How Much Longer? by Carla Sunberg

https://reflectingtheimage.blogspot.com/2021/03/how-much-longer.html

How Much Longer?

– 

Scripture:

Luke 9:37   On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39 Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astounded at the greatness of God. 

Observation:

Jesus comes down from the mountain with the three and is again met by a great crowd. What follows is not entirely clear, but a man shouts out from the crowd. Was this in desperation, or in anger that the disciples had not been able to heal, we do not now. We also do not know exactly who the “faithless and perverse generation” might be, but we can speculate. There were nine disciples who had not gone up on the mountain with Jesus and there is concern that they may not be developing the faith necessary to serve Jesus. The words of Jesus are a quote from the Old Testament where God is disappointed in the lack of faith among the Israelites; they had seen many miracles and yet did not believe. 

The question “How much longer?” lingers with us. It comes out of Jesus’ frustration with the disciples, the crowd, and even the father of the boy. While the people were astounded at the greatness of God, they should have been astounded long ago!

Application:

Sometimes I wonder about the Lord’s patience with all of us. That great sigh of “how much longer?” may come from him when he witnesses our lack of faith. Even when we have experienced the faithfulness of God in our lives, there are new mountains to climb and circumstances that may make us reflect very little faith. How easy it seems to be to forget what has been done in the past and somehow think that God has abandoned us in this moment. 

We are to be on this journey with Jesus, being formed into his disciples. I’m afraid that he may look at us and wonder whether we are really developing our faith or not. Where would I find myself? Would I be up on the mountain of transfiguration watching the identity of Christ being revealed, or down at the bottom of the mountain, trying to do ministry but failing miserably? I think that Jesus is calling all of his disciples to have mountain-top faith. This is what will carry them through the difficult days that lie ahead. 

Over and over again Jesus has been revealed to us. We have the privilege of having the Bible. Most Christians in the west have multiple copies and translations. How long do we have to keep reading until we develop the kind of faith that Jesus is looking for? We have the opportunity to go to church and participate in worship and small group study. We can watch all kinds of programs on television and the internet. Everything that we might want is at our disposal to grow spiritually and that just might be why Jesus would as, “How much longer?” 

We are supposed to live and respond in our daily lives like people of great faith. We’ve been given every opportunity that there is to know Christ and to grow in our faith. It really is up to us as to what we will do with that faith. 

Prayer:

Lord, Oh how I want to have the kind of faith that you want me to have. Please, help me to grow in you. Amen. 

Hope in Hopeless Circumstances

Pastor Lynn Yantz: Reach Out with the love of Christ!

Pastor Bob Cattane kindly allowed me to share this message at Flint New Life Church of the Nazarene. May you have hope today as you trust in Jesus Christ!
“Hope in Hopeless circumstances”
In the Old Testament, Genesis 1:1, God instructs Abram to leave his country and go where He will show him. Genesis 12:2, the Lord speaks to Abram, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you,..”  Abram left as God had told him to.  He obeyed in faith – not because of what he could see.  At the time God speaks, Abram was married to Sarai and they are childless.  Abram is 75 years old and she is 65 years old.

Some time goes by and in Genesis 15:3 Abram said, “You have given me no children…”  Abram has not seen God’s promise realized.  Most of us would likely start to doubt.  God reassures…

View original post 436 more words

Return to the Lord

Pastor Lynn Yantz: Reach Out with the love of Christ!

Hello!  I had the privilege of sharing this story about Joel with the congregation of Flint New Life Church of the Nazarene.  The mission of the church is: to introduce individuals to Christ, to equip them to be followers of Christ;  and to impact our community with God’s love.

Joel is a prophet in the OT.  Joel has a message from God to the people.  The message is : if the nation will repent and return to the Lord, God will restore His relationship with her and bless her.  The nation referred to is Judah.  This message is relevant to us today.

Joel 1:15
Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.  The day of the Lord – A day of greater trouble than yet they felt, troubles which God will heap upon them.

Joel 2:12-13
“Even now,” declares…

View original post 243 more words

This Lenten 2021 Fasting List Might Surprise You

Lent starts tomorrow. Great ideas from Pastor Rob Prince! He is straightforward and that’s how I like things 🙂 Hope it gives you food for thought.

Rob Prince's Blog

Usually in the season of Lent, Christians’ fast. We give up things like chocolate, Facebook or coffee. Little did we know mid-way through Lent 2020, we’d give up things far more important than sweets or soda. We stopped meeting together. Stopped seeing each other. Stopped so many things at the beginning days of the pandemic. We sat home on Easter Sunday. Thanks for nothing Covid-19! None of those things we stopped doing were on our fasting list on Ash Wednesday 2020. As we embark in a new season of Lent, maybe in our pandemic-fatigued minds we are thinking, “Lent 2021– Let me count the things I’d gladly give up.”

Let’s give up: masks, social distancing, Zoom meetings, on-line learning, hybrid school schedules, and all other things “Covid” for Lent 2021.

Not so fast (pun intended).

Obviously, we aren’t out of the Covid woods. We still have a few hurdles to…

View original post 260 more words

What can we do?

Pastor Lynn Yantz: Reach Out with the love of Christ!

Welcome friend!  I am here to share my journey as I learn to love, share and care for others.  Jesus has changed me and continues to change me.  During the most difficult time in my life. I found hope for the future in Jesus.  My mission is to share that hope and love to others in this hurting world.

I would like to hear about your ideas and experiences.  My question is:  What can we do to care for the hungry, broken and hopeless all around us?

View original post

Return to the Lord

Hello!  I had the privilege of sharing this story about Joel with the congregation of Flint New Life Church of the Nazarene.  The mission of the church is: to introduce individuals to Christ, to equip them to be followers of Christ;  and to impact our community with God’s love.

Joel is a prophet in the OT.  Joel has a message from God to the people.  The message is : if the nation will repent and return to the Lord, God will restore His relationship with her and bless her.  The nation referred to is Judah.  This message is relevant to us today.

Joel 1:15
Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.  The day of the Lord – A day of greater trouble than yet they felt, troubles which God will heap upon them.

Joel 2:12-13
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

The rending (or tearing) of the clothes was an expression of extraordinary uncontrollable emotion, chiefly of grief, of terror, or of horror. It is not mentioned as a part of ordinary mourning, but only upon some sudden overpowering grief, whether public or private.

And since it is your custom “to rend your garments” in sorrow, I command you to rend, not your clothes but your hearts – which means our hearts should be broken over our sin.

Return to the Lord your God – God is still their God, even though they had turned and were gone from Him in sin and were alienated from Him. The true, Unchangeable God said if they returned, they would find Him still “their God.”

God is “slow to anger” or “long-suffering,” enduring long the wickedness and rebellion of man, and waits patiently for the conversion and repentance of sinners.

God is ready to receive and forgive returning sinners and not execute the threatened and deserved evil.

God is patiently waiting for all to come to Him – but there will be a time when there is no more waiting.  The opportunity will be over.  Christ will come again!

Hope in Hopeless Circumstances

Pastor Bob Cattane kindly allowed me to share this message at Flint New Life Church of the Nazarene. May you have hope today as you trust in Jesus Christ!
“Hope in Hopeless circumstances”
In the Old Testament, Genesis 1:1, God instructs Abram to leave his country and go where He will show him. Genesis 12:2, the Lord speaks to Abram, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you,..”  Abram left as God had told him to.  He obeyed in faith – not because of what he could see.  At the time God speaks, Abram was married to Sarai and they are childless.  Abram is 75 years old and she is 65 years old.

Some time goes by and in Genesis 15:3 Abram said, “You have given me no children…”  Abram has not seen God’s promise realized.  Most of us would likely start to doubt.  God reassures him in Genesis 15:5, “Look up at the heavens and count the starts – if indeed you can count them.”  Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  Wow!

Genesis 15:6, Abram believed the Lord.

Many years go by and Abram is now 99  years old and Sarai is 89 years old. In Genesis 17:6  God said to him, “I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you and kings will come from you.”  God changed his name from Abram to Abraham – which means father of many.  In Genesis 17:16 God says about Sarai, “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.  I will bless her so that she will be the mother of many nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

In Genesis 21:1, “Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.  21:3, Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.”

In the New Testament in Romans 4:18, Paul writes, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Why does it say, against all hope?  Because when Abraham was 99 and Sarah 89 – they still had no son together.  Sarah was well past child-bearing age.  Abraham was an old man.

Other translations of the Bible make it more clear. “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping – believing” it states in The New Living Translation.
“Hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances, he believed.” This is from The International Standard Version
God’s Word Translation states, “When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hope and believed.”
The one I like best, Weymouth New Testament, Under utterly hopeless circumstances, he hopefully believed.

Are we familiar with hopeless circumstances? What did Abraham believe about them? He believed not in the circumstances and what he could see but he believed the promises of God!  God said it and he believed it.  The Bible is full of God’s promises to us.  They all for all who believe.  In Jeremiah 29:11, God promises, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Do you hear that?  God has great plans for you. Plans that are filled with HOPE.  We must put our full trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is FAITHFUL!!

What can we do?

Welcome friend!  I am here to share my journey as I learn to love, share and care for others.  Jesus has changed me and continues to change me.  During the most difficult time in my life. I found hope for the future in Jesus.  My mission is to share that hope and love to others in this hurting world.

I would like to hear about your ideas and experiences.  My question is:  What can we do to care for the hungry, broken and hopeless all around us?