Comfort Zone

everything you ever need Step-Outside-Your-Comfort-ZoneBy The Mad Preacher! Rod Davis

John 5

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.

The reason why modern translations, like the NIV, removed certain verses that were in the KJV and other previous English translations, such as here in John 5:4 is this. It has to do with geres (pronounced “keh-ray”) and Ketiv (keh-teev). A qere (keh-ray) is a marginal note that scribes wrote into the text for a clearing meaning that later became scripture in the KJV and other older versions. Therefore, it was not used by the NIV translators and other newer translations. A ketiv (keh-teev) is the actual text itself.

One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

“Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”

When I read this narrative a question comes to mind; how long will we lay around the pool in self-pity and hopelessness, waiting for someone to help us get into the pool? I’m using the pool in this passage as a metaphor, a figure of speech. Don’t we know that the supernatural power of God is available to all followers of Jesus all of the time? Will we stand up and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit or lie around feeling down in the dumps and abandoned as we just wait for something to happen. We’re haunted by that universal question, “Why?”

Take note of this; off times miracles don’t happen until an action takes place on our part. Jesus told the paraplegic “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.” Do you think that the man would have been healed if he didn’t try to get up?

Imagine what the dialogue might have been like between the man and Jesus.

Jesus—“Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”

Invalid— “Well, I just can’t do that. I can’t get up. You see I’ve been laying on the mat for some 38 years. I’ve never been able to get up, let alone walk. I just can’t do what you say and I will, likely, never be able to pick up my mat and walk.”

That man would have eventually died; probably lying on that same old tattered mat, never experiencing the miraculous power of the Son of God. He would have never known what it was like to go on a journey or to walk to the synagogue, or the simple pleasures of walking to visit family and friends. He would have never been able to have a wife and children of his own, if he didn’t respond to Jesus’ words, “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”

We cannot get our breakthrough without some act of obedience on our part.

Jesus asked this man in verse 6, “Do you want to get well?” Let me rephrase that question. In light of your current circumstances, do you really want something in your life to change? I mean… really change? That’s a silly question, Rod. No wonder you’re called, “The Mad Preacher!” Is it a silly question? No! It’s a profound question because the reality is that many people who are caught up in sickness and despair would actually prefer to stay in their present situation. It’s called a comfort zone, a psychology term in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control. They prefer where they are despite how unpleasant it is because it’s known and familiar to them. They choose this rather than risking the possibilities of what would be involved in changing their circumstances.

Many don’t even have a hint of joy or happiness. It could be that the condition in the home where they grew up was anything but happy. Strife and heartache was the norm. Then, when they move out and have their own home, they seek to create the same atmosphere in their new home that was in the old. It’s all they ever knew. It’s their comfort zone. So they remain laying by the pool depressed and hopeless.

This is a very sad situation. Even more so when professing Christians are like this.

1 Peter 1:8-9 say, Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. The Greek word for “souls” here is not the word of spirit. It’s the word psuché (psoo-khay’) which we get the English word psychology (The scientific study of the human mind and mental states). Psuché refers to the vital breath, breath of life, the soul as the seat of affections and will, the self.

Have you ever felt like you were losing your mind? “the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” it the salvation of you mind. Romans 12:1 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The Greek word for “mind” means the same in English. It means the mind, reasoning faculty. It’s the God-given capacity of each person to think (reason).

I don’t know about you but my mind needs saving every day. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says,

3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do you want to spend the rest of your life lying on the same old matt, feeling hopeless with things remaining pretty much the statuesque? Maybe you’re in your comfort zone, resigned to an unhappy, unfulfilled life. There is deliverance awaiting your response. Don’t you think or feel like it’s time to “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”?

See a video of this message on YouTube at https://youtu.be/v1jDYZQNMdw

An Open Letter to a Blasphemer

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

godspeaks1

“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” — God (Exodus 20:7)

Once, while in a chat room looking for an opportunity to share the gospel, I was reading the comments of a young man who was talking about some “dumb” remarks given by a well-known model. In his comments he used the name of Jesus in a profane way. I wrote him the following:

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:3-4 NIV [1])

Hello John,

I read your bit about dumb models. I couldn’t agree with you more. People need to get their act together before they start making statements on TV about something of which they know nothing. There’s just one thing that you said that concerns me, and I would like to address it.

I mean no offence to you personally, John, but why must you use the name of Jesus in a profane way―as in an exclamation such as saying “Crap!”, “Damn!” or “Hell!” That has always seemed very strange to me. Why do people, who claim no allegiance to Jesus, insist on using his name like it was a swear word. If you must say the name of some religious figure as an expletive, why not say “Buddha!!!” or “Harrah Krishna!!!” or even say, “Ahhh… Mohammad!!!” or something like, “Rev. (blank-de-blank) Moon!!!” How about “Ahhh… Pope (blank-de-blank) Francis!!! or “Confucius dammit!” Doesn’t it strike you as a bit strange that people would use only the name of “Jesus” like it’s a cuss word but never use one of these other names?

Why is that, John? The Bible says in Philippians 2:5-11, “God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus is the only name of a religious leader that is used by our secular culture in such an offensive, disrespectful way. Yet the names of other famous religious figures are left untouched. In my over sixty-eight years I have never heard anyone exclaim, “Budda-on-a-crutch!!!” or “Awh-h-h-h…Mo (blank-de-blank) hammad!!!” Have you? Why, in our so called “enlightened” society is it considered politically incorrect and deeply frowned upon if someone were to besmirch the names of these other respected religious personalities but it’s okay to disrespect Jesus’ name and use it like profanity!

No, to the best of my memory I haven’t heard anyone use these other names that way. Yet I’ve heard the name of Jesus used in the most shameful ways ways I care not to repeat out of respect for my LORD. The list of profane uses of his name seemingly grows daily, as the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ continues to be defamed in new and creative ways. Why is that, John? Why is Jesus’ name chosen and not that of the others? Indeed, why did you use the name of Jesus as a swear word?

Many of today’s new parents pick a name for their new baby out a name book because it sounded good or they named it after a relative. However, in the ancient Middle East the name given a child had great significance. A name represented the parents’ hopes and aspirations for their child and often represented his or her purpose in life.

Jesus’ name means “Redeemer,” “Deliverer” and “Savior.” It literally means “the Lord is salvation”. Jesus name was representative of his mission in life. Jesus was to lay down his life for the sole purpose of saving humanity, delivering us from the tyranny of darkness and making the way open for us (for you, John) to know God personally. Jesus’ sacrificial death opened the only available door to a relationship with God. His resurrection soundly defeated the Devil by breaking his back and forever destroying the power Satan wielded in the lives of those who have repented and surrendered their wills to Jesus.

His name carries in its meaning all that Jesus is and all that he did for us. It’s no wonder that the Devil hates that Name and would influence people to ignorantly blaspheme it. That’s why he would choose that particular name to disrespect and not the names all the other religious icons.

Consider this; could the reason why so many clueless people pick the name of Jesus to degrade be a veiled and futile attempt to empty that name of its power and authority? Perhaps the name of Jesus makes them feel uncomfortable, because if Jesus is in fact all that his name implies then those who refuse to yield to the his Lordship would wish to devalue the message of the Gospel (which means good news!) by relegating the name of Jesus, and all his name represents, to nothing more than a swear word. Now John, I’m not saying that this was your intention but the resulting effect is the same.

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The ways offered by these other religious founders, although well meaning, are all bogus. They don’t provide the only way to God as Jesus claims he does. There’s no power to save, deliver and heal in those other names. In fact, all the others were looking for the way to truth and life, not knowing that it was Jesus that they were seeking.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Like I said, John, I mean no offense to you personally. Indeed, I mean no offence to those who follow the teachings of these men. However, I hope you’ll seriously consider what I’m sharing with you. Buddha, Harrah Krishna, Confucius, Mohammad and so many others were probably sincere men who meant well. However, “the name that is above every name” is the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. And when he returns in power and majesty, all those who rejected Jesus will wish they had called on his name for salvation rather than using it for a swear word. I sincerely hope that this won’t be you, John.

Very soon every knee, including those of these religious founders, will bow and every tongue, including your tongue, John, will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. If you don’t do it now, repent and commit your life to Jesus Christ, you will do it when He returns. Only then, it will be too late for you.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name (other than “Jesus”) under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Don’t wait until it’s too late, John. Please contact me if you would like to chat more about this all-important subject.

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

Where are the nails that pierced His hands?                                                                Well the nails have turned to rust But behold the Man                                                   He is risen                                                                                                                     And He reigns                                                                                                                   In the hearts of the children                                                                                        Rising up in His name

Where are the thorns that drew His blood?                                                                  Well, the thorns have turned to dust                                                                              But not so the love                                                                                                          He has given                                                                                                                   No, it remains                                                                                                                    In the hearts of the children                                                                                           Who will love while the nations rage [2]

*See a video version of the message on YouTube at https://youtu.be/KhHUMQLr4Hg

Look for new posts from The Mad Preacher on Saturdays. 

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

[2 ]While the Nations Rage by Rich Mullins from his album entitled, Songs. ©1996 Reunion

 

Amaziah Christians

doubleminded01   by Rod Davis

How would you like for God to bless everything you do? Silly question, isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want God to bless everything they do? But will God do that? Absolutely, but He expects something from us first.

In George Orwell’s book, entitled 1984, he describes a world not only bound in deception but also thriving on it. It’s a civilization not unlike our own. In it Orwell spoke of a language called “newspeak” where terms like “bad” were changed to something a bit more pleasant like “ungood.” Our society has adopted a similar language. Only we call it political correctness. For example, a person is no longer deaf he is called aurally challenged, and one who is blind is visually challenged. It all boils down to the same thing. It’s just said in a way that some think is less offensive.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it―he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)

We should be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that just because we’re a Christian we’re immune to deception. Sadly, Christians often fall under gross deception. James tells us in this passage how to decrease the chances of being deceived. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.” James said. “Do what it says.”

Orwell used another term called “Doublethink.” It’s the notion that one can equally embrace two separate belief systems, i.e. that one can believe one way, yet act another way. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A lot of us call ourselves Christians yet we live a life devoid of Christianity. I know this may sound a bit bizarre, but many of us “Christians” treat the Bible like it’s a spiritual smorgasbord. We want to pick and choose what we want to believe in the scriptures and, also, do the same when it comes to obeying God’s Word and, then, we still expect God to bless us. The Bible calls this being double-minded. It also calls it being deceived. James spoke of the effects of such an attitude earlier in this chapter.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:5-8)

To be double-minded (one who is guilty of doublethink) is to vacillate between two opinions. 2 Chronicles 25 speaks of a double-minded man named Amaziah who was king of Jerusalem. Verse 2 says, “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly.” God is searching for sold-out saints in the midst of a society of half-hearted church members. He’s looking for those who are willing to follow Him unconditionally without question or reservations. God is looking for servants who will finish the course and obey Him in all things.

“I believe that if there is one thing which pierces the Master’s heart with unutterable  grief it is not the  world’s iniquity but the church’s indifference.” – F. B. Meyer[1]

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it―he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

Are you an “Amaziah Christian”? Are you double-minded? Do you sort of follow God by sort of obeying Him? In other words, do you do what is right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly? If so, don’t expect God to bless what you do. God never has, and never will, bless disobedience. It’s the one requirement that James said was essential in order for a believer to be blessed in what he does.

Let me make something clear before I give the wrong impression. You must understand that I’m not talking about gaining God’s favor through good works. No, I’m not talking about works. I’m talking about fruit. Jesus said, “by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:20) Your level of obedience will reflect the integrity of your fruit—of your willingness to obey God. People will look at you and see the uncompromising relationship you have with our LORD, and they will want what you have.

“Have you ever noticed the difference in the Christian life between work and fruit? A machine can do work; only life can bear fruit.” – Andrew Murray[1]

 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (Colossians1:10)

Let’s all repent of being Amaziah Christians, shall we? Let’s get serious about reaching this fallen world for Christ. Then, and only then, will God bless all that we do.

“What our Lord said about cross-bearing and obedience is not in fine type. It is in bold print on the face of the contract.” – Vance Havner

I’ve got a Bible on the table, I’ve got 5 more on my shelf
I’ve got a head half full of knowledge far from what I’d call a wealth
But I know what I do know, better yet I know who knows me
And he’s given us directions and He’s throwing us the keys… [2]

1 Taken from Christian Quote of the Day ¾ Copyright 1999-2003. Retrieved April 26,May 2, 2004, from http://cqod.gospelcom.net/

2 Rubber Meets the Road by Steven Curtis Chapman from his Signs of Life album. ©1999 Sparrow Records