Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN

    You call yourself a Christian

                         June 1, 2014

 

 

Mark 16:14-18 NKJV

 

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

 

The softening of Christianity in this present age is not unlike what we are experiencing in other cross sections of life. As we see the utter sacrificing of moral behaviors across the board, we also see what we can only explain as compromise bombarding the church disguised as social acceptance.

 

IF we are called by the name then we must be defined by the precepts of the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus did not come to establish flavors or as we call them, denominations...he came to set into stone a powerful church that would move mankind for Christ.

 

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, he did not come with a box of attaboys, but opened his dissertation with a rebuke for hardness of heart and unbelief. Then he proceeded to spell out what it would mean to be a believer....a Christian. The Christian life is not a social statement, but a life. It is not a badge, but a brand burned into our hearts and souls. It is the life commitment to call ourselves a Christian.

 

 

 

 

Never settle for normal.

 

 

Mark 11:20-24 NKJV

 

Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 

We do far too many things in this life expecting to see nothing after we do them. Many of us live life in a succession of “Hail Mary” passes. We pray, yet we do not believe in the power of that prayer. We pray to God and do not fully understand the greatness of that God to which we pray.

 

The term “normal” has, unfortunately, become the standard by which we operate. We have been told and programmed for so long that we strive to be normal that we have learned to accept it in everything we do. God’s intention for us in the beginning was to live a life that was anything but normal. With the fall in the Garden, our separation from God was felt by its condemnation to normality. Our perfect, deathless, existence suddenly fell victim to every other creature that was born onto this planet to get old, sick, and eventually die.

 

While we still walk in mortality, it is a mortality that is swallowed up by immortality (1Cor.15:54) in Christ Jesus.  We must begin to believe in total the dynamic of “on earth as it is in heaven”.  What we bless here is blessed, what we curse here is cursed...what we bind and release are bound and released.

 

 

 

Regularly entertain the impossible.

 

John 11:38-44 NKJV

 

Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”  Then they took away the stone from  the  place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”  Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

 

We all tend to shy away from the impossible.  We are too statistically driven. We check the odds before we pray. Why do we not pray and then defy the odds? Who is more powerful the mathematician....or our God?  Tackling the impossible is the business of God’s kingdom.  Jesus did not come here to take on the easy stuff. He went straight to the heart of the matter. Sickness unto death...Death....Man’s sin.....He overcame the impossible. We have His DNA.

 

Impossible is not impassible with God. With God...ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE (Matt.19:26) What ever happened to that??? Possibilities are God’s business. When we are about the business of carrying out his will, never underestimate the power of what God can and will do.

 

Jesus did not drop what he was doing to respond to the impossibility...in fact...he stood in defiance of the impossibility....waited four days. More so, he waited until decay had set in to the situation. He waited until the problem was further exacerbated by a stone blocked tomb and mummification. Never tell God that He can’t.  Hang out with the impossible...it makes the impossible nervous.

 

 

Always expect the miraculous.

 

Mark 5:35-43 NKJV

 

While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”  And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who  were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of  age. And they were overcome with great amazement. But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.

 

Jesus does not, jump when the devil says frog. He is not concerned that “the situation may have gone too far to save.”  Leslie and I have a mantra in life...”It’s NEVER too late for a resurrection.

As we join this story, Jesus has just passed through a pressing mob. There are people everywhere...when he feels anointing leave his body...He isolates it to a woman who has touched the hem of his robes and senses that this woman has come in faith for her healing. He was on his way to pray for a deathly sick girl; the preteen daughter of a Roman soldier named Jarius.  Jesus missed his chance...Jesus showed up too late....Jesus just has bad timing....Jesus needs to buy a watch.  No, Jesus operates in a supernatural economy in which time is not a significant element. He heals the woman with the issue of blood and proceeds to raise the young girl from the dead.

 

When we pray....we must believe what we pray for and we shall have it. (Mark 11:24)  If we nestle into powerless religion where all we expect is potluck dinners and a list of church rules and regs....we are condemned to a life of “the norm”.  We were never intended to simply be called Christian in name only....we were intended to be a breed of creature that changes situations wherever we go....and hell shudders when it hears our footsteps coming. ...for these are Christians.....these are the heritage of the Lord.

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