I’ve Been Told That Jesus Died For My Sins.
What does that mean exactly? How could the death of Jesus help me get to His Kingdom and Eternal Life? What does the death of Christ save me from?
Why do I need to believe in Jesus at all.
May I ask you
Do you think that people who commit moral crimes should get punished? yes or no
Have you ever done wrong things? yes or no
There is only one correct answer to both questions.
Ok we have just established that we both agree that bad people ought to be punished
and we have agreed that we both have done those bad things.
Ok this is not looking like a good picture for us am I right?
So we are under judgement and
we both know we are guilty
but just before the judge condemns the two of us in the dock he pauses
We both know we are guilty and we both know we deserve what we are going to get.
Then he asks us are we interested in a pardon?
At this point. If you know you are guilty you are much more open to an offer of forgiveness.
Accepting that forgiveness,
The Judge took off his robe and got in the dock and took our punishment for us . By shedding His blood on his torture stake, Jesus took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness. When we trust Christ for our salvation, essentially we are making a trade. By faith, we trade our sin and its accompanying death penalty for His righteousness and life.
so we can be set free; from Sin . We are not held to sin anymore.
Jesus is the only one who can solve the problem.
John 1:4 In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind.
1 Peter 2:23 And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
2 Corinthians 5:2 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Mark 15:34 By taking upon Himself the sins of the world, Jesus removed Himself from God’s holy presence, and God, in turn, removed Himself from His Son. It was a temporary but excruciating separation, for at that moment, the Son of God became Father-forsaken.
“‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”
That deep sense of loss of love and separation.
Jesus loses God for us. He doesn’t know if the father will come back? Father forsaken, eternal separation from God in unending torment. Everything he lived for, taken away from him.
Then God unleashed His wrath on His Son so that we might be spared that awful fate. This is the essence of the crucifixion and the reason for our hope: God forsook His Son so that He might never forsake us. God assures us, “‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” Hebrews 13:5.
Have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ as the substitute for your sin? Do you believe that Jesus died for you in order to give you eternal life and that He rose from the dead victorious over sin? If not, we encourage you to receive Jesus as your Savior right now. You can express your desire in a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins and rose again. I trust in You as my Savior now. Forgive me of my sins, and make me into the kind of person You would have me to be. Thank You for your gift of eternal life. Amen.
If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have eternal life. You can rest in that truth. The apostle John has written: “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” 1 John 5:11-12. When you have the Son of God, the Lord Jesus, you have eternal life.
Hebrews 9:22 As Moses’ Teachings tell us, blood was used to cleanse almost everything, because if no blood is shed, no sins can be forgiven.
For God to forgive our sins, His judgment had to be satisfied and that required the shedding of blood.
1 John 5:11 This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is found in his Son. 12 The person who has the Son has this life. The person who doesn’t have the Son of God doesn’t have this life.
Don’t Be Fooled.
Why take the risk to crash and burn?
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer.
Distractions, however you identify them in your own life, are dangerous precisely because
We lose the Awareness of Danger.
And also because they tend
to stupefy, to dull perception,
and to turn us from the important and precious priorities of our lives.
Sobriety isn’t dull or boring or religious; it’s sharp and focused and intentional.
And Jesus told us to get filled with the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 5:18 Also, do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but keep getting filled with spirit.
Since we do have a dangerous enemy it’s a good habit to begin each day the right way, set for action, prioritized for real life, undistracted
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Ask And You Shall Receive
John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name.
Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Gospel of Thomas verse 106 Jesus said, “When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, ‘Mountain, move from here!’ it will move.”
verse 48 Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move from here!’ and it will move.”
( Are we not the house, the temple?)
John 16:23 All things that you ask straightly, directly, from inside my name, you will be given. So far you have not done this.
(Because if we have asked with our voice we have not done this.)
24 Ask without hidden motive, and be surrounded by your answer, be enveloped by what you desire that your gladness be full.
Look at what it’s saying.
It’s not saying to speak a word, it’s saying be surrounded, to feel as if.
If you are surrounded you are feeling as if your answer has already happened.
Feel the feeling of what is it like as if that has already happened.
Because that is when your thought and emotion become one.
Say you think the thought of the healing in your loved ones and you feel the love of that thought. They become one and that is the language
that the divine recognizes.
Jesus was teaching those around him how to use the power of human emotion in his life.. To unleash the force of the divine in our lives. First we must understand how it works. Second We must speak the language that the Divine recognizes. When you create that feeling in your heart as if your prayer has already been answered.
Ask without hidden motive, Ask without the Judgement, without the ego. Ask for the quality and clarity of the feeling, To be surrounded, to be enveloped to create that feeling.
Ask from the Heart.
God Answers Prayers…That He Inspires!
Take Your Enemy By Surprise!
Matthew 5:39 But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too.
People read this verse, and think God is telling them to be passive — to overlook what happened. That is not a bad thing — but it isn’t exactly what Jesus was saying. Turning the other cheek is not about being passive. It’s about being active! So active that it actually confounds your enemy! Turning the other cheek is about taking an action so revolutionary, so shocking, so out of the ordinary that it shocks everyone around. It confounds the world — and can also change it!
Do you truly want to overcome evil? So stop sulking about it, stop dwelling on it and stop doing nothing about it! Take a most unexpected action of surprising love — because that is what Jesus did for us…..and it changed our lives, didn’t it?
Has someone hurt you or sinned against you? Those things happen and they always will because of our sinful human nature. But now — turn that into an action of love!
Let’s make a habit of surprising those who hurt us! It may radically change lives, especially our own!
You have Staying Power!
Proverbs 24:16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
People who offer care to others often encounter those whose past failures threaten to define them and hinder their development, healing, and sanctification. Our enemy capitalizes on our failures and regrets, pressing home the current influence of what we could have, would have, or should have done, if only we were wiser, more courageous, honest, or godly.
There is, however, an internal posture which is invincible against the pile of regrets and accusations the devil levels at us. It’s basis is the new foundation on which we stand and live:
the righteousness of Another,
a perfectly righteous and holy Savior, whose righteousness is imparted to us by repentance and faith.
Although Proverbs is from the Old Testament, its reference to the “righteous” carries exponential significance in light of the New Covenant. The LORD God clearly defines those who identify with Him as individuals who keep getting up, keep trying, keep pressing through, seven times over; It seems that true righteousness inspires perseverance.
You may have seen this in your own life.
Imperfection has been infused into our world since Eve. Our mortal bodies will not in this life cease to be prone to failure, stumbling and missing the mark, giving plenty of opportunity for regret, dejection or self-pity.
And while genuine mourning, godly sorrow, deep contrition, and pouring out our hearts to Him are blessed and appreciated by our compassionate Lord,
He does not leave us to abide in depression or defeat. In fact, He assures us that “All things work together for the good of those who love Him…”
Friends take note again of the source of your staying power.
You are a new creature, whose past or present failures cannot define your identity. God is faithful who will inspire and reward your persistence in pressing through even the most difficult challenges and circumstances, past or present. Only believe and press on. He is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding great joy.
Jude 1:24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy,
Feast Your Eyes On This!
Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Solomon wrote, “a merry heart has a continual feast!” But why does it seem like so many of us are not feasting? How do we maintain a merry heart?
Too often, we brood and complain over all the things we lack. Somehow we’ve come to believe that if good things would only come our way, we’d be truly happy. But it’s not good things that bring a merry heart – it’s living a life of wholehearted faith!
Paul said that he was content both in want and in plenty! Mathew Henry said, “Discontent is a sin that is its own punishment and makes men torment themselves; it makes the spirit sad, the body sick, and all the enjoyments sour; it is the heaviness of the heart and the rottenness of the bones.” A third-century man penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians–and I am one of them.”
Lord, help us not to focus on the worldly things we lack. Help us to master our souls and overcome the world. We want to be men and women of GREAT FAITH! Lord, you have come that Your joy would remain in us, and that our joy would remain FULL! Help us to experience the full joy you have for us today! In Jesus Name we pray!
Let’s begin feasting and filling our spiritual bellies with His Word! Let’s make our mouths to be filled with His praise! The joy of the Lord is our strength!
People Just Can’t Be Educated
Sometimes it takes a huge shock to their system to learn.
Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It creates a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance.
And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that does not fit in with that core belief.
you may find yourself in this situation stunned.
Just stick to the plan
Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward you,’ declares Yehovah, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you an expected end.
12 And you will call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’
We often develop strategies, game-plans, life-plans – and then, at some obstacle or critical point, we say – “Just stick to the plan!” It’s good advice coming from God.
Life is always sending unexpected surprises, but praise God, nothing takes Him by surprise. He’s the master planner. Our family might turn against us, our friends let us down, illness, afflictions, problems and “situations” on every side…God still has a plan, for you, and for me.
Do You Feel Used by God?
Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
While on the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him and directed him to go to Damascus. There, God spoke to Ananias of Saul and told to lay hands on this troubled man. Ananias did as he commanded and Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness and immediately baptized.
In another instance, while Cornelius was praying, God sent an angel to tell him “Go and find Peter and he shall tell you what you need to do.” Cornelius, along with his household and friends, did what he commanded, and God used Peter to bring them all into the Kingdom!
God could have easily brought both Saul and Cornelius into the Kingdom without the intervention of any believer – but that was not His plan. He used Ananias, Peter and countless others to finish what He had already started!
In the same way, God wants to include us in His plans! He has been speaking to people in our families, neighbors, friends and everywhere else we go! He has been drawing them gently and He wants us to be a part of their salvation!
God still speaks to his people, does he not? And we are his sheep and know His voice, do we not? Let’s use this time of stress and turmoil — as an opportunity to share the good news to a world that is ripe for harvest!
Hebrews 11:1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Who Can Endure It?
Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.
Joel 2:11 The Lord gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?
12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
In this prophetic passage, the critical question is immediately followed by the powerfully convicting answer. Joel prophesies the Day of the Lord, and asks, “Who can endure it?” The next word “therefore”, is followed by the prophet’s urgent counsel: “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning!” Real repentance — not some superficial, wimpy, “I’m sorry God”, but a deep, sorrowful, heart-wrenching cry with fasting, that this means business and recognizes the terrible danger ahead — is what is required.
I have to ask myself, how willing am I to enter into this depth of repentance in order to restore, or deepen my relationship with my Lord, or to cry out in identification with a dying world full of lost souls. Are my emotions and my soul willing to be passionately engaged with the grim reality in and around me? How does this affect my prayer life? or my attitude toward my sins? As I look at this world, I clearly see the Day of the Lord looming on the horizon. This prophecy may never be more applicable than it is now, in our very day.
Let’s take a serious account of things, and allow ourselves to be truly, profoundly moved by what we find. If, as the Lord told us, those that mourn are blessed, then let’s not shrink back from what we see in ourselves and in the world around us..”There is a time to mourn”…the Lord will be rejoicing. He is seeking those who will recognize and deeply repent of their sin…and He longs to forgive and restore us.
Holiness From The Inside Out!
1 Peter 2:5,9 You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Believers in Jesus the Messiah have all been inducted into a priesthood by the new birth, a New Covenant priesthood established by the Lord Himself, in the order of Melchizidek
Psalm 110:4 The Lord has taken an oath and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever, in the way Melchizedek was a priest.”
Hebrews 7:11 The people established the Levitical priesthood based on instructions they received. If the work of the Levitical priests had been perfect, we wouldn’t need to speak about another kind of priest. However, we speak about another kind of priest, a priest like Melchizedek, not a Levitical priest like Aaron.
While the Old Testament Levitical priesthood was limited exclusively to the sons of Aaron, all New Testament believers in Messiah are called a “Royal priesthood”
Exodus 28: 4 These are the clothes they will make: a breastplate, an ephod and the robe that is worn with it, another specially woven linen robe, the chief priest’s turban, and a cloth belt. They will make these holy clothes for your brother Aaron and his sons so that they can serve me as priests. 5 They must use gold, violet, purple, and bright red yarn, and fine linen.
It describes the exquisite beauty of the holy clothing to be worn by Aaron and his sons. Anyone beholding these men in full priestly dress would be struck with wonder and admiration at the beauty and significance of this majestic, bejeweled array of garments. The impression created by the Levitical priests and their sacred adornment could be likened to the New Covenant believer’s outward appearance, which should also be obvious to others; the beauty of good works, tenderheartedness, joyful countenance etc.
Yet there is another parallel, perhaps even more important: when dressing himself for his priestly ministry, the Levitical High Priest actually begins by donning his linen undergarments. These, of course, are invisible to others, yet are the garments closest to his body, and could be likened to his invisible inner life.
Jesus Sermon on the Mount speaks to this invisible area of human nature and its propensity to sin. We may appear quite religious and lovely outwardly, impressing others with cultivated behavior, and good deeds, while our “undergarments” are soiled and anything but holy. But, of course, the undergarments of the High Priest were also required to be holy, even though no one would ever see them.
Your outer life and behavior will reveal a great deal about you, as your face and actions reflect your heart, character and values. But the source of all that is visible in your life must correspond to that which is hidden…your “spiritual undergarments”; i.e. your inner life with the Lord. The holiness of God should permeate every facet of our lives, so what we walk out in public flows from our private communion with Him.
Your Blind Side Is Covered!
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
The Lord gave us His promise to send us a helper — the Holy Spirit. The word for “helper” in the NT Greek is “paraclete”. This word has more meaning then simply “helper” — it was also an ancient term used in warfare. When Greek warriors went onto the battle field, they went out in pairs, so when the enemy attacked they could stand back-to-back, covering each other’s blind side. The battle partner in Greek was called a “paraclete” — he was there to watch your back!
The Holy Spirit is more than our helper and comforter – He’s our battle partner who covers our blind side and protects our well being.
You’re not in this fight alone. The Lord has given you a ‘paraclete’ to go along with you. Don’t grieve Him – listen carefully – let Him lead as you fight the good fight of faith, and don’t worry about your blind side —
He’s got your back!
In the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Advocate (or Paraclete) that the Father will send after he is gone. The word in the original Greek text is parakletos: para = “beside” kalein = “to call” The New Testament translation of parakletos into English is often “advocate,” as in a lawyer who comes in defense of us. This is because John 14:15-31 focuses so much on Jesus’ new commandment to love as he loved. Other ways of translating the word could be “counselor,” “helper,” or “comforter.” The point is that we can turn to the Holy Spirit to call him to our side to be with us to teach us and help us love Jesus. So, as we try to live out Jesus’ new commandment to love one another as he loved us, we can turn to the Holy Spirit for help. We can turn to the Holy Spirit to comfort us. We can turn to the Holy Spirit to inspire us to teach us how to live as disciples in the world today. We are never alone in our journey of faith.
Praise God You Can’t Be Separated!
Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
One of His greatest promises to us is that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No tribulation or distress we might ever suffer can obliterate the power of His love to carry us through!
This tells me so clearly that I cannot read God’s love for me by my circumstances alone, and that’s often my greatest temptation: “How could a loving God allow this to happen to me?” But the Lord never promised we would escape hardship, persecution, poverty or danger — (in fact, He promised the opposite); the promise is that His love for us would be greater than any and all circumstances we might have to endure. Consider the life of Jesus. He went to the crucifixion and died an excruciating death — He didn’t escape difficulties — He experienced them more than anyone could ever imagine! So, allow His death to settle any questions you have about the love of God!
Don’t ever judge God’s love for you based on circumstances alone, but rather evaluate your circumstances from God’s point of view: Love. It’s His main motive for everything that happens to you.
You’re In The Hands Of The Good Shepherd!
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that does not fade away.
Joseph, the son of Jacob grew up caring for flocks, a shepherd boy,
Genesis 37:2 This is the account of Jacob and his descendants.
Joseph was a seventeen-year-old young man. He took care of the flocks with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. Joseph told his father about the bad things his brothers were doing.
While we might have a romantic view of an easy pastoral life among sheep and goats, the main responsibility of a shepherd was to protect the flock against hungry predators, wolves, lions, etc. looking for an easy meal, actually quite a dangerous job. The shepherd loved his sheep; and Joseph was a good shepherd.
Jesus came as a good shepherd to protect His flock against the enemy whose sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. Our Shepherd Messiah was ready to give His life to protect us. And He is still watching over us – He gave His lifeblood to protect us because He loves us and we are incalculably precious to Him, each one of us.
Do you know how precious and loved you are? How the Son of God exposed Himself to the ultimate danger because of His incalculable love for you? How He protects you from unseen danger every day of your life? We can rest in His protective love, no matter what happens, especially because where we’re going, there will never be danger again.
Be Great? Yes
Mark 9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Yet as believers, we often consider ambition to be a bad and worldly thing. But Jesus said, “He who would be greatest among you must be the servant of all.” So think about it … did Jesus say we shouldn’t desire greatness? No, to the contrary, He recognized desire and ambition for significance and accomplishment. He even affirmed them, and gave instruction how to direct these passions. But His perspective required an important reorientation.
something illuminating to share about this subject:
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (Excerpt from “The Weight of Glory”).
Lewis agrees with the Lord that desire and ambition should be intense, in the right expression, toward the right objective. Some people have great and passionate worldly desires and ambitions for wealth, power, fame, etc, and even these desires reveal an aspect of God’s image which every man carries, because God is great, with great desires, so those whom He created reflect this characteristic.
The critical element then, is not to kill desire, as for example Buddhist religion demands, but to sanctify it… How? Simply by yoking it to love for God and love for others, expressed by becoming a servant. Being great in God’s eyes comes from being great like Him, and in Him, who was the most exemplary servant ever.
Jesus said that true greatness is achieved in servanthood. In this light, ambition, passion, and desire, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit do not serve pride or vain glory, but are expressed in humility, servanthood, and self giving.
Jesus came from glory and lowered Himself from the heights of heaven, and so He taught us how to be great. The awesome paradox that the Son of God, entirely equal with the Father as His express image, became a flesh and blood human in order to die, is the quintessential act of loving servanthood. This qualified Him to receive the greatest Name above every name.
Perhaps you have been seeking to beat down your ambition, squelch your desire, and quench your unquenchable passions. Apart from being nearly impossible, short of becoming a self-flagellating monk, these energies ought rather to be redirected. Consecrate your passion, dedicate your desire, submit your ambition, by offering your body as a living sacrifice to God
Romans 12:1 Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. 2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.
His Holy Spirit will inspire your desire, fashion your passion, and condition your ambition, to bear the beautiful fruit of His Spirit for His Kingdom’s sake. The greatest in the Kingdom will be the servant of all! Be a servant of His love, His compassion, and His grace. Exemplify Godly ambition!
As Brothers Who Are Blinded – Open Their Eyes!
Genesis 42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
When Joseph became ruler over Egypt, his name was changed, and his identity was altered so that he no longer appeared or lived as a shepherd son of Israel from the land of Canaan, but as an Egyptian Prime Minister. The transformation was so thorough that when his ten brothers arrived in Egypt he was totally unrecognizable to them. This true story beautifully illustrates ( Jesus at His first coming) and contains a prophetic picture pointing to Jesus and His Jewish people living today as we approach the Second Coming.
Several details elaborate this amazing parallel. After Joseph was rejected by his brothers and sent to Egypt, his life naturally began to develop in the nation of his exile, including the learning of its language and culture. Constantly proving his capacity, responsibility, and leadership, Joseph was ultimately embraced by the Egyptians, exalted, and given an Egyptian bride (Asenath, daughter of the priest of On).
In like manner, the rejection of Jesus by the Jews of His day resulted in His becoming a light to the Gentiles, who rightly accepted and exalted Him so that in many ways He seemed to take on a Gentile identity and characteristics. As He betrothed Himself to this predominantly Gentile “Church” (with its Jewish roots), He ironically became virtually unrecognizable to His own Jewish people.
All the while, Jesus true nature, and identity remained, even as Joseph’s did.
But through these parallels we can begin to understand the portent of Joseph’s experience with his brothers; weeping bitterly when he first recognized them; then, carefully arranging the circumstances which would bring them to repentance, and finally, removing the Egyptians, for the dramatic revelation of his true identity to his brothers, the sons of Jacob. Likewise, Jesus, weeping over His Jewish brothers, finally gathers them back into the Promised Land, begins to arrange the circumstances which will bring them to repentance, so that finally at some final private revelation,”they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him” in amazed gratitude.
Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out the Spirit of blessing and mercy on David’s family and on those who live in Jerusalem. They will look at me, whom they have stabbed. Then they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they will cry bitterly for him as one cries for a firstborn son.
God, Himself, working behind the scenes, has allowed Satan to do his blinding work on Israel, for a season, while gathering the Gentiles into His fold. But this season is ending. The mystery of Israel’s blindness is being broadly revealed, prompting the prayers of millions of Gentile believers, and their love for Jesus and His Jewish brethren is making Israel jealous; so the veil is being removed from Jewish eyes, just as it was from Joseph’s brothers.
Romans 11:25 For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness;
And what is our part? To understand the times and seasons in which we live, to pray and labor for both the fullness of the Gentiles and the spiritual revival of Israel which will usher in the coming of Messiah and life from the dead! Through the story of Joseph and the prophetic revelation of both Testaments, we know that all Israel will be saved, with the fullness of the Gentiles. Since much of the world is still blinded to Messiah, we need to make the most of every opportunity to open blind eyes, Jewish or Gentile.
Let us reveal Jesus to the entire world, especially reaching those whom the Lord has placed in our lives. Every time Jesus is truly revealed, another one of “Joseph’s brothers” can weep with joy, gratitude, and amazement, that a humble Suffering Servant is also a great and glorious King!
Seek Him Now, And Don’t Forget About The Restoration!
Deuteronomy 4:30 When you’re in distress and all these things happen to you, then you will finally come back to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 The Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not abandon you, destroy you, or forget the promise to your ancestors that he swore he would keep.
We’re hearing a lot of talk lately, on the internet and elsewhere, about the “End of Days”. The Hebrew phrase, “acharit hayamim”, often translated, “latter days” refers to the “end of days, or “last days”, mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, and refers to a critical period late in human history which is characterized by a great “pandemic” crisis and an ensuing panoramic recovery.
First used in Deuteronomy 4:30, quoted above, “acharit hayamim” entails a prophecy of “tribulation” which eventuates in God’s people turning back to seek Him with all their hearts, bringing about their restoration.
This theme of “tribulation” and “restoration” may be the most significant in all of scripture. The above passage, written to the people of Israel, prophetically encompasses their entire history and eventual recovery, salvation and Kingdom restoration.
At the present moment, we may well be focused on the “tribulation” part of “acharit hayamim”. Jesus prophesied specifically that famines, pestilences, and earthquakes would precede His coming, and were but the “beginnings of sorrows” Matthew 24.
At this very moment many of us may be trembling at these developments and the “doom and gloom” which they portend…yet might we miss the significant fact that both testaments predicted exactly what we are seeing? The sovereignty, omniscience, and revelation of the Creator have been downloaded to humanity through the Scriptures, clearly pointing to His existence and redemptive purpose.
There lies our opportunity and blessing. Jesus, who knows all things from the beginning to the end, revealed all the relevant details of the “acharit hayamim” (Last Days). Why?… so that we might quake in terror as they begin to transpire? But He says, “…likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”
Matthew 24:33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the door….the promise of His return!
That is where our focus must remain. Our God will restore all things, both for Israel, and for us according to the covenants He has made….when He returns! Restoration is the unequivocal promise of Heaven. The “tribulation”, “beginning of sorrows”, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, WHATEVER!…. All these are signs, portents, and even promises, that our God is real, true, and utterly faithful, and we must declare, encourage, and stand in the knowledge of Him. The troubles themselves are a powerful testimony of Messiah’s identity, His redemption, and His promises. So, if the days are evil, make the most of the time! These are days of tremendous opportunity. Remember His promise of restoration!
Sharpen Your Ax!
Ecclesiastes 10:10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.
The sharper the ax the less effort and energy required for the task.
I see a lesson here. How many of us are exerting so much energy for the Kingdom, but are working with dull axes? We need to sharpen our spiritual lives, get focused in prayer, and spend deep time in the Word. Then, when we are “out in the woods”, working for the Kingdom our effectiveness will be greatly multiplied because our axes are sharp!
Don’t get so busy that your ax becomes dull. Remember that your devotion to the Lord and His word will sharpen your spiritual life, especially before you start the day. Prioritize your devotional life and watch how your “edge” will cut through the problems, obstacles, and difficult situations, like a hot knife through butter!
“When Jesus began a parable—as he so often did—with ‘the reign of God is like . . .’ he was surely engaging people’s imaginations, inviting them to begin with their own reality in spirit, faith and belief and to imagine from there their way forward into the reign of God. In our era, when people find ‘reasoning’ less persuasive, engaging their imaginations is a crucial strategy for educating in faith.
Yehovah God My Rock
The Rock Becomes A Mountain
Daniel 2:35 The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.
Isaiah 2:2 In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
The Lord Jesus Christ is that rock which comes from God and crushes all the kingdoms of the earth and fills the whole earth. This was a messianic prophecy, the first of many of Daniels. God chose the current king to reveal what he was doing in the earth.
For the kingdom of Jesus Christ which is continuously and increasingly filling the whole earth.
From The Pit To Rule!
Ephesians 2:6 God has brought us back to life together with Christ Jesus and has given us a position in heaven with him.
When Joseph was thrown into prison, his life was thought to be over. How could anyone escape an Egyptian prison? But then, in one day, according to God’s perfect timing, he was instantly promoted to reign over all Egypt with only the Pharoah, (“god on earth”) as his Lord. Could there be a transformation more sudden, astounding and dramatic! So it was for Jesus , suffering to death for our sins, but then, on one day, supernaturally resurrected and now seated at the right hand of the Father (God in Heaven). Such an amazing parallel!
Now we need to come fully to this realization: that the moment we came to faith in Jesus, the Father instantly and supernaturally delivered us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son He loves. In one moment we were regenerated as sons and daughters of the Most High and spiritually seated with Him in heavenly places. Even as we remain in our flesh awaiting our incorruptible bodies, our Spirit has been born into a Holy Family and a Royal Priesthood.
So, we are called to be overcomers; to war and to win, to exercise authority in Jesus name…
But are you still “in the pit”? Then please take this realization to heart: the resurrection life of Jesus remains within you, enabling you to endure. And that too, is a kind of victory. As you submit to His discipline in faith, your day will come to exercise greater authority in His Name, just as it did for Joseph. He patiently endured his trial of faith, and was raised up; so you also can, through Jesus indwelling Presence, arrive at a new day of release and victory…maybe tomorrow, maybe even today! Amen.
Excuse Me, Could You Direct Me To The Promised Land?
ISAIAH 43:19 ~ “See, I am doing a new thing; now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
It is among popular “Christian” belief that an abundance of material and other blessings follow those whose hearts are truly after God and that those who seem to consistently struggle to that end, cannot possibly be in God’s perfect will. I want to submit to you a realization I had about this very thing. I think we might have it all backwards.
Almost all the great men of faith I’ve read about in the Bible had to spend some time in the wilderness. Abraham, Moses, John the Baptiser,
Isaiah just to name a few.
God had to make them desperate. He had to cause them to be quiet and undistracted enough to hear His still, small voice. He had to make them hungry and thirsty enough to cry out for a miracle, a divine intervention
Some of us are walking through the desert right now. It’s hot by day — there is only rugged, thorny, sandy terrain for miles and miles and there seems no end. By night, the wind is unbearably cold and we stumble over things we can barely see. Snakes and scorpions live here. It seems like a lonely place.
But this is actually a place of blessing! It is for our growth, and ultimately for our prosperity that God has brought us here! Like it or not, the wilderness is where He can speak to us most effectively. It is the place He can most easily get our attention. It is the place we will cry out to God and truly listen for His voice.
Know that God is with you today! He is walking along with us through this wilderness and longing to comfort us! Let’s cry out to Him and heed His voice! The promised land awaits!
The Spirit Of God
Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
31 May 2020
The festival of Pentecost celebrates
the coming of the Holy Spirit 40 days after Jesus Christ has risen.
commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks.
Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish holiday held 50 days after Passover.
Be Endued With Power From On High!
Luke 24:49 So I am sending My Father’s promise to you. Stay in the city until you receive it—until power from heaven comes upon you.
As the day of Pentecost came, we’re reminded of how God endued those in the Upper Room with power from on high! They waited – and waited – and waited, for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. They didn’t go forth proclaiming the gospel UNTIL they were filled with power from heaven. I believe as they were in prayer in the upper room, God was revealing different sins in their lives that He wanted them to deal with, so that He could fill them to overflowing. The Lord did not want these brothers just to be faucets but rather, conduits of his power!
Let’s spend time today making sure all the obstructions are cleared — so that we can be the spirit-filled Brothers God has called us to be in these last days! There’s so much work to be done — but let’s be sure we’re doing the work, fully endued with Power from on High!
The Power of GOD Is Coming
The Two Witnesses.
Revelation 11:3 I will authorize my two witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days dressed in sackcloth, the clothes that mourners wear.
Who are the two witnesses?
If we want to discover who the 2 witnesses are and what they are
11:4 These two witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands standing in front of the Lord of the earth.
Discover what the 2 olive trees are and the 2 lampstands are.
Zechariah 4: 2 He asked me, “What do you see?”
I replied, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top. The lampstand also has seven lamps at the top with seven spouts for each of the lamps. 3 There are also two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”
Zechariah 4:11 Next I asked the messenger, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the menorah?” 12 Before he could reply I asked again, “What are these two extensions of the olive trees, which are emptying out the golden oil through the two golden pipes?” 13 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” And I said, “No, sir.” 14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
So two anointed ones. Anointed to serve the Lord of all the Earth. Now we know the two olive trees represent two who are anointed, so there are two either people or two groups of people who are anointed who serve the Lord.
Does an olive tree in the bible refer to one person or does it represent a group?
Jeremiah 11:15 “Judah is the one I love, but why is she in my temple?
She has done too many evil things.
Judah, do you think vows and sacrifices will keep you from being destroyed?
Will I then allow you to enjoy your evil ways?”
The Lord gave you a name.
He called you, “A green olive tree, beautiful to look at.”
But with a powerful storm, he will set that tree on fire,
and its branches will be burned up.
Who did he call an olive tree. The Jewish people.
And if they are not going to repent those representing an olive tree will get their branches broken and burned off.
Is there any reference to an olive tree in the new testament?
The Salvation Of The Gentiles
Romans 11:13 I am speaking now to you Gentiles: As long as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I will take pride in my work.
11:17 Some of the branches of the cultivated olive tree have been broken off, and a branch of a wild olive tree has been joined to it. You Gentiles are like that wild olive tree, and now you share the strong spiritual life of the Jews. 18 So then, you must not despise those who were broken off like branches. How can you be proud? You are just a branch; you don’t support the roots—the roots support you.
19 But you will say, “Yes, but the branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because they did not believe, while you remain in place because you do believe. But do not be proud of it; instead, be afraid. 21 God did not spare the Jews, who are like natural branches; do you think he will spare you?
Because of faith in Christ We have become God’s people. We are included in God’s people. We are not Jews by ancestry perhaps but because of faith in Christ.
So Paul here is saying that Yes the Jew’s are an Olive tree. But certain branches have been broken off because they did not hear the voice of God and did not believe in the man sent, the Christ.
Now God has built up this other olive tree that he is also going to use to serve him and he says you as the gentiles are also part of the olive tree
Romans 11:17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
Gentiles are now also part of the olive tree. God says don’t be arrogrant. Just because you have become an olive tree doesn’t mean God is going to throw the Jewish Nation away. Just because you have faith in Christ and you have now become an olive tree that does not mean the olive tree of the Jewish people will be done away with, the moment the Jewish people come to Christ these natural people, They will be grafted into their own olive tree.
Romans 11:24 The Jews are like this cultivated tree; and it will be much easier for God to join these broken-off branches to their own tree again.
Believers in faith, We who are not Jewish by ancestry. We have become a part of this olive tree.
How many olive trees is that?
Two.The two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.
Romans 11:25 For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness;
Says that before the Return of Jesus, the Holy Spirit Power of God will reign upon the earth through his two witnesses.
Plagues will come, water will turn to blood, authority to shut up the sky and all this will be done to show the world that Jesus is Real and he is on the way.
Revelation 11:4 Says that the two witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lampstands.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We see in Revelations 1 there is a mention of lampstands and this is going to give us more clarity because Revelation 1 is within the book of the verse we are trying to understand.
Here in Revelation 1:12 I turned around to see who was talking to me, and I saw seven gold lampstands,
and in John, John is seeing Christ. He is seeing a vision of Christ and when he looks at Jesus look at what it says. I turned around to see who was talking to me, and I saw seven gold lampstands,
and here the Angel gives the interpretation of what these 7 golden lampstands mean.
Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars that you see in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
And there you have it, the lampstands are what? Churches.
So this is why Jesus said Let your lamp shine. Why is that? because as a lamp you are the body of Christ.
Illuminating his light throughout the world and when he refers to lampstands he is talking about the churches. He’s talking about his body people who represent him so understanding that lamp stands is a symbol for churches.
Now we understand why it says in Revelation for that the two lampstands are what?
The two witnesses
So Prepare For God’s Power
The Two Lampstands
The olive tree in the Scripture signifies Israel.
The “witness of the Church” is signified by the two lampstands, whose identity was disclosed by the seven golden lampstands revealed in Revelation 2-3 as the “churches.” Revelation 2:1 refers to the churches as golden lampstands.
Out of the Seven, Five were counted as idolatrous only two Smyrna and
Philadelphia were counted as Worthy.
Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
Revelation 2:8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write the following:
“This is the solemn pronouncement of the one who is the first and the last, the one who was dead, but came to life: 9 ‘I know the distress you are suffering and your poverty (but you are rich). I also know the slander against you by those who call themselves Jews and really are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself. 11 The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will in no way be harmed by the second death.’
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I Will Bless Those Who Bless Israel.
Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you;
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
Genesis 49:10 A scepter will never depart from Judah
nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet
until Shiloh comes
and the people obey him.
Joel 3:1“In those days and at that time,
I will bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem.
I will gather all the nations.
I will bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
I will judge them there.”
John 4:22 You don’t know what you’re worshiping. We Jews know what we’re worshiping, because salvation comes from the Jews.
God does not change.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord—I do not change. That is why you are not already utterly destroyed, for my mercy endures forever.
One of the first promises in the Bible is given to Abram, whom God appointed to be a blessing to the whole earth. Not only did God tell this patriarch that he would receive a good land and have many children, but He also promised Abram,
Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse”
That’s an incredible promise, isn’t it? God will favor those who favor Abram and set Himself against those who oppose Abram.
Like me, you probably want God’s blessing and favor on your life. This verse gives us the secret to obtaining that blessing.
We just need to bless Abram.
Abram, later renamed Abraham, died some four thousand years ago. So, one might think that it is no longer possible to bless him. That is not the case. The promise to Abraham was passed down through his son Isaac to his grandson Jacob (Gen. 27:1–29). Jacob, of course, was renamed Israel, his sons being the founding fathers of the tribes of Israel. So, the promise of Abraham passed on to Israel as well Numbers 24:9 He crouched, he lay down like a lion
and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed are those who bless you,
and cursed are those who curse you.”
So, God is going to bless those who bless Abraham, which means He is going to bless those who bless Israel. And this promise was never withdrawn. It must come to pass, which means it is still in force today. But does the Israel of God exist today?
From a biblical perspective, the Israel of God does still exist. But here is where things get perhaps a little tricky, for in today’s world there is a nation-state named Israel that is occupying much of the geography that the Old Testament refers to as the promised land. So, this must mean that if we want God’s blessing, we have to do good to the modern nation of Israel by supporting everything that nation does, right?
Not exactly. You see, the Bible is also clear that the Israel of God is not any modern nation-state and that it is not made up of one people group. The Israel of God is Jesus Christ and all those who are united to Him by faith alone. Referring to the young Jesus’ return to the promised land after the death of Herod the Great, Matthew quotes the prophet Hosea, who said “Out of Egypt I called my son”
Matt. 2:15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
This quote comes from Hosea 11:1, where Hosea is referring to the nation of Israel. Essentially, Matthew is saying that the true son of God named Israel is none other than Jesus the Messiah. Similarly, in John 15:1, Jesus says, “I am the true vine.” Jesus’ point is clear:
because He is the true vine,
He is the true Israel of God.
But the Israel of God is not Jesus alone. It’s also all those who trust in Him alone for salvation. Turning to Romans 11, we find the Apostle Paul explaining why so many Jews—Israel according to the flesh—do not believe Jesus is the Messiah while so many gentiles do. Paul likens Israel, the people of God, to an olive tree and notes that those who are part of the tree by birth—the natural branches, the Jews—can be broken off by their unbelief in Christ, and those who were not part of the tree by birth—wild branches of a different tree, the gentiles—can be grafted in to the olive tree of Israel and become part of that tree. Faith in Christ, then, is what makes a person a member of the Israel of God, not mere ethnic descent. Paul confirms this elsewhere in Galatians 6:15 where he calls the Galatian church—made up predominantly of gentiles who believed in Jesus—as The Israel of God. The true Israel of God, then, consists of Christ and all the Jews and gentiles who believe in Him.
Galatians 6:15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Blessing the Israel of God, therefore, does not mean supporting every policy of the modern nation-state of Israel. There may be good political reasons to support many of the modern nation-state’s policies,
but Genesis 12:3 does not provide a theological reason to do so. And of course, Christians are called to do good to all people and to take the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Blessing the Israel of God means, in this new covenant era, blessing the church of Christ—supporting its work, doing good to its people, striving for its peace and purity. God will bless those who bless His people, the church.
The whole journey of the Bible, The Word leads us to this point.
You’re Chosen For A Task!
But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
As we continue our study of Jesus Christ, we observe that both Joseph and Jesus were chosen or “anointed” for a special task. When Jacob gifted his son Joseph with a coat of many colors, lifting him up above his brothers, he reflected Joseph’s calling by the Lord for a life work as a leader.
The preparation for this role was grueling. Joseph endured the fires of testing, sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and seemingly abandoned by God he must have wondered to himself, “Why is this happening?” It seems clear from hindsight that Joseph was learning the deep humility required for God’s kind of leadership. We also see the humility of the Son of God in His Incarnation and crucifixion. (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) So as Joseph saved the whole world from physical death by starvation, Jesus saved the whole world from spiritual death, the judgment of sin.
If you have seen signs of your own anointing for a specific task, and find yourself in the midst of painful “unexplainable” Trials and Tribulations, you’re in good company. God gives responsibility to people of character. Both Joseph and Jesus are beautiful examples of the kind of leader God loves–a humble one.
You’ve Been Freed To Worship!
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Recovering Jesus’ Vision.
For two thousand years countless people around the world viewed reality through a Christian lens that endowed their lives with meaning, purpose, and coherence. Today, in an era of unprecedented secularization, many have ceased to find meaning not only in Christianity but in life in general.
The Bible, The Word offers an
analysis of this crisis of meaning, to shed light on the connections among the disintegration of the Christian worldview, religious disaffiliation, and a growing mental health epidemic to transform the way we teach about faith and make sense of the world, that Jesus’ invitation to a fuller, more meaningful life. seeking to re-engage people who have drifted away from the faith or to support young people suffering from existential anxiety, and anyone in search of deeper meaning in their religious traditions or in their own lives.
“When Jesus began a parable—as he so often did—with ‘the reign of God is like . . .’ he was surely engaging people’s imaginations, inviting them to begin with their own reality in spirit, faith and belief and to imagine from there their way forward into the reign of God. In our era, when people find ‘reasoning’ less persuasive, engaging their imaginations is a crucial strategy for educating in faith.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Be Careful Of Sowing Discord!
Proverbs 6:16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and someone who stirs up trouble among friends..
“One that sows discord among brothers” is an Abomination to God.
It’s an amazing passage that is often overlooked when considering offenses which God hates.
The events presently taking place around the world are causing more discord among people than I’ve seen in my lifetime. And while it’s understandable that people in the world are cracking and conflicted under pressure, it’s even more troubling that this fracturing and division seems to be affecting the body of Messiah as well.
Of course, everyone vehemently believes he’s on GOD’S side of the argument. It would seem to be crystal clear that, as the Apostle Paul states, the Gospel is “to the Jew first”. And how could anyone dispute that it was always the heart of God to reach the Jewish people with the Gospel. Paul even said he could wish himself to be accursed if only His people Jewish people might be saved. And we should absolutely share that passion with him.
But what counsel might we offer in a situation like this one? Apart from the details of the argument, and the passions on either side of it, I believe we need to follow Paul’s instruction to Timothy: “The servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents in gentleness … that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the enemy.”
It’s an attitude; not so much the “words”, but “the music”, the tone of the discussion, the way we “argue”. Because, while there will always be disagreements and controversies among us, discord, and those who sow it are walking in the flesh, the sinful nature, a self-righteous and belligerent attitude, which is an abomination to our Lord. As passionate as we may be over an issue, we ought to remember that it’s so easy to get in the flesh and sow discord among our brothers and sisters. But it’s one of the things God hates, so keep it in mind.
Behold The God Of Bread and War!
BREAD, FIGHT, and WAR.
Exodus 14:14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
and Moses and Miriam’s victory song in Exodus 15 exults, YHVH is a man of war,
Further on in Exodus 16, we read that God provided bread from heaven!
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
revealing Jesus identity as our bread of life;
then, Revelation 19:11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.
revealing a Rider who wages war
Know that the Lord has you covered in every way! He is the one who FIGHTS for you, and the one who PROVIDES for your every need. The connection between these two words Bread and War can be no accident when we realize that the Living Word Himself gave them as a testimony to these essential aspects of His love and care for us.
Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread,
Do Not Fear Them!
Numbers 14:9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”
When the twelve spies were sent out by Moses into the land of Canaan, ten came back with a bad report. Joshua and Caleb, however, returned with a good report, saying in essence, “If God is for us — then who can be against us?” The two courageous spies expressed their confidence in a way that was quite positive: “Do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us.”
Now recall the “literal” connection in Hebrew between BREAD, FIGHT, and WAR. Joshua and Caleb were using the Hebrew language to utterly assure the Israelites of YHVH’s power to give them victory in battle.
Whether they grasped this linguistic encouragement and the spirit behind it or not, the Israelites allowed fear to paralyze them — and ended up sacrificing an entire generation 40 years in the wilderness. Let’s not make the same mistake, but rather, listen to the clues of the faithful. There is almost a lightheartedness in the language and attitude of those who really trust their God. Fear is alien to them. “Our enemies are our ‘bread’ and the “war” has already been won!”
The nations rage, the rulers take counsel together against YHVH and against His Messiah. YHVH sits in the Heavens and laughs, before He derides, vexes, and finally dashes them to pieces. Psalm 2 If we’re walking closely with Him there is an authority in our faith because “the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 God has truly provided in every way — our substance, our victory, and our protection. So, do not fear them.
Keep Your Clothes!
Revelation 16:15 “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”
This unique passage in Revelation has a warning and a blessing.
The first part of this verse was a warning about the suddenness of the Lord’s return as He is coming as a thief to the world not anticipating His return.
The second part of this passage was in reference to the duties of the priesthood in the days of the Temple. The Levities were in charge of keeping the Temple holy, day and night.
Throughout the evening, the captain of the guard would make his rounds to make sure that those who were assigned watched attentively so that no one would defile the Temple during the night. If a watchman was found sleeping, he was beaten and his garments were set on fire so that he had to return home naked in his shame!
It’s hard to imagine any believer sleeping at this hour! We are seeing events unfold with such clarity, there is a sense of urgency as the days grow darker. Let us seize this time, and recognize the great opportunity we have to share the bible to a world more ready to receive it. To even the most hardened person … they can clearly see that the world has radically changed in ways like never before.
You are one of today’s watchmen! As the world gets darker … continue to shine His light — in His love, for you shall truly reap if you faint not! So be blessed … as you continue your watch!
Luke 12:35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,
We Are The Firstfruits Of Creation!
Leviticus 23:10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
This season of the Resurrection also occurs during a significant Old Testament feast day, the feast of “Firstfruits” Hebrew, “bikoreem”. When Jesus rose from the dead he was the firstfruit of the resurrection. On that day the keys of Death and Hades were obtained by our Lord.
The apostle Paul connected the resurrection with the feast of Firstfruits in his letter to the congregation at Corinith. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane that all the disciples had fled in terror because of their connection with Jesus. Yet not much later they experienced an astounding transformation which empowered them to preach the bible fearlessly and face all kinds of suffering and martyrdom. What inspired this transformation? The resurrection… the living, breathing Lord who appeared to them in a glorious resurrected body. No longer were they concerned about this life, having experienced the reality that death’s power had been absolutely overcome and there was nothing remaining in this world to threaten or shake their complete confidence in Eternal Life.
The letter of James identifies believers in Jesus as “a kind of firstfruits of all He created”;
James 1:18 Through our faith In the Lord’s resurrection, we have received His Holy Spirit and gained His resurrection life and power. It is a power over the fear of death, an overcoming power which enables us to endure and triumph over every kind of threat, problem, affliction, every trial or test involving suffering, pain, even the greatest anguish this life can bring. It’s the same power that filled the Lord’s disciples and transformed them from terrified men into fearless witnesses.
We are no longer bound by the circumstances of our lives – but, as “firstfruits” who share in the resurrection life of our Lord, are empowered to endure, be transformed by, and ultimately overcome everything we face. Paul exults in this wondrous triumph, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And then he offers this exhortation, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
We are the “bikoreem”, the “firstfruits” of the resurrection and we are no longer bound by the troubles and problems of this world. We can “count them all joy” as “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” we know that our labor is not in vain!
Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment!
Matthew 18:32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
In the parable of the unmerciful servant, the servant mistakenly thought that he could demand justice from another servant all the while asking mercy for himself from the king. When the king found out about this servant’s awful behavior, he became enraged and said to him “You wicked servant, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to; couldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” He then went on to hand the servant over to the tormentors. Jesus closes this parable by saying that this is how our Heavenly Father will treat each of us unless we forgive our brother from our heart.” But God will not put up with us desiring mercy for ourselves, while we lack forgiveness for others and desire judgment upon them.
It’s natural for us to desire judgment upon those who continually wrong us. But we, as believers, have to remember that judgment against others is God’s privilege alone. We are not to judge or wish judgment upon others. We are to pray for God’s mercy upon them in salvation.
Has someone offended or hurt you today? Let’s choose to forgive and pass over those offenses — for truly blessed is the man who overlooks an offense! Proverbs 19:11
Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense without seeking revenge and harboring resentment.
Once We start to open up this parable told by Jesus, we discover the truth that forgiveness is actually an act of mercy toward ourselves, instead of an act of mercy toward the one who has hurt us.
We see forgiveness as letting someone who has wronged us off the hook, when really, forgiveness lets us off the hook. No one has to deal with the inner turmoil and torture. To live Free from the oppressive force of hurt and loss . So we extend forgiveness. continuing to keep account of things you have lost will only harm yourself.
Set yourself Free.
Can We Be Trusted?
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
When the old Soviet Union existed, a news story came out of Russia. One Sunday at a house church believers arrived inconspicuously in small groups throughout the day so as not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. By dusk they were all safely inside, windows closed and doors locked. They began singing a hymn.
Suddenly, the door was pushed open and in walked two soldiers with loaded automatic weapons. One shouted, “All right, everybody line up against the wall. If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!” Two or three quickly left. Then another. After a few seconds, the soldier said, “This is your last chance. Either renounce your faith in Christ or stay and suffer the consequences.” Several more left quietly. No one else moved. They fully expected to be gunned down or, at best, imprisoned.
After a few moments of silence, the other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, “Keep your hands up” but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers, but instead, were converted! We have learned by experience that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.” [Excerpt from Charles Swindoll’s Living Above the Level of Mediocrity]
There is no compromise in the Bible of Jesus Christ. We live for Christ or we die for Christ, but either way we remain committed to Christ. Jesus said, “Away with you, Satan! Worship God and him alone!”
Can you imagine being faced with a decision to run and renounce Christ or die for our faith? We are living in a day where this could very well become reality! But how many of us would be willing to stand?
Let’s start deepening our relationship with the Lord today because when you come to a place where you are willing to die for the Lord … then how much easier is it to live for Him!
You’re Battling A Defeated Enemy!
Luke 10:17 The 70 disciples came back very happy.
They said, “Lord, even demons obey us when we use the power and authority of your name!”
18 Jesus said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 I have given you the authority to trample snakes and scorpions and to destroy the enemy’s power. Nothing will hurt you. 20 However, don’t be happy that evil spirits obey you. Be happy that your names are written in heaven.”
What is our true spiritual reality? The Bible describes the enemy as ALREADY defeated! We who are walking as brothers in this world, fighting on a daily basis, are fighting a defeated enemy. Let that sink in! He has already been defeated … even though throughout our entire lives we’re in combat with the enemy of our souls.
So when you are dealing with problems, just don’t allow yourself to become discouraged … instead, grasp the reality that God intends to bring to this earth through you. Though he may try to seem powerful, the devil has already suffered his crushing defeat, at the Crucifixion of Christ!
You’re pressing through painful struggles in this life, tribulations which the Lord clearly spoke of. Our enemy causes plenty of problems and pain; nevertheless if you will remember and truly realize that Satan was defeated 2000 years ago, you will press on with a deep and quiet confidence in Jesus victory. Nothing and no one can steal that victory from you because, now and forever, in Jesus, you have already won!
Don’t Look Back . Look Ahead!
Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “Whoever starts to plow and looks back is not fit for God’s kingdom.”
The Lord doesn’t want us constantly looking back at what once was. Our enemy does — he wants us to feel discouraged and helpless and ruminate over and over on what we can never change. Sure, if we need to repent or make something right, we ought to go ahead and do it. But God doesn’t want us drowning in self-pity or regret about past mistakes, or hopelessly longing for what can never be again . He wants us to look ahead. He wants us to say, “Forget what was — the future is where my destiny lies and I will meet the Lord there in His purposes for me.” That’s faith. And it’s well based in everything Jesus has done for us, promised us, and called us to.
So, let’s stop looking back in fear or bondage to the past — it’s long gone already. Let’s move ahead and press toward the new things that the Lord has for us in our lives. Our God is always making things new, and redeeming what was before.
Walking In The Spirit
The Lord’s Gifts And Callings Are Irrevocable!
Jonah 1:2 “Leave at once for the important city, Nineveh. Announce to the people that I can no longer overlook the wicked things they have done.”
3 Jonah immediately tried to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish. He went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid for the trip and went on board. He wanted to go to Tarshish to get away from the Lord.
Romans 11:29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Jonah the prophet ran from what he considered a difficult and abhorrent assignment from God, thinking he could escape to a place where he couldn’t be found. He refused to obey the Lord and he boarded a ship headed in the opposite direction. But YHVH’s irrevocable gifts and callings were faithfully resting upon His servant Jonah, and He provided the drama needed to bring his man around. He sent a great storm which rocked Jonah’s boat and then a large fish which ate him! These persuasions changed Jonah’s attitude.
Sometimes the Lord needs to put us in a difficult position so that we can be restored to Him and remain faithful to our calling. In Jonah’s case, the belly of a great fish prompted him to look up again to His Creator and begin renewing the broken communication. The reluctant prophet learned finally that he couldn’t run from his destiny or his calling, and that YHVH’s faithfulness could necessarily involve him in work that was not to his own liking.
Has God gifted and called you to something difficult and even awkward to you? If so, remember Jonah. He was the Lord’s prophet even when he didn’t want to be. You might as well rejoice in your calling even if your flesh is screaming “Nooooo!!!”
You will be glad to have avoided God’s gentle reminder of Who You Are .
John 9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
3 ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
And all of it is for the glory of God.
It’s The End Of The World
The moon turns to blood, Mountains crumble, Mutant locust swarm.
These are just some of the strange images we find in parts of the bible
called apocalyptic and while most people think the biblical word apocalypse means the end of the world it doesn’t actually mean that at all
so lets talk about how. Wait the apocalypse doesn’t mean the end of the world no apocalypse is a Greek word that means to uncover or reveal
It’s the apocalypse! But what exactly does that mean? The Bible is filled with dreams and visions about human history coming to a climax, and they’re usually packed with intense imagery and strange symbols
Apocalypse: To uncover or reveal.
It’s when you suddenly see the true nature of something that you couldn’t see before.
Because we don’t see things as they really are , We all develop familiar ways of seeing the world that can limit or blur our vision. So an Apocalypse is like a Revelation.
In the Bible an Apocalypse is when God pulls back the curtains to show someone whats really going on in the world from a divine perspective.
For example take Isaiah the prophet , he’s suddenly transported in a vision to God’s throne room. He is in God’s temple described as a bridge between Heaven and Earth.
And there God gives him a divine perspective of Israel’s past, present and their future. So that Isaiah can bring challenge and comfort to his people.
And think about the apostle Paul who was trying to stop the movement of Jesus but then he gets stopped in his tracks by the risen Jesus himself.
Paul realises he is fighting the very thing he was hoping for and it changes his course in life.
These Apocalypses give people a heavenly perspective on their earthly situation and they can give hope or they can challenge you. Or make you change everything.
These are bibical story’s about people having an apocalypse. There are also whole sections of the bibical books where the prophets describe extended apocalypse dreams and visions. Reading these dreams and visions is difficult and are filled with strange images like Daniel . He sees ferocious animals coming out of a dark sea trampling people on the land and a character called the son of man is supposed to rule the world
We Do Have The Mind Of Christ
Isaiah 40:13 Who comprehends the mind of the Lord,
or gives him instruction as his counselor?
1 Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.
When we have the mind of Christ, it is in contrast to the wisdom of man 1 Corinthians 2:5 so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.
It involves wisdom from God, which was once hidden
1 Corinthians 2:7 Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory.
and it cannot be understood by those without the Spirit
1 Corinthians 2:14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
When we have the mind of Christ, we have discernment in spiritual matters 1 Corinthians 2:15 The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one.
When believers have the mind of Christ, we understand God’s plan for the world and understand that He wants to bring about His purpose. It doesn’t mean that we are infallible and can start playing God in the lives of other people.
That made me think of my long and troubled relationship with organized religion.Then, the advantages in belonging to organized religion
was the sense of community and there was the sense of duty to some theological premises.
Community was the big issue then and everyone knew each other and it seemed as if people came through for one another in troubled times like during economic downturns or seismic life changes. Those days are long gone.
Believing in God doesn’t mean I believe in religion, and believing in Jesus doesn’t mean I believe in the religion of Christianity.
I believe in God and Jesus, I know that I myself don’t subscribe to any organized religion.
Organized Religion creates a corporate identity. When we buy into religion we end up speaking, sounding, even looking like everyone else within that corporate branded identity. Same thoughts. Same beliefs. Same well-defined doctrines; and if you step out of line and have questions that don’t fit that corporate identity, chances are you might be silenced, or even kicked out.
The Bible describes several things that Jesus valued. With the mind of Christ, believers should value them as well.
A desire to bring glory to God. In John 17:5, Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
A longing to provide salvation for sinners. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
A perspective on humility and obedience. Philippians 2:5-8 explains, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a torture stake!”
A compassionate heart. Matthew 9:36 shows Jesus’ compassion on the people, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Prayerful dependence on God. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
So what does a personal relationship with God feel like? It feels personal, that’s what. It’s a relationship that you and God experience and understand. It’s not a corporate relationship.
Bring Each Of Us Back To A Personal, Individual Experience Of God.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers,
Romans 12: 4 For just as we have in one body many members, but the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but individually we are members belonging to one another.
1Corinthians 12:4 Now there are different gifts, but there is the same spirit; 5 and there are different ministries, and yet there is the same Lord; 6 and there are different activities, and yet it is the same God who performs them all in everyone.
The Long Goodbye To Organized Religion
While some say only one religion leads to God, and others might say all religions lead to God, I would say the opposite: That no religion leads to God. They may talk of God, point to him even, and have some relevant points, but, in my opinion, they do not, and can not, lead fully to God; the various branches and denominations of Christianity are no exception.
The very structure religion confines itself within, along with its immovable dogmas, is proof enough that it will always fail to lead anyone to the full reality of our boundless, universe sized God. It’s clear to me that God is bigger than any box a religion can set up to put him in.
While it seems popular to think Jesus came to build an army of christians for God, and to then organize his followers to build him an empire on earth, I personally don’t subscribe to such a concept. In fact, I think Christ came to do the opposite; I believe he came to end empire thinking and bring each of us back to a Personal, Individual Experience of God.
Revival Is Available To Us Today!
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Revival is an ongoing transformation of our hearts to be constantly moved by the Spirit of God. We need to be daily breaking up our fallow ground, those places in our hearts which we’ve allowed to grow hard. How? We have to first ask the Lord to reveal those hard places, pray that He would forgive us and ask Him to heal all our rough edges that we might be soft before Him and sensitive to His leading. Only then will we be changed and be in a place where we can contribute to revival around us.
Psalm 85:6 Will you not revive us once more?
Then your people will rejoice in you.
Get A Good Nights Sleep!
Psalm 121:4 Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
I was reading my Bible and found Psalms 121:4 where it declares that God doesn’t slumber nor sleep, so I thought there was no point in both of us staying awake.
As the world gets more chaotic during these last days as fear abounds, may the Lord grant you the ability to rest in Him for truly He neither slumbers or sleeps as He watches over you!
Do You Feel Self Conscious?
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Jesus said to his followers, If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want, deny themselves; turn from selfishness; set aside their own interests. They must ·be willing even to give up their lives to take up their cross and follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life, lose their life, their soul; and those who give up, sacrifice their lives for me will have true life, they will find life.
We live in a day and age that everywhere we turn, there’s a self-help theory.
On Self determination, improvement . Books, videos and dvds, websites, world-renown speakers, you name it — all dedicated to helping us, feel good about ourselves. Yet somehow, still many of us struggle with self-consciousness, even as Christians!
But here’s something to consider. Did Jesus ever say “feel good about yourself”?? No. On the contrary,
He said crucify yourself!
If we go around hating ourselves and even feeling condemnation over our faults and sins, what we are really doing is focusing on our self!
Self-consciousness is not God consciousness.
God doesn’t want us focused on ourselves – He wants us to be focused on Him!
It’s when die to our flesh, that the life we’re living becomes the life He lives through us!
If we crucify our self then there’s no self to hate — there’s no self to condemn! We are free to serve the Lord and allow him to do great things through us!
Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Let’s Not Underestimate Our Enemy!
Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Demonic powers are in no way impressed by our intellect or other abilities. What impresses them is the strength of the Spirit of God and the weapons he provides. And these have divine power to destroy the works of the devil and cause us to stand firm in the evil day
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
1 John 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Let’s not make the mistake of underestimating our enemy! We need to be careful not to underestimate him! First, let us ask the Lord for His wisdom concerning our vulnerabilities. Then, on a daily basis, continue to equip ourselves with the weapons of our warfare. In so doing, we’ll walk in victory through Him!
Are You A Dead Duck?
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
An old story I read about a dead duck.
A person doomed to death, failure,
beyond help, redemption, or hope. Absolutely no chance of succeeding, describes someone as a dead duck.
If the devil doesn’t bother you, you’re in trouble
Psalms 118:17 I will not die, but live, and I will proclaim what the Lord has done.
A farmer and his farmhand went duck hunting. The farmer said to his friend, “You’re always talking about fighting with the devil. I’m not a Christian, and I never have to fight with the devil.” I’ve never experienced anything like that.”
The farmhand answered, “Boss, if you and I shot two ducks, one was wounded and one was dead, which one would you go after first?”
“Well,” he said, “I guess I’d go after the wounded duck – I can always get the dead one later.”
“That’s right. The devil knows you’re a dead duck.”
If the devil doesn’t bother you, it’s because he doesn’t have to bother you since you and he are traveling in the same direction. If you turned around, you’d have a collision with him. Right now, you are in collusion with him.
For those of us who are walking with the Lord today, be encouraged! Our enemy knows that we have potential to do great things for God, and out of fear, he’ll try anything to take us out. This is so very evident by the constant battle we all face.
Let’s stand strong against the devil today! And rise up to the Lord’s calling upon our lives! We will fight and we will WIN! Are you a child of God? Then praise Him that He has given you the power over Satan and placed you on the pathway to see Him face to face!
1 Corinthians 13:12 What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete–as complete as God’s knowledge of me.
Take Up Your Cross
When we realize that the very message that God has chosen to save those who believe His message includes His death, His burial and His resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
Jesus told His disciples to pick up their cross and to follow Him
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
When Jesus picked up His cross He was going to crucify His flesh. This is what He is asking us as His disciples to do.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
After His death He was buried and after three days God raised Him from the dead, the power of the resurrection. When we repent, and are buried with Him in the waters of baptism, we then receive the power of His resurrection
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When God gives us His promise we can be sure that we will receive what He has promised. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God to all who are willing to do what He says we need to do to receive it.
Luke 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Returning from their mission, the 70 disciples of Jesus were filled with joy. “Even the devils are subject to us through your name”, they exulted. Jesus responded that He saw Satan fall like lightening from Heaven and that He had given them authority to trample snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.
The nature of the enemy is to fall. His destiny and his eternal condition is Fallen. Thus, Satan and his demons want to pull us down with them. Their schemes are subtle, as they watch carefully for opportunities when our own evil desires rise up in us;
James 1:14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
However they can do it, these evil spirits will seek to drag us down into the miserable fallen condition they are in.
In every temptation, the enemy is present seeking to pull you down with him. But our calling and destiny are not to fall, it is to rise. Our identity and our authority as the children of God is with the resurrected Messiah. And it’s His resurrection life and power that gives us authority over demons and victory over sin.
To rise above temptation through a life of spirit empowered obedience.
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
You are no longer under the power of fallen angels but in the power of a risen God. Rise above temptation. Exercise your authority to tread upon the powers of darkness in your own life, and be led by His Holy Spirit, even to deliver others from their power as well. Exercising the authority of our risen Lord over evil is one of our great living testimonies to His goodness and salvation!
Our Dependence On God
Luke 5:16 Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.
Matthew 14:23 After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone,
A desire to bring glory to God.
John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
A longing to provide salvation for sinners.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
A perspective on humility and obedience.
Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
A compassionate heart.
Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he was deeply moved with compassion for them, because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Prayerful dependence on God.
Prayer Increases Our Dependence on God
Look at How many times Jesus Prayed
Luke 5:16 Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.
Matthew 14:23 After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone,
Mark 1:35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.
Luke 3:21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as He was praying, heaven was opened,
Luke 6:12 In those days, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.
Luke 9:28 About eight days after Jesus had said these things, He took with Him Peter, John, and James, and went up on a mountain to pray.
Luke 9:29 And as He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became radiantly white.
Change Your Landscape By Planting Some Seeds!
Matthew 13:23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
We all travel different roads. Sadly, many of us miss wonderful opportunities to change and bring added beauty to our landscapes. In our families, at our jobs, in the world around us, God has given us opportunities to color those landscapes! It’s far easier for us to complain and resign ourselves to settling for those landscapes than it is to be the catalysts of change. From this point on, let’s resolve to stop complaining about the lifelessness around us and do something about it! God has given us the power and anointing to change those landscapes!
Let’s start sowing the seeds of the Gospel, the seeds of salvation and new life. Let’s sow the seeds of love, joy, righteousness, and all the tasty fruits of the Spirit. As we sow them throughout our daily lives, those dull, dry landscapes will begin blossoming into something beautiful and we will be remembered as the ones who sowed those seeds.
What Did The Agony And Prayer In The Garden Express?
The agony and prayer of Jesus in the Garden of the Mount of Olives expressed His desire to do His Father’s will at all costs. “Yet not what I will, but what thou wilt”
Mark 14:36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
It also expressed all the spiritual torment Jesus experienced for our sake, as He placed Himself fully in the Father’s hands. The torment He experienced due to mankind’s rejection of Him caused Him unimaginable pain.
Into All That Chaos We Enter to pull out ones to be saved.
Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.
“Mercy is the willingness to enter into the chaos of another.”
A definition of mercy.
Each person has a chaos within him or her. To be truly with a person, to empathize with that person, with the “Other,” we need the courage to enter into that chaos.
Relationships require involvement. It requires that we enter into the chaos of another. It demands our time and effort.
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
But there would not be a cosmos without chaos. In our life’s experiences, we are often required to go through moments of pain and confusion before we are changed to become the cosmos. Darkness before light.
Chaos precedes understanding, especially of ourselves. Realizing the purpose of chaos always happens in hindsight.
It is necessary to enter chaos for the Good to come out and dismantle the Devil’s works
It’s true, right? Step into my chaos. It is enough most days to deal with my own chaos without bothering with someone else’s. We feel like we only have so much time, energy, and maybe even so much love to give. But this is what makes us human. It is what reveals the spirit within us. It is how we worship — by Loving One Another.
In Matthew 14, Jesus is off alone on the mountain praying, enjoying a much deserved rest after helping feed 5,000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread, a lesson in mercy in itself.
But when a storm comes up, the first thing he thinks about is that he has a boat full of friends in the middle of a lake. He knows they are terrified. He goes to them, sharing in their anguish by entering the violent storm.
It’s not so much walking on water that is the miracle; it’s the fact that Jesus interrupts his plans and steps into chaos for his friends.
That is Mercy.
Please Don’t Lose The Wonder!
Exodus 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt I’m sure several million people were wondering, “How am I going to be fed? How am I going to survive in this wilderness?” Imagine the logistical nightmare. An incalculable quantity of food and water were needed to survive in the desert. Where would it come from? Yet, in this seemingly impossible situation, God provided!
He provided Manna from heaven. When the people first saw the Manna on the ground, they wondered in amazement saying to each other, “What is this?”, which is exactly what “Manna” means in Hebrew — “What is it?” They were receiving the food of angels,
Psalm 78:24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.
which sustained them the entire time in the desert.
But we know what happened as time passed…the people got used to this miraculous provision, began to take it for granted, and even be bored with it, and, of course…the wonder of God’s supernatural provision evaporated. Israel lost sight of the miracle that God was doing in their lives each and every day.
Each and every day is a miracle from God. Each day of our lives we walk through a world filled with the wonders and glory of the Lord. But we, too, can become dull and lose the wonder of all that He has done and provided for us, even our very salvation. We need to awaken to the daily miracles of life, and to the never ending opportunities the Lord is opening, to pour His love into us, and through us. As we do, may we always be saying to ourselves, “Wow — what amazing love is this that’s been given to me!”
Give The Lord Your Best Shot!
An ancient story is told of a King of Spain who was to visit a poor country village. Upon hearing of his plan to visit them, the people seemed excited to offer a great celebration that would show their adoration and love for their king. But the villagers didn’t have much to offer.
In the midst of their quandary someone proposed that, since so many villagers made their own wines, they might each choose his best wine, and combine them in a barrel to present to the king as a gift from the village. So they did, each wine-maker bringing a flagon with which to fill the barrel. Then, they anxiously awaited the arrival of their sovereign.
When the King arrived, he was ceremoniously presented with a silver cup and invited to draw wine from the barrel. As he filled his silver chalice, he was surprised when he tasted only water. Where was the wine? Each villager had reasoned, “I’ll withhold my best wine and give water. There will be so many cups of excellent wine poured into the barrel that mine will never be missed.”
Here was a town full of people whose private greed completely overcame their public enthusiasm. The indictment of Isaiah the prophet suited them perfectly: “these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me..”
Yet our God looks at the heart, and He knows well when we are going through the motions of showing love and admiration for him, without any truth or sincerity.
Hypocrisy is a serious offense to our God. He would rather we honestly withhold then pretend to be generous. How often do we act publicly to be seen by men in a certain light, while in fact, our motive is self-seeking? So God will have to do another marvellous work to expose our hypocrisy, because of His love for us, for He knows when our “wine” is really “water”.
But wouldn’t we rather offer our very best wine right from the start?
Seeking Victory By The Power Of His Spirit!
Judges 14:5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
Judges 16:20 And she (Delilah) said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
Samson is a powerful example of a man of God who won his battles over and over again because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Yet when he was finally defeated by Delilah’s temptations he didn’t realize that the Lord had left him, so effective was the woman’s spell.
The enemy is subtle and the temptations of the flesh can so quickly quench the presence and power of God’s spirit that we may not even realize it has happened. But this anointing of the Holy Spirit is our Life….and our victory. Opposition can be destroyed and burdens can be lifted when His wonderful Presence fills and rests upon us. Our greatest battle is maintaining that internal communion with Him by His Spirit. Temptations, bad habits, our sinful nature, demonic attacks, all these collaborate to rob us of this holy anointing, our communion with God, and our only real power over every enemy!
Samson’s victories vividly demonstrate the tremendous power of the anointing. His power over the Philistines was legendary and truly heroic. But when he lost his anointing, they nearly destroyed him. How critical it is in these days to keep our lamps burning with the holy “oil” of Jesus’ anointing. His goodness will defeat the evils around us…His light will banish darkness…His joy will annihilate our depression…His forgiveness will root out all bitterness…His love will overcome our natural hatred…and every subtle deception will be exposed by His excellent TRUTH! Seek HIS ANOINTING, the fullness of the Holy Spirit — He will equip you to break every yoke of bondage and defeat every internal and external enemy.
And, please don’t find yourself in the condition of Samson, in the arms of his lust, not even realizing that the anointing had left him. The cost was enormous, even though he was restored. Instead, guard yourself against the subtle temptations of this world seeking more and more of His indwelling Presence. That anointing will produce one victory after another. Amen.
Be Ministers Of Reconciliation!
2 Cor 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The enemy works skillfully and diligently to divide, disrupt, and destroy the body of Messiah. But we have a duty and an obligation to be ministers of reconciliation and work toward spiritual unity.
When, through humility and prayerful seeking of God’s mind, we learn to resolve conflicts, we will realize the unity of the Spirit and display the reconciling power of love, agape love and give testimony of Jesus as He said,” John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
If we can unify in the essentials of our faith … without surrendering sound doctrine … not based on the spirit of ecumenism, but the unity of the Holy Spirit, our testimony will be authentic and powerful as we bring the message of the Kingdom, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
Reconciliation is the work of the Messiah, accomplished on His cross to reconcile men to God. Jesus’s examplary work of reconciliation lays a completely sufficient foundation for us to walk in as well. We must diligently seek unity and reconciliation with one another, individually through humility, prayer, confession of our sins and forgiveness. Our enemy the Devil loves and knows how to divide us. Will we pursue the Lord’s way? By the power of His Spirit we can love one another and fight to achieve the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The Eternal Spirit
by the power of His Spirit
Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Because of the joy awaiting him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Such is the devil in our lives when we realize that God is for us!
Satan will make a big noise, fussing and growling all he wants but we need to keep our eyes focused on our Lord.
Demonic powers are overcome by the Power of the Spirit of God and the weapons he provides. And these have divine power to destroy the works of the devil and cause us to stand firm in the evil day
Are you being picked on today? The enemy would love nothing more than to make us feel powerless against him — but he hasn’t got teeth next to our Lord! Let’s turn to God and put our trust in Him.
Trust Him To Complete what He Started In You!
Philippians 1:6 For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield. I find hope in your Word.
Stormy Winds Are His Way
Psalm 148:8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!
2 Samuel 22:12 He made darkness his canopy around him– the dark rain clouds of the sky.
The Wind is the minister of judgment.
In the plagues of Egypt they cooperated in making Yehovah known in all the terrors of his power. Fire and ice morsels are a contrast in nature, but they are combined in Magnifying The Lord.
Snow and vapours. Offsprings of cold, or creations of heat, be ye equally consecrated to his praise. Congealed or expanded vapours, falling flakes or rising clouds, should, rising or falling, still reveal The Praises of The Lord.
Furthermore, who can understand how the clouds spread out, how the thunder roars from His pavilion?
He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies…
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a Rock.
Ezekiel 13:13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.
This is in The Word
Stand In Faith, Receive Your Inheritance!
Numbers 14:6-11 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?
26-30 And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upwards, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.
When the twelve spies returned from spying out the promised land, Joshua and Caleb alone gave a good report, saying the land is full of milk and honey. They believed the promise of God so emphatically that they tore their clothes and implored the children of Israel saying, “the Lord is with us, do not fear them!” Israel’s reaction was unbelievably severe. They were ready to Stone the faithful spies!
It is unquestionable that the report of the other 10 spies was terrifying, and that it had spread fear throughout the camp. Would the faith of two witnesses stand against the overwhelming majority? How often has the voice of the majority with all of its “common sense” stood as a consensus against your “crazy” faith? What kinds of attacks and threats have you received for standing on the Lord’s word or promise, or simply for believing in His salvation? In these days as the darkness deepens, our light will shine more brightly, but it may also seem that our stand of faith makes less common sense than ever, and will bring severe opposition against us!
Joshua and Caleb stood firm, and it’s wonderful to see how even the most vicious threats could not affect their position of trust. And we know how the Lord rewarded them. These two men became the only ones from their generation to enter the promised land.
Test the word that God has given you; be as sure as you can that He has spoken it, just as Joshua and Caleb were concerning the Lord’s promise of Canaan. When the opposition arises, and it will; when the threats are severe, and they may be, remember that the majority against you with all its fear and “common sense” will not receive the reward of faith, but will lose its inheritance… while you will please the Lord and receive yours in full.
Be Part Of The Solution!
Rev 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Social justice is a Kingdom issue, as we’re called to defend those who cannot defend themselves, and to stand against all injustice. We recognize, however, that the deep root of injustice lies in the sin nature of every living soul, and has permeated all of society, in many ways entrenching itself in governments and laws in our time. Since we believe that righteousness can only begin with individual repentance and regeneration, we recognize the limits of our capacity to affect social change, especially in light of the Lord’s descriptions of the Last days. But we are called to be salt and light, and our presence does preserve and illuminate culture through the gospel, the Word so we seize every opportunity, individual and social, to represent Jesus, His truth and His salvation.
Some believers will be specifically called to champion issues of social justice, while others will minister personally to the disenfranchised and miserable victims of it. Wherever we are called in ministry or battle, the Holy Spirit will empower the solutions we bring, whether socially or individually.
Be part of God’s solution by discovering and walking in your gifts and calling. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing”.
The changes, improvements and reforms which emerge from your Spirit filled ministry will yield good fruit, both now and forever.
It’s Not Your Battle!
Exodus 15:3 The Lord is a man of war;
The Lord is His name.
Psalm 24:8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
1 Samuel 17:46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
We are facing principalities and powers in heavenly places and here on Earth, and we must fight as the brothers of old, with the spiritual weapons of faith, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. And ultimately it IS His battle.
This great war, being fought on the battleground of humanity itself, has, from the Lord’s perspective, already been won. Messiah Jesus’ victory at the crucifixion resounds through history in every direction of time and space. In this sense, the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s, whose triumph over sin, death and evil was perfectly accomplished there. And since God exists beyond time and space, it’s already over in His world. The very grammar of prophetic utterances, particularly in the Old Testament, we call the “prophetic past”, is written as though the events described have been completed.
As such, in these developing prophetic days, we live in a paradox, “the already, but not yet”. Even as evils increase all around, we’re participating in both… a present war, and a present victory. And so we carry both… responsibility and confidence.
Our confidence stands firmly in the resurrection and authority of the Lord Jesus as He sits at the right hand of the Father. And since we’re not fighting in our own strength we can declare, “O Lord this is your battle!
Our responsibility is firmly rooted in our confidence; not in flesh, tanks, aircraft, armies, weapons, technologies, noble human intentions, economic power or prosperity, political agendas, constitutions, presidents, nor anything else of this world. Our responsibility lies in our re-presentation of the One we love and serve who lives within us and empowers everything we do of any true value. In the power of the Spirit, with bold confidence, we can declare His eternal truth, the most powerful weapon that has ever or will ever exist.
The enemy may attack with lies, deceptions and threats of every kind, and he will.…your defense is the Lord, what He has spoken, who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in and through you. Your defense, and your offense, are Jesus’ victory and His Word, and this present battle truly is the Lord’s. Take it to heart, “The battle is the Lord’s.” You simply stand declaring His victory and His truth to a sea of humanity desperate for forgiveness, hope, love and peace.
The Gates Of Hades Shall Not Prevail!
Matthew 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Caesarea Phillippi – The Gates of Hell
Caesarea Phillipi, where Jesus revealed himself as Messiah to His disciples, was home to the Temple of Pan, a place so demonic that many of the rituals performed there are too horrible to mention.
The city sits at the foot of Mount Hermon, which was known as the ‘Rock of the Gods’, referring to the many shrines built against it. At the foot of Mount Hermon sat the temple of Pan, the ruins of which can still be seen there. In the rear of the temple was a cave with a deep pool (which also remains there) from which spring water flowed. Ancient Pagans believed that the water symbolized the abyss, and that the cave was a door to the underworld. The cave at the rear of the temple was considered the ‘Gate of Hades’ because it was believed that Baal would enter and leave the underworld through it. God only knows what kind of spiritual activity passed through this realm of darkness.
It was here, in the most demonic place in Israel, that Jesus chose to reveal, through Peter’s spirit inspired proclamation, that He was Messiah, the Son of God. And it was in this place of repugnant darkness and spiritual degeneracy that the Lord announced His intention to build His Church (or congregation). And it was in this ” Hell hole” that He gave us the assurance, “The Gates of Hell will NOT prevail against it.”
We are planted where evil dwells, to proclaim and represent the Lord of Light. And we seem to be witnessing an advance of evil in this world that is unprecedented, and is becoming a “flood” reminiscent of the “Days of Noah”. How precious and vital are the Lord’s words, “The Gates of Hell will NOT prevail…” Believing those words, we will stand, every day, and we will overcome the power of Satan, by faith, especially as we continue to pray as He taught us, “Deliver us from evil.” Not in our own strength or power – but in the power of God given to all His children through His Son!
In These Days … You Have To Listen For Yourself!
Exodus 20:18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
In the days of the wilderness wanderings, the children of Israel trembled in the sight of God … and said to Moses, “You go and speak to God for us; and we will listen to you”.
However, in these days, we can’t be like the children of Israel and say to someone else … “Go and speak to God for me, and tell me what the Lord is saying!” if we are born again and have His Holy Spirit, we can receive communication direct… from the Lord, Himself. With troubles and dangers on the rise, we each need to cultivate a sensitivity to His Spirit, the ability to hear His inner voice. No, I’m not talking about an audible voice, but a spiritual sensitivity which will navigate us around the landmines which surround us.
1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
Read What I Just Said
Stay In Faith, No Matter What!
What does the ‘sign of the Son of man in heaven’ in Matthew 24:30 denote? In broad terms, there are two ways to interpret the phrase. Firstly, that the coming of the Son of man in the clouds is the ‘sign of the Son of man’ and the phrase explains the sign, much like lightning is depicted as a sign in
Matthew 24:27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Secondly, the sign is interpreted in terms of various objects that will precede the coming of the Son of man. What is it’s significance, of the term, ‘the sign of the Son of man?’ It’s context in the Word, Bible
the apocalyptic discourse with its judgement on the established religious institution of the Jews as represented by the temple in Jerusalem.
The purpose is to describe the possible primary meaning for ‘the sign in heaven of the Son of man’.
Watch….And Pray, Because You Love!
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
In these days prayer must become an essential in our daily walk. — Prayer And Intercession.
This verse in Ephesians 6 is part of Paul’s most articulate exposition on spiritual warfare, the passage in which he describes the enemies arrayed against us, and the spiritual armor we must wear for the battle. Once our armor is on, prayer takes center stage in his battle strategy. And notice Paul’s usage: ALL times, with ALL prayer, with ALL PERSEVERANCE, for ALL brothers. Could he have been more urgent or comprehensive in his counsel toward equipping us? Prayer seems to be the single most critical element in spiritual warfare.
Yet it appears that prayer is one of the most neglected in the body of Messiah. We don’t have the time…or, I’m too busy….. What’s really going on here?
To begin with, we’re not aware, we’re not watching. Often in scripture, prayer is immediately connected to watchfulness;
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Mark 13:33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Paul also stressed this. Keep alert, he says. If prayer is neglected, one primary cause is our failure to WATCH, to be alert. We are numb, preoccupied, lazy, overwhelmed, distracted or drunk on whatever; anything but watchful like Gideon’s 300 men. But prayer is a natural sequel to watchfulness. When we’re aware of what’s really happening, we almost naturally feel the urgency to respond to it.
But if we are going to get serious about prayer, it will be because we are mobilized to watch, and by watching, to care, and by caring to respond. Prayer is motivated by deep concern. Check this in your own life.
When were your prayers most fervent and persevering? What were you so deeply concerned about? Prayer is really about love, isn’t it. Pray because you watch; watch because you care; prayer is an act of love.
He Makes Intercession For Us!
So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
One of the most important aspects of prayer is understanding how God Himself is interceding for us in ways we cannot fathom or comprehend. While Jesus atonement was completed on the crucifixion 2000 years ago, His continuing work of intercession rests soundly on the basis of it. He now lives … to make intercession for us! As our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
He is “faithful and true” and will always intercede according to the Father’s will, both in personal, individual matters, and also as we take up battles in prayer for others, including every arena of spiritual warfare.
In this light, our opportunity in prayer is simply to “show up” for it. This can be a real relief for many, who might say or think, “I’d like to be more involved in prayer, but I just don’t know how or what to pray.” The passage in Romans 8, above, is such an encouragement. The Lord has already acknowledged our ignorance and helplessness in prayer, “For we do not know what to pray as we ought…”
But if we resolve to simply “show up” as His volunteers
Psalm 110:3 Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
He will immediately “show up” to help us and to inspire and even interpret the prayers His Spirit in us prays, even with “groanings too deep for words”. You see, we don’t even need words to know how to pray.
Pray from the heart, surrounded by your answer and in Jesus name.
Prayer may be the most multi-faceted spiritual activity, since it can find expression in virtually every realm of human existence. It is praise, counsel, cries for help, desperation, vindication, deep love, compassion, rescue, comfort, appreciation, gratitude, confession, sorrow, grief, groaning, intercession, intense joy. There is and never will be a limit to the possibilities of prayer. This is why Paul unhesitatingly encourages believers to “pray without ceasing”.
Don’t worry about saying the perfect prayer or having the perfect words … just “show up” with your faith and resolution to commune with God’s Spirit in prayer. If you persevere in this, casting away every vain thought, determined to connect with Him, pour out your heart, express your cares and concerns, fight your battles, you’ll discover a depth of relationship with God which you’ve always longed for, and you will be piling up treasure with, and for Jesus.
Access The Throne Of Grace Boldly!
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I want to emphasize the confidence we can have as we approach the Lord. The exact moment we move toward Him to pray, we are exercising faith….which immediately pleases Him. He knows that we need His mercy and grace, and because He constantly intercedes on our behalf, we can be assured He will hear us and respond. Our approach is not based on our own merits, but on His righteousness and mercy. Having been tempted at all points as we are
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.,
His identification and understanding enable us to approach His presence with bold confidence..
Don’t allow your sins to separate you from Your God. Confess, repent, and be confident when you approach His throne, knowing that you are fully accepted in His righteousness. And also knowing that He loves for you to participate with Him in relationship and all the blessings which prayer affords. God loves when you pray.
Obtain The Full Measure Of Joy!
John 16:23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Pray from the Heart, surround yourself with your answer
as we ask in His name, and as we see our prayers being answered, we realize how real and faithful our God is.
But I want to focus on the life that is overflowing with JOY!
Have you ever met someone who just seemed radiant with joy? Joyful people always seem to be overflowing with life. No matter the obstacles the enemy throws their way, they always seem to live in victory. You’ll also find that they are spending time in the prayer closet…because the outflow of prayer is JOY!
When we commune with God at that intimate level, dwelling is His presence, as the Psalmist says, “In your presence is fullness of joy!”
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Prayer is intimately connected to the Joy in your life. If you’re struggling with anxiety about the future, or the present, or a deep concern that is robbing your joy … it’s time to enter your prayer closet, set the time apart, and determine to enter His presence. The Lord’s Joy will strengthen you from that place. Try it and see.
God Answers Prayers…That He Inspires!
1 John 3:21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 5:15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
When does God answer our prayers? And when do we receive what we ask of Him? And when are we confident He has heard our requests? Many of us wonder why our prayers seem to go unanswered. Here are some insights:
“If our hearts do not condemn us..” Simply, it’s almost impossible to ask for anything in faith if your conscience is defiled. Jesus said, Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
If your heart is condemning you, thank God you have a conscience, and then clear it by confessing your sin and receiving forgiveness through his blood. Your capacity for faith will be restored and your prayers won’t be hindered by a troubled heart.
“Keep His commandments…” John distills this advice with two simple injunctions; “Believe in the name of the Son of God”, and “Love one another”… Apostle Paul beautifully
re-echoes these with his word in
Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Faith is a steadfast reliance on the nature and character of Jesus, and love is the outflow of abiding in Him. Prayers which emerge from this disposition are answered. Faith in Jesus, and love for others form a sure foundation for answered prayers. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done.” John simply affirms that our confidence of being heard derives from asking for anything that God wants. Some people teach that God will give us anything that we want, because He loves us and has paid for all of it. But that’s not what the scripture teaches. John says that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, then we know we’re getting what we asked for…this could be the most important element in our prayer life.
Why do I say that? Because John’s implication is that we should always pray “in the Spirit”; that if we really want to pray confidently, we should Listen First; we should make sure we’re abiding in Him, and are in communion with his Spirit. Praying from the place of communion will issue prayers that are inspired by the Lord himself, and are sure to be answered.
“Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him.” Any hope of effectual prayer in which we can have confidence for answers depends absolutely upon this one amazing reality.
God with us: The great challenge and opportunity of the life of faith is maintaining this abiding reality. Don’t waste the opportunity.
How To Claim Your Promises!
1 John 3:20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.
How do we claim the promises of God?
I write this page
to convince or demonstrate to myself the absolute trust I have in God’s Word, His covenants, His provision, The Good in Him.
His perfect goodness.
We follow what you ask. To live in Christ, love one another, pray with the heart, and in Christ name.
Of course, God does not need to be convinced – Our needs are plain to him – He loves when we set our needs, our cause, even our innermost desires, before Him, because it’s an expression of our faith, our trust, in Him.
God has given us the right to ask and to claim anything according to His will, and we should expect Him to answer our pleas when we have confidence that we’re asking for what He desires. Even if our heart condemns us we can trust that God is greater than our hearts and will answer prayers according to His good will.
And God cannot deny himself.
We can be as bold as he was, expecting God to answer, when we are totally committed to His will and asking for what we know He desires. Sometimes this requires discernment, and so we must wait on Him and ask for His wisdom before naming and claiming what we want.
Are you committed to the will of God? Are you determined to know and to ask for the things He loves to give? If so, plead His blood over your heart and be released from condemnation; then ask according to His will! The Lord’s gifts are manifold, and He wants us to ask for them, according to His own Word, fully expecting answers. He loves your faith and will respond out of His great goodness.
To Be Good
The Nerve, The Holy Nerve Of It All.
Luke 11:5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
Now there are some of us who pray with this attitude, like God was a stubborn uncooperative friend who doesn’t really care, or as though we’re somehow bothering him as if we’re waking him up in the middle of the night. But Jesus is using this stubborn neighbor as a NEGATIVE illustration. He’s saying the Father is NOT like that, but is a true and loving friend, one to whom we can bring all our needs, our troubles, and our problems because He will listen, and He will care! But God also wants us to be persistent, not to browbeat or pester Him for an answer, but rather, because we so believe in Him, and we want to express to Him just how much we really trust Him even when the answer doesn’t come immediately. It’s an expression of relentless faith which so pleases Him.
If this uncooperative neighbor finally gives a loaf to his friend, how much more will our Heavenly Father give to us, His children, if we come to Him with believing chutzpah? As long as we ask according to His will
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.,
We can confidently bring our requests, and even if we need to dig in and wait for His answers, it’s because we know that our trust in His love and generosity will make him so happy.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Something In The Air Tonight
1 Timothy 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
Don’t Overstep Your Bounds
2 Corinthians 10:14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ.
Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.
We believers are called to take some risks so that God’s Kingdom may grow! So often, we cower at the opportunities He makes available because we are too afraid things won’t go the way we hope and others might be disappointed or sneer at our failure. But God wants us to go forth boldly, sometimes taking a risk or two, so that we may accomplish great things for Him! Yes, sometimes we’ll get it wrong and there may be a hard lesson to learn. But we will learn– and eventually great things will happen as a result of our courage and persistence!
The time is short and there is so much work to do for the Kingdom! We cannot afford to stand in the sidelines any longer! Let’s ask the Lord to cause to us have courage and go in boldness! God’s Kingdom won’t grow unless we start taking some risks!
Psalm 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is what the Lord has done;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
Whoever believes will not act hastily.
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
These first two scriptures are speaking of the same “Stone”, the prophesied Messiah Christ Jesus, the “head of the corner” This stone is laid in Zion, a common synonym for Jerusalem, where mount Zion rests. The stone is “tried”, that is, tested in every way that a stone can be; the stone is precious and excellent to be set as a sure, reliable, accurate, even everlasting foundation, and a stone which is prepared and set in place by God, Himself. Can you think of a “Stone” more perfect or beautiful than our Messiah?
Yet this same “stone” is rejected by the “builders”; but also believed in by others, who will not act hastily. The Hebrew word for “rejected”, “ma-as”, carries even stronger meaning; “to abhor”, “cast away”, “despise”, “disdain”, and “be loathsome” are also denoted by it. So, the “Chief Cornerstone” of God is spurned, abhorred, held in contempt, and rejected.
Now the builders are the ones who ought to know a good stone for a building when they see one. They’re responsible for the quality of the building. But this precious cornerstone is abhorred and cast away by them; very sad and irresponsible. Yet the prophet clearly predicts this stone will become the “Chief Cornerstone”, even though rejected by the builders — and that it will be marvelous in the eyes of some…and these will not “make haste”; to hurry, or even “to flee in alarm”. Apparently, those, who believe, will be at peace, they will be Relaxed.
The Lord Jesus said that our identification with Him would cause us to be hated and rejected too. And in this world, there are quite a few modern “builders” who have also rejected the “Chief Cornerstone”, so we can expect that they will reject and abhor us who belong to Him. But the prophet Isaiah said that believers in this Precious Cornerstone will not make haste, or flee in terror; instead, their belief, their faith, their trust will make them relaxed.
Is that you?
Be God’s Messenger!
Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying,
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?
Jonah preached his 8 word sermon “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” and the Ninevites were struck with the fear of the Lord and moved to complete repentance.
The king stood up (a sign of his serious intent), removed his royal robes (a sign of humility), covered himself with sackcloth (a sign of mourning), and sat in the dust (a sign of repentance). Then, according to the King’s edict, every soul in Nineveh responded with desperate fasting. It’s hard to imagine that level of conviction coming upon an entire metropolis of over 120,000 people. But what followed was the greatest revival in history. Every one in the city got saved! This seems so impossible at every level. The whole story of Jonah is utterly fantastic from beginning to end…almost like a fairytale.
But we know it isn’t a fairytale.The Lord Himself clearly refers to Jonah’s ministry as a historical fact; Luke 11:29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
Through it, God is inspiring us for the days we live in. Look around, isn’t the whole world going the way of ancient Nineveh? Isn’t the wickedness and moral erosion around us just as horrifying as the evil deeds of the Assyrians? Can God’s judgment be far away?
And what were the chances of Nineveh’s revival taking place? If Jonah, who knew God’s mercy and grace as a prophet, was against it, who would give the Ninevites a ghost of a chance for salvation? Many of us undoubtedly feel the same way about most of our modern cities. We’ve stopped believing that God can reach the unreachable or do the impossible. Instead, we say, “It’s Nineveh. It’s hopeless?” What can we honestly expect in these “Days of Noah and Lot”?
The prophet Daniel, I believe, has an answer for us in these End Times:
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.
It took Jonah a while to get there, but he finally did shine the righteousness of God into a wicked city; and he led many to righteousness.
Our God still has some plans with “fairytale” dimensions. If we can get over our cynicism, apathy, judgmental attitude, and unbelief, there are still a few Nineveh’s in our future, I believe. I have no illusions about the strength of those negative qualities in us, or the desperate evil in our modern cities. But there are some whose identification with the Lord in His death, just like Jonah, who will lead many to righteousness, just as he did.
Fight On The Hidden Battlefield — And WIN!
1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
Have you ever heard of the Valley of Elah? It’s the valley near Bet Shemesh where David defeated Goliath, yet this historic battlefield is virtually untouched in Israel. During the rainy season, a brook runs through the midst of the valley, however, it dries up during the summer. This brook is very likely the one from which David chose his five smooth stones – one of which was used to kill Goliath. Yet, this historic place has no landmarks, no churches – people drive past it all the time unaware of it’s biblical or historic significance.
The present “invisibility” of this battlefield causes me to reflect on the fact that David’s battle with Goliath was also won in an “invisible” place…the place of David’s faith. Isn’t it true, most of the battles we face are won or lost in the spiritual realm — on a hidden battlefield where we wage war in our prayer closets? Spiritual victories in our prayer closets won’t necessarily result in monuments marking them, but those victories will be well remembered in Heaven, and will leave dynamic memorials of faith in our hearts!
Is there a spiritual Goliath facing you today? If so, remember where the battlefield lies, hidden – in your prayer life! Stand strong and firm in devoted prayer…and the victory will be won – fight on the spiritual battlefield, where the greatest victory of all, Jesus own triumph on the cross, has already prepared the way for yours!
Get Your Eye Re-centered On Him!
Daniel 9:26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
The Book of Daniel prophesied in this passage, that the Messiah will come and be cut off, and then the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary (the temple) will be destroyed. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army led by Titus in 70 AD. Consequently the Messiah of Israel, whoever he is, had to have come before the year 70 AD. There is only one person whose identity and life perfectly fits the description and timing contained in this prophecy; no one else even comes close. This same Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”,
ride a donkey into Jerusalem Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. and die for the sins of the world
Isaiah 53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
He fulfilled at least 100 other prophecies at His first coming. He is Jesus of Nazareth.
But for nearly 2,000 years most of Jesus’s own Jewish people have been searching and waiting in vain for their Messiah, blind to His true identity and first appearing.
Now we who do know Him might look with condescension on our Jewish neighbors, but we ought to be careful that we’re not making the same mistake in a way; waiting for a fulfillment or a promise that has already come, and missing it because of blindness, jealousy, worldliness or pride. Jesus is our fulfillment in life; having received Him and known Him, have we still missed that reality?
Don’t forget to center your life and your hope on Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE! With so much work to be done, let’s make sure our lives are centered!
Leave Your Sledgehammers Home!
1 Cor 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
Ephesians 2:21-22 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
What an amazing thought that a holy and infinite God dwells within our bodies when we come to faith! This awesome God so desires to inhabit our very beings … wow!
Now imagine how that God is constructing this magnificent temple of living stones, believers around the world, and fitting us together into a masterpiece; stones of every color, every size, and differing weight, and fitting them TIGHTLY and perfectly together for His glory!
Imagine walking into a glorious Temple, a visual masterpiece exemplifying His temple of Living stones…and gazing at the splendor of gold, silver and precious gems … imagine the awe of the beauty you’re taking in!
Now brace yourself and imagine a person entering this glorious place, taking a sledgehammer and smashing the walls … hitting every stone … doing all he can to desecrate and destroy all this wonder and beauty … you’d say it’s the height of insanity, a massive blasphemy against the magnificent work of the Creator!
But how often do we ourselves as His body pick up our hammers, big and small, and do this destructive work?
There is a proverb of Solomon – “Life and death are in the power of the tongue”. Our tongues can become “hammers” of destruction and death to His precious children, His Holy Bride. in the Temple of God, His Body.
Words can build up … and sadly, can also destroy!
Friend, use words, not as hammers of destruction, but as skillful building tools inspired by the Holy Spirit to build one another up … polishing each and every precious stone in God’s Temple. Our Lord is a builder, the Living Word who says, “Let there be! And it IS! …so let us also be aware before we open our mouths to speak, as we will be judged for every idle word! We have the words of life to speak into anyone’s life today. And “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
Beware Of Your Thoughts!
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Picture this — you come home from a long day of work — you walk into your living room — plop down on your couch in exhaustion — and there in the corner of the room — your eyes are drawn to something moving — it’s a snake! Do you say to yourself, “Oh, I’m too tired to worry about that now, I’ll deal with it later?” Of course not! You jump up right away, find a bat or something, alert your family, call the neighbors, and start praying with all your might! It’s a life-threatening situation!
Though it may sound extreme, negative thoughts, which are lies, opposed to God’s truth and character, should be treated the same way when they enter our minds. We ought to immediately sense their danger and rise to action; take that thought captive and bring it under submission to the truth of God’s word. These thoughts are as poisonous to our minds and souls as snake bites are to our bodies. If we realize that danger, we’ll be extremely vigilant to watch what we allow to sneak into our minds and remain there. Thoughts cannot be taken captive until they appear and are recognized. So we need to watch them carefully and consider whether they’re good and true or not.
Bad thinking comes in many forms. Dangerous thoughts can be obvious and easily recognized as sinful and evil or destructive, lustful, vengeful, spiteful, and vain; or they can be subtle as snakes, quietly lying in the background like clever rationalizations or spiritual pride. Whatever form they take is dangerous to our spiritual well being, and this word from Paul exhorts us to deal with them on the spot, just as if a snake had entered the house.
Your mind is active and thinking during every waking hour, (and also of course in your dreams). Developing a habit of watchfulness over your thinking is a challenging discipline that will change your life and protect your spiritual house. Knowing the word of God is a tremendous help since the word contains God’s thoughts which are the corrective for our bad and wrong thinking. So pay attention! What was that my mind just told me? Is that true and good, blessed and holy…or is it a snake? Respond accordingly…and fast!
Look Up! Do You See Yourself At The Base Of His Mountain.
Rejoice, This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made!
Psalm 69:32 The humble shall see this and be glad;
And you who seek God, your hearts shall live.
There is an important lesson here and in other places of God’s Word, namely that humility and gladness go together. What do the humble and the joyous have in common? They both lookup. The humble are those who don’t look down on anyone. The truly humble look up all the time. They have to look up because their eyes are on God, and He’s above them. The joyous are always looking up as well, otherwise, they wouldn’t be rejoicing.
The joyous are believing the Good News, so they rejoice! The prideful, however, are those who think they’re above everything else and so they look down on people. The prideful are connected to the others who look down, the cynical, the doubting, the despairing, the depressed, the sorrowful, and the hopeless. In the same way that the humble and the joyous go together, so do pride and despair. Humility leads to joy. Pride leads to despair.
Friend, Let’s get our eyes off of ourselves, off of our problems, off of the world around us. Let’s fix our eyes on Him, the Redeemer of our souls. Those who look up in humility, also lookup in joy! Together, let’s fix our eyes on Him and be glad!
Find Your Peace! His Peace!
Phillipians 4:5 Let your gracious attitude be known to all people. The Lord is near:
6 Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving.
7 Then God’s peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in union with the Messiah Jesus.
“Don’t be anxious”…even though it’s a perfectly natural response to mounting threats; sickness, finances, employment, uncertainty, emotional stress, family crises…Nevertheless, it says, “Don’t be anxious about anything”. Instead, pray!
But does that really work? How many can affirm, even testify, that praying relieves anxiety about real and present threats and dangers? Anxiety is a powerful emotional condition, even expressing in physical symptoms; stomach upsets, cramps, heart palpitations, headaches, ruminations, muscle contractions, indigestion, cold extremities, dilated pupils, numbness, emotional outbursts, fits of anger, etc. etc. And there are all kinds of prescribed and/or self medications, including everything from beer to valium, or simply the internet…
But is prayer really and truly an effective solution for anxiety? If you can honestly answer “Yes”, you are not a novice at praying.
Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
When you pour out your heart to someone, is time a factor? When you know she’s really listening and caring about your situation, and has something to offer, do you expect to feel better after you have emptied your soul? It sounds simple, even perfunctory, but praying out your anxiety implies really trusting the Person you’re talking to, and taking the time to empty your heart and soul before Him. That’s what God wants you to do.
If and when you do that, and thoroughly, you may find yourself in a peace (a “shalom”) which passes comprehension, because you hardly expected it when you started out. You didn’t know to get the feeling until you tried it. What’s amazing about this passage is the hidden mystery of that Shalom, a Hebrew word with such wonderful compound meaning it requires a boatload of English words to be inadequately translated: peace, completeness, prosperity, safety, contentment, health, blessing, and rest, among others.
See if you can manage to experience this when anxiety strikes. Test it and see for yourself if praying can really alleviate your fears. God’s peace is there for you and it will pass all understanding; and most especially in these times … wouldn’t it be great to constantly walk in that Peace, His Peace?
Go Into The Highways And Byways!
1 Samuel 22:1 David left from there and escaped to the Cave of Adullam. His brothers and all his father’s family heard about this and went down to him there. 2 Everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was malcontent gathered around him, and he became their leader. There were about 400 men
When David was anointed king over Israel, he didn’t take his place at the throne immediately. He had to wait, and bide his time, until Saul was removed from power, before arriving at his destined place as King. Like His father David, Jesus was received as Israel’s king/messiah at the triumphal entry, often called “Palm Sunday”, and then, “anointed” King of the Jews, ironically receiving His true title from the Romans, while hanging on a cross. But He is still waiting to reveal His identity as King on earth, during the Millennial reign when His kingdom will replace the kingdoms of this world at His second advent.
Revelation 11:15 When the seventh angel blew his trumpet, there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The world’s kingdom has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will rule forever and ever.”
Now, while David was waiting for his kingship to become a reality, he was chased and persecuted by Saul, driven into the wild, outlying places in the Land. There, he found other outcasts who became his followers; men who were in distress, in debt, or discontented in one way or another; those who felt they had no part in this life any longer.
Rather than casting these people away from him, because, after all he was a king, David drew them to himself, by the anointing on his life and the strength of his character; and they, of all people, recognized that he was the chosen King of Israel. David’s true kingly nature embraced these lowly men and transformed them into a mighty army.
Jesus does exactly the same with us, even while He has been rejected as king of this world. Outcasts, broken, indebted, despised, discontented people 1 Corinthians 1:26 are chosen out of the world, and transformed by Him into mighty vessels to serve his kingdom purposes while we wait and pray for His kingdom to come.
Friend, Perhaps you’ve been in distress, or struggling with debt, or discontented with life…have you met the outcast King of the Jews? Have you decided to follow the One whose own didn’t receive Him? Have you recognized that His present kingdom is not of this world, because He’s waiting for His house to be filled, before He returns? If you, an outcast, have recognized the One whom the world has not known, press on, following and serving Him! He has called you to be a mighty man of war, as were the men who surrounded King David. Only remember, your battle is not with flesh and blood.
Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination.
The Best Is Yet To Come.
Revelation 21:3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say,
“See, the tent of God is among humans!
He will make his home with them,
and they will be his people.
God himself will be with them,
and he will be their God.
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There won’t be death anymore.
There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain,
because the first things have disappeared.”
One of the mysteries of God is how He has placed the prophetic clock according to the Hebrew calendar. The feast of Sukkot is a harvest feast, which is also known as the feast of ingathering. This is one of the few feasts that has not yet been fulfilled prophetically.
To give you an idea of how God is working according to the Hebrew calendar when Messiah was crucified and became the Lamb of God for the world, it was on Passover. When He rose from the dead, it was precisely on the feast of first fruits. After His ascension to heaven, and 50 days after Passover was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost or the Hebrew feast of Shavuot. This indicated the beginning of the harvest season. We have been in the midst of the great harvest for the past 2000 years.
In the world, the focus of life is — NOW! The world focuses on youth, beauty, health, and ability. In the autumn of life, there’s less celebration because according to the world, life goes downhill. But with God, it’s completely opposite!
God is saving the best for last! While things of the world get worse, become old, and fade away. The things of God only get better! Rejoice and look toward the day when there is no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain because in Him all these things will pass away. Throw away all the worldly pursuits and pursue God because the greatest celebration awaits us!
Friend, Keep going, even if it gets tough — because it only gets better in God!
God’s Terrifying Appearance
we Pray He Comes In His Stormwind
Nahum 1:2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD,
an avenger is the LORD, full of wrath;
The LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries,
and rages against his enemies;
3 The LORD is slow to anger, yet great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
In stormwind and tempest he comes,
and clouds are the dust at his feet;
4 He roars at the sea and leaves it dry,
and all the rivers he dries up.
Laid low are Bashan and Carmel,
and the bloom of Lebanon withers;
5 The mountains quake before him,
and the hills dissolve;
The earth is laid waste before him,
the world and all who dwell in it.
6 Before his wrath, who can stand firm,
and who can face his blazing anger?
His fury is poured out like fire,
and boulders break apart before him.
7 The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
a refuge on the day of distress,
Taking care of those who look to him for protection,
8 when the flood rages;
He makes an end of his opponents,
and pursues his enemies into darkness.
Enter His Presence, You’re Completely Covered!
Hebrews 9:24-28 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another– He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Yom Kippur, which literally means Day of Coverings, can be a day of deep reflection on what the Lord has done for us. As Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago, the Gospel describes how the veil in the Temple was torn in two. This profound spiritual event reveals that the Lord gave all whose sins are covered by His blood access to the Holy of Holies, as He had become our High Priest in addition to being, Himself, the perfect sacrifice for sin.
Although the Temple was not finally destroyed until 70 AD, Orthodox Judaism recounts in the Talmud that, beginning in 30 AD, God no longer accepted the animal sacrifices commanded in the Torah for the Day of Atonement. Throughout the ages, while the Temple stood, the High Priest would cast lots for the two goats which were to be offered as sacrifices on Yom Kippur. One lot was for the goat to be sacrificed on the altar, for YHVH — and the other, called “Azazel”, the goat cast out into the wilderness for the removal of sins
Leviticus 16:7 Then he is to take the two male goats and present them in the Lord’s presence at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 Aaron is to cast lots over the two male goats—one lot for the Lord and the other one for the scapegoat.[a] 9 Aaron is then to bring the male goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and offer it as a sin offering. 10 The male goat on which the lot fell for the scapegoat is to be brought alive into the Lord’s presence to make atonement for himself. Then he is to send it into the wilderness.”
Traditionally, as the Priest cast the lot, finding it in his right hand was a good omen, indicating that God had accepted the sacrifice. However, if the High Priest drew it in his left hand, this indicated the Lord’s displeasure and even rejection of the sacrifice. For the 40 years after the sacrifice of Jesus, the Talmud records that the lot was taken in the left hand of the High Priest. The same result for 40 years, a lot cast into the left hand, carries a statistical probability of 1 in 1,099,511,627,776 — or one in a trillion chance!
There were also other significant miraculous signs described in this tract, that something of major significance had taken place related to the most critical sacrifice in the Temple order. It is clear to both Jews and Messianic believers that God was saying something important to the Jewish people in 30AD; something important enough to be recorded in the Talmud and something which demanded an explanation.
We believe that the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, 40 years after the sacrifice of Jesus, followed a period of testimony and testing for the Jewish people concerning the fact that the sacrificial system had been consummated by Jesus death on the cross. 40 is a typical number of testing throughout the Bible.
While animal sacrifices continued to be offered in the Temple while it stood, and many believing Jews continued to participate in them, it was clear that something new and definitive had opened the way for all people to enter the Holiest place and to know the Lord intimately and personally. Without intending to, the Talmud offers historical support for the significance and reality of the events in 30 AD which consummated the sacrificial system given in the Torah; i.e. the death and resurrection of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who died for the sins of the whole world.
So enter into His presence boldly today with the full knowledge that the veil was torn — the sacrifice was provided — and the work was completed 2000 years ago in our Messiah Jesus!
Don’t Let The Crows Persuade You!
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you or abandon you.”
There is an old Persian fable of a hen, a mouse, and a rabbit who lived together in a little house in the woods. They shared all the work and lived in harmony. The chicken found the firewood, the mouse brought the water from a nearby brook, and the rabbit cooked the meals. Each did his work faithfully and contentedly.
One day, while the hen was out in the forest looking for wood, a nosy crow approached her and asked what she was doing. When he heard, the crow began caw, “That’s not fair! You’re doing the hardest part of the work! That rabbit and mouse are taking advantage of you!
The chicken continued about her work, but try as she would, she could not stop thinking about what the crow said. These feelings festered and festered, and by the time she got home, she was so upset that she burst out in tears, screaming, “It’s not fair! I do the hardest work of the three of us! That’s it! I’m not going to gather this heavy firewood anymore!”
Discontent spreads, as you know, and immediately the rabbit and mouse also began to argue that they had been doing the hardest work and that they were not going to do their jobs anymore either. The three argued until they were tired and finally decided to switch jobs – from now on the rabbit would gather the firewood, the hen would bring the water and the mouse would cook.
As the rabbit hopped into the forest for wood, a fox trailed him, caught him, and ate him. The chicken put the pail into the creek, but the current pulled the pail down under and the chicken with it. The mouse, while sitting on the edge of the big pot of soup, lost his balance and fell in.
Discontentment not only destroyed their happiness but their very lives.
Don’t Listen To The Crows!
we all have a job to do here. No job is greater than the next — no person is greater than the next, no matter what those crows might tell you. We are all working for the same King and we can worship Him even while gathering firewood, if that’s what He’s called us to do!
Confound The Wise Of The World!
1 Corinthians 1:26 Brothers, think about your own calling. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is nonsense in the world to make the wise feel ashamed. God chose what is weak in the world to make the strong feel ashamed. 28 And God chose what is insignificant in the world, what is despised, what is nothing, in order to destroy what is something, 29 so that no one may boast in God’s presence.
If He was a man of the world, Jesus Christ would have chosen the elite of His day to accomplish His mission — however, He used simple fishermen. These men were considered uneducated, lacking “social status”, wealth or worldly distinction of any kind — yet these “simple” men were the ones the Lord selected to build the Kingdom of God.
When the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, God didn’t send an army to deliver them, He sent a single man. But a single man of God was shown to be greater than the most powerful kingdom on Earth.
Throughout the Bible, we read of the Lord choosing and using the weak things of the world to confound and shame the wise and powerful. God seems to love revealing His awesome power through humble vessels so that no flesh can glory in His presence.
Don’t allow the enemy to convince you that God cannot use you because you are “flawed”, weak, or seemingly inconsequential. No, instead, remember that He uses the base, despised, nonentities of this world, ordinary, often broken, people…to do extraordinary things. Our God is not looking at your wealth, your social status or your education — He’s looking at your Heart! If your heart is willing and your life is available, then He is more than able to perform miraculous work through you for His Kingdom’s sake. With so much work to be done, don’t allow the enemy to stifle or steal the Lord’s vision for your life –- He has a plan to use you to confound the wise of this world, and to bring to naught the things that are!
Don’t listen to the crows.