone to the wrong pool; he would have remained in darkness. 

The miracle that took place was transformational and recognizable:

“Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged? Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “ I am he.”-John 9:8-9

The impact on this man’s life was evident to everyone around him; even though they couldn’t explain it. Therefore, they brought him to the Pharisees and that is when things got spiritual! 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Living Water

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”-John 7:37-38

In John 7 we read that Jesus traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Shelters (Feast of Tabernacles). It is a festival of thanksgiving commemorating God’s guidance and kindness towards Israel while they wandered in the desert for 40 years. During this festival, the people would build temporary shelters made with branches and live in them to commemorate their wilderness wanderings.

One interesting part of the festival was the pouring out of water. The priests would take a golden pitcher, fill it up in the pool of Siloam, carry it to the Temple, and then pour it out on the altar as an offering to God. The people would recite Isaiah 12:3 as they proceeded together up the Temple Mount:

“Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

The water was symbolic of the water supplied by God to the people of Israel during their wilderness wanderings. In Exodus 17:2-6, Moses was instructed to strike the rock and from it flowed fresh waster to refresh God’s people. It was symbolic of God’s salvation.

Fast forward two thousand years to the times of Jesus. In John 7:14, we read that Jesus makes an appearance at the festival. People began to ask one another, if this could be the Messiah and according to John 7:26-31; many began to believe on Him. This ruffled the feathers of the religious leaders and they sent Temple guards to arrest him, however they returned without taking him into custody after hearing him speak

Then in John 7:37-39, on the last day of the feast, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and mad this declaration to the crowds:

“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in my may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.”

It is during this celebration, where water was used to symbolize God’s salvation, that Jesus makes this revelation to the crowds. Colossians 2:17 tells us that these feasts and festivals are only shadows of the reality yet to come and Christ Himself is that reality.

The Apostle Paul makes the connection clear for us in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

Jesus was the rock! Jesus was declaring, that just like the Rock in Rephidim; which the man of God struck and water flowed. So Jesus would be struck down and from Him would flow rivers of living water. Just like the water being poured out at the Temple, Jesus was poured out as a drink offering for us.

The Feast of Tabernacles was held, so that the people would never forget God’s power to save. It was a celebration of thanksgiving so that they would be reminded of the joy of their salvation.

Sometimes, however, that joy eludes us:

“Restore to me the joy of my salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”-Psalm 51:12.

King David recited these words after his moral failure with Bathsheba. He felt far from God and longed to drink from the wells of salvation once again. He felt distant because of his sinful choices, however God refreshed him and brought restoration to his life.

Perhaps you are reading this today and you have lost the joy of your salvation. I want to encourage you. God gave Moses and the people of Israel a well, but through Christ He has given us a river. May Jesus fill you with peace and refresh your spirit today!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

On the other side of two miracles!

“Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one He has sent.”-John 6:29

Jesus spoke these words shortly after performing two miraculous signs! The first miracle we read about in John 6:1-14 is the feeding of the multitude where Jesus took two fish and five barely loves and fed over 5,000 people:

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.”-John 6:10-11.

The second miracle that Jesus performed happened upon the Sea of Galilee, just hours after Jesus fed the multitudes. Jesus had gone off to a solitary place to pray. The disciples waited for him to return but when it appeared He would not come back they decided to return to Capernaum:

“They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified.”-John 6:19

When they had rowed out about three or four miles, strong winds caused the sea to become very rough and the waves began to beat upon the boat. At that moment the disciples saw Jesus walking towards them on the water. The disciples were terrified, but Jesus quickly calmed their fears and brought them safely to the other side.

Although these miracles are very different from each other, both of them work together to drive home an important point. The least common denominator in both these miracles is the presence of Jesus. Regardless of the situations we face whether it be hunger, nature, sickness, enemies, or ourselves; what we need more than anything is for Jesus to be with us.

When the people realized that Jesus and His disciples were gone, they boarded boats and came to Capernaum looking for Him. When they found Him they asked: “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus replied:

“I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.”-John 6:26

The people responded, “We want to perform God’s works too. What should we do? Jesus told them:

“This is the only work God wants from you; Believe in the one He has sent.”

What are you looking for in Jesus? Someone to fill your belly? Someone to keep you safe? Someone to get you out of trouble? Jesus came to save our souls, not buy us lunch! They were on the flip side of two miracles and still didn’t get the fact that He is the miracle! He is the answer for our souls!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church