Friday, April 18, 2014
Mark 15:33, 34 NKJV Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
This week in my own personal devotional time I have been reflecting on the question, “What if Jesus had not died for us?”. I believe I can see through these two short verses of scripture how life would be without knowing Jesus as my own personal Savior and Lord.
The scripture says that when it came close to the time for Jesus to die from the crucifixion He was experiencing that there was darkness over the whole land. The word “darkness” in the Greek is skotos and is defined in it's simplest definition as in a physical sense “darkness of night” and spiritually “the absence of moral or spiritual values” and is best defined as being under "the powers of darkness".
Jesus is described as the “light of men” in John 1:4. The scripture records that “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.
John 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
So, we see from scriptural records that Jesus is the “light” and when He was crucified the “light” was removed from the world and “darkness” covered the whole earth. Darkness came upon the whole world because God turned His back on the “light”, His very own Son, because of the sin that He had placed on Him to pay the price for man's redemption. Darkness, or sin, and Light, or righteousness, cannot co-exist. In the darkness that came over Jesus and the world around Him we see a picture of what life is like without Jesus. The darkness in the last days before Jesus' return is said in Isaiah to be “deep darkness” that will cover the earth and the people. (Isaiah 60:2)
A life separated from God mean darkness, or the absence of light, ignorance of and the absence of spiritual values; immorality, ungodliness; people who are under the powers of darkness and the end result, misery in hell. Yes, Jesus descended into hell, the home of the “powers of darkness, as well as experiencing the darkness of being separated from His heavenly Father. It is said in Ephesians 4:8, 9 that He descended into the lower parts of the earth and when He ascended, or was risen from the dead, that He led captivity captive. He conquered death, hell and the grave for you and me! If Jesus had not died for us we would be doomed to a life eternally separated from God, living under the “powers of darkness”.
Looking further into this definition of those who live life without Jesus, let's look at what Ephesians has to say about it.
Ephesians 2:12 AMP [Remember] that you were at that time separated (living apart) from Christ [excluded from all part in Him], utterly estranged and outlawed from the rights of Israel as a nation, and strangers with no share in the sacred compacts of the [Messianic] promise [with no knowledge of or right in God's agreements, His covenants]. And you had no hope (no promise); you were in the world without God.
When Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”, it was because He was experiencing what a person without God in his life experiences. That separation from God is like a heavy darkness upon a person's life. There is no hope because God is the God of all hope and when God is not in your life, you live as best you can with what you have to work with, no hope, no promise of life being any better, no rights to all that Jesus died to give you, just in the world without God, floundering around grasping at whatever the world has to offer. A picture of darkness, morally and spiritually.
God's word says that God has put eternity in the hearts of the sons of men (Ecc. 3:11) and we know from what Jesus said in John 3:3-8 that there is a physical birth for man, which is referred to as being born of water, but also that there needs to be a spiritual birth in order to enter into the kingdom of God. He described it to Nicodemus as being “born of the Spirit”. When one is “born of the Spirit” the darkness that had covered their lives is removed and the “light” comes to live within their heart. This is what God said about those who are “born again” being delivered from the “power of darkness” in Colossians 1:13-14:
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus' death on that cross purchased our “redemption”, or bought us back from the “power of darkness” and set us in the “light” of His Son! He traded places with us on that cross and became sin, represented by the “darkness” that came over Him, in order for us to be able to be transferred from darkness to light through the experience of being re-born, or spiritually awakened. II Corinthians 5:21 says that God made “Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
If Jesus had not died for us on that cross, we would have been forever doomed to life under the “power of darkness”. There would have been no hope for us to ever live a life in God's presence, in the Light, but forever doomed to being separated from Him, living in spiritual and moral depravity. Life without God, forever and ever and ever, never ending!
In John's description of Jesus he says that He is the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world”. John goes on to say this about man's relationship to Jesus:
John 1:11-13 NKJV He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Some have still not received Jesus today. Sadly, for them the Word says they will spend eternity in “outer darkness”, in a furnace of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:40-42).
Dearly Beloved, this is not a picture of what I would like to experience or what I want to see happen to anyone else. This experience of being “re-born” requires a choice to be made on this side of eternity. Romans 10:13 says that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. Have you called on the name of the Lord to save you?
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eternal life in Christ Jesus is what God wants for you and for me; that we might experience life in His presence for eternity, rather than life in outer darkness, separated from Him for eternity. Two places to choose from; one in darkness, one in the light of Christ Jesus. Which will you choose?
Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Do you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for your sins, was buried and rose again, triumphant over death, hell and the grave to give you eternal life? Have you confessed Him as your own “personal” Lord and Savior? These are the two questions that God requires to be settled in your life before crossing over through death into eternity. You can't ride into eternity on someone else's salvation experience; it must be your own. Church attendance won't purchase it; good works can not buy it; only acceptance of Jesus will secure your place in His presence for eternity. Religious works are public, but a relationship with Jesus is personal.
If you have not made this decision to receive Jesus before you die, your ultimate resting place for all eternity will be in “outer darkness”, separated from God forever and ever. Will you make the decision today that will give you eternal life in the presence of God for all eternity? If so, please pray this prayer with me to secure your place in Christ Jesus.
Father, I come before You recognizing that I am a sinner, separated from You because of my sin. I realize that I need to accept Jesus as the sacrifice, or payment for my sin. So, right now I believe that He is the Son of God and that He was crucified for my redemption; He was buried and conquered hell in my place and was risen to new life that I might experience all that He died to give me. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive me for my sin, to come into my heart, into my life and fill me with Your new life today. I confess Jesus Christ as my own personal Lord and Savior and I thank You for saving me. From this day forward I will live my life walking the in light of Jesus Christ to be forever in His presence throughout eternity. Thank You for loving me and for dying for me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Exodus 13:21, 22 NKJV And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
I love to read the stories of God's presence, protection and provision for His people that are recorded in the Old Testament. I see such encouragement for the challenges that I, as His child, face today when I look back at how He provided for His people in times past. Reading the stories of how God ministered to His people gives me faith to believe for the same for me.....and for you!
From these two verses I see that God's presence, protection and provision is always with me because it was with the Israelites when they were headed into uncharted territory after leaving the bondage they had been under in Egypt. How many times do we face unknown territory and wonder what we should do or say or where we should go? And yet, God is right there to lead, protect and provide what we need.
We see another picture of His presence, protection and provision through the ministry of Jesus Christ as He walked on this earth, ministering to the needs of those to which He encountered. In fact, the Word says in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus is the “express image of His person”, speaking of God the Father. Jesus is and was God the Father in the flesh! He represented the Father to the people through His ministry. In Malachi 3:6, the Word records that God the Father said “For I am the LORD, I do not change;”. And again we see that recorded through the life of Jesus, who is God the Son, in Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Jesus Himself recorded for us in John 14:16-18 that when He went back to Heaven He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit that we might not be left as orphans but would have the presence, protection and provision of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! We have not been left alone....God is still making provision for His people!
God's Spirit speaks to the hearts of those who need salvation today. He draws them to Jesus that they can be ushered into the family of God through receiving Him as Savior and Lord. He speaks the truth to our hearts to show us God's right way of doing things. I've had people tell me before that receiving Jesus is not “their way”, but what's really important is not that we try to achieve salvation through our own way, but through His. Only God's way works!
John 1:12, 13 But as many as receiving Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Salvation in it's purest form is being born again, not in a physical form, but of the spirit. We each have a physical man that can be seen as we look upon each other, but the spirit man can't be seen by the natural eye. That is what John is referring to in this verse. The works of man come from the physical, but the work of God arises from the spirit, being born again, anew through the blood of Jesus and in receiving Him into our hearts, believing that He is God in the flesh and confessing Him as Lord! God's Spirit draws people to the saving knowledge of Jesus as He convicts them of their need for the Savior!
Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5, 6 that “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
That's the beginning point that each one of us needs to have to be a part of God's family.....being born again. Then God's Spirit leads and guides each child of God in the way they should go. He is described in the Amplified Bible as being our Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby! He is the person of the Godhead that is in the world today, working the Will of God in the lives of people. He is the One who leads us and guides us into all truth; empowers us to do the Will of the Father, ministers through us to touch and impact other people's lives for God's kingdom. He is the One who comforts us when we are hurting, who prays through us when we don't have words adequate enough to express ourselves, who helps us, strengthens us and fellowships with us! He is the One who baptizes us into the Body of Christ and immerses us into the ministry that God calls us to through anointing us and baptizing us with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
God's Spirit is a real person. Sometimes we refer to Him as “THE Holy Spirit”, but really His name is just “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost”. He's not an ethereal vapor, but the third person of the Godhead that makes His home inside our human spirits when we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord! He fills that void within our hearts that is the God-shaped vacuum designed for His presence only. It is through His ministry that we find God's presence, protection and provision for today's challenges!
1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
God's Spirit within our hearts is the guarantee that we belong to the Father and that we have been placed in Christ Jesus through salvation. He is the Promise of the Father as described in Acts 1:4, 5:
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Holy Spirit in New Testament Church manifestation is like the wind, baptizing believers with tongues of fire and evidences of a new form of speech, utterances that only God understands that we refer to as speaking in tongues; a new boldness to speak of the mighty workings of God and new manifestations of His power through the gifts of His Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. You can't see Him because He is Spirit, but you can see the evidences of His operation in your life.
It is recorded in Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”
Jesus of Nazareth is Christ's earthly name. It shows His humanity and how God gave Him the power to minister by anointing Him with His Spirit and “dunamis”, dynamic, explosive power that arises from the Spirit of God to do the things that God had assigned Him to do described as going out to do good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. It is by the power of God's Spirit that Jesus was able to go to the cross to secure the payment for the sin of mankind. The purpose that Jesus had in becoming our Savior and Lord was accomplished through the anointing of God's Spirit. And the anointing of the Spirit that was upon Jesus' human, earthly life is the same anointing that God places on individuals today that He empowers with His Spirit to do the things that He has called them to do.
And so we see God working through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for God never changes! He is always with us! Each member of the Godhead is a person of the Trinity with different roles to play in the lives of people; God the Father who is the Creator of all mankind; God the Son who paid for the sin of mankind through His redemptive work on the cross of Calvary; and God the Holy Spirit who draws people to Jesus for salvation and empowers them with His anointing to minister in the name of Jesus; who leads, guides, directs and communes with His people. God is still living and breathing new life; new protection and new provision into His people!
In what stage are you in your understanding of who God is, what Jesus did to secure your salvation and who the Holy Spirit is to you and in you? Can you see the role of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you walking in the fullness of God's presence, protection and provision today? What member of the Godhead do you need more evidence of in your life?
Father, I thank You for the presence, protection and provision of each member of the Godhead in my life. I know You as Father, as Son and Savior and as Holy Spirit. Thank You for meeting my every need through all the roles that You play in my life. Thank you for creating me, for saving me and for living within me! You are my God; my All in All, the One who knows me best and loves me most! Holy Spirit, You live within me and empower me to do the work of ministry that You have given me! Thank You for your fire that burns within me; that fills me to overflowing with Your presence and that anoints me to go forward in the name of Jesus to do the same works that He did. To You, Lord, be the glory, honor and praise! In Jesus' name Amen.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Judges 6:11-16 NLT Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the oak tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash had been threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!” “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But LORD,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Gideon was so afraid and had such a low self-esteem that he was hiding from his enemy down in the winepress trying to thresh wheat. Wheat was threshed high up on a hill by throwing it up in the air and letting the wind separate and carry away the chaff from the wheat seed. Here he was trying to hide from the enemy and still provide for his family.
Have you ever felt like Gideon? Have you ever felt like the enemy has stolen every thing that you have ever counted important in your life? Have you ever felt like you were the least important person on the face of the earth? Gideon had such a picture of defeat in his mind that he couldn't see past the “why's” of what had happened. Maybe “why, God, why?” has become bigger in your mind, as it was in Gideon's, than the thought of “who, God, who?” should be. God sent a special messenger to Gideon to deliver an important message: “You don't have to hide from your enemies. I will empower you to defeat them. It is because of My empowering you and sending you out that you will win over the enemy.”
God has that same message to send to you today! He has placed within you the potential for greatness. It is by His strength and empowerment that you can do the things that seem to be impossibilities. Don't allow a disability or lack of funds to hinder you from doing the great things that God has given you the dreams to fulfill. How do you see yourself? As Gideon, the least of the least? God had a different picture in mind for Gideon to meditate on.
Judges 6:34 NKJV But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.
The original Hebrew text for the phrase, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon” actually translates as “the Spirit of the LORD clothed Himself with Gideon”. Gideon was a different person when clothed with the Spirit of the Lord. When Gideon aligned himself with God's viewpoint of who he was empowered with God's Spirit he was able to believe that what God had said to him would actually come to pass. He dared to believe that God's viewpoint of him was greater than anything he thought about himself or could see happening around him. It changed him from the inside out and he began to live out of the truth of God's word rather than his natural senses.
Judges 8:10-12 NLT By this time Zebah and Zalmunna were in Kardor with the remnant of 15,000 warriors—all that remained of the allied armies of the east—for 120,000 had already been killed. Gideon circled around by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehahm, taking the Midiante army by surprise. Zebah and Zalmunna, the two Midianite kings fled, but Gideon chased them down and capture all their warriors.
Wow, here we see a different picture; the picture of what God had called Gideon to begin with, a Mighty hero; one who had saved his people from their enemies! What a difference it makes when we see ourselves as God sees us and allow Him to empower us to do what we feel is impossible. Gideon had to “dare to believe” that what God said would happen in his life.
What do you need to “dare to believe” for from God today? Are you living out of your past failures and disappoints? Do you have a dream that is unfulfilled? Do you feel as if you are about to go under for the third time? What do you need to change in your life? Is your enemy bigger than your God? Maybe it's the enemy of poverty, or sickness or mental anguish. Whatever enemy you are fighting you can “dare to believe” God for His delivering power and victory in your very own life and situation. You are no different that Gideon. God is still in the delivering and empowering business! But you must choose to step out and follow Him. Follow His directions even when it looks like it's an impossibility. God will not force you to believe and He will not drag you out of your complacency or fear. He has a part to play and you do as well! Your part is to believe and act on that faith and His part is to work the miracle as He cloths Himself with you. He is like the hand inside the glove and you are the glove!
The miraculous is awaiting you.....will you “dare to believe” God today?
Father, I thank You for never changing. Your word says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! And You have said in Acts 10:34 that You are no respecter of persons. What you have done in one person's life You will do in another's. Thank You for being faithful to Your word.
Father, I bring those before You today who need a miracle in their life. I pray that they will reach out to You and believe You for the miraculous. All power is embodied in You; there is nothing that can stand against You and You have said that all things are possible to him who believes. Father, grant them the strength and courage to believe and act on Your word. Empower them for the greatness that You have placed within them. Do the miraculous in Your people today, Father!
Thank You for the victory, Lord. It is as we trust You and follow Your directions that You will move us forward into that good plan that You have for our lives. I pray that this will be their day of deliverance and salvation. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Have you thought about throwing in the towel, giving up out of frustration, recently? These thoughts often come to us in times of challenge and we think we can't go on, we can't persevere to the end, and we'll never make it to our goal.
I've had these thoughts myself as I reflect on the distance ahead of me to my goal in achieving my bachelor's degree. I have a bit of a respite between courses and looking into the future I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. It's not the light of an oncoming train but the light of the victory that is awaiting me as I press on to finish my goal. During this time I have reflected on some points that I would like to present to you that will encourage you to continue to press on, to pursue that goal that you once dreamed of attaining.
Re-visit the vision!
Proverbs 29:18 NKJV Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;...
What revelation or vision do you have that has motivated you to press forward? Have you lost sight of that original goal? Go back and re-visit it! Get a picture in your mind of achieving the goal, of winning the fight and gaining the victory. God said the people who lost sight of the vision cast off restraint; they start doing whatever feels good because they have no structure or set plan to achieve their goals. Begin to dream again and see yourself winning the fight. See yourself in the winner's circle, sitting on the victor's throne! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! God's word says in Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” In what things? The challenges of life, the things that try to separate us from His love and purpose for our lives. He has already deemed us as winners! Now walk it out....re-visit the vision!
Re-calculate the cost!
Luke 14:28-30 NKJV “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it--”lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, “saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”
I prayed with a lady recently who was discouraged in finishing her vision. She was so close to the end and the heat of the battle had gotten intense. It was at this time that she needed to reflect on the cost of finishing verses the cost of what she had already spent, both financially and in the emotional and intellectual realm. Is giving up worth the cost of what you have already achieved? Or would the cost of finishing be less that the cost of the time and money you've already put into the effort to get this far? Jesus was faced with weighing the cost of going to the cross to save mankind verses giving in to his fleshly desires to save Himself from the pain of the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says that He pressed on past the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. He set His face like flint and pressed on even in the midst of intense suffering, pain and shame so He could achieve the goal of the vision and purpose of God for His life and as a result you and I can have the joy of life eternal spent in the presence of God because the price that He paid redeemed us from the sin of mankind and gave us a place in eternity forever sealed in Him. Re-calculate the cost! It's worth your effort!
Re-new the mind!
Romans 12:2 NKJV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
What do you need to think on to renew your mind? Well, God's word tells us in Philippians 4:8 that it is the good things of life that we are to focus on; the things that are noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Negative thoughts will hinder your growth! Positive thinking reinforces the vision. You have an enemy that Jesus said in John 10:10 only comes to steal, kill and destroy your life. That is the devil's purpose and plan for every person's life because he hates people who are made in the image and likeness of God. But Jesus said in that same verse that He came to give us life and that more abundantly! We become what we think about ourselves. If our thoughts are negative and defeating we will become a negative, defeated person. But if our thoughts are positive and filled with God's thoughts of us we will see ourselves as winners, overcomers, people of destiny with a God-given purpose who are empowered by the Spirit of God to do extraordinary things! God's viewpoint of us is one of victory and empowerment! Renew your mind to the truth of God's word and shut out the voice of the enemy who brings discouragement and defeat!
Re-focus the efforts!
Hebrews 10:35-36 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward, For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.
It may seem that the climb is too steep to make it to the top, but when you re-focus your energy to do what is right to achieve the desired results you will find that God is there to help you gain the victory and arrive at your goal right on time! All of us can look into the past and see things that we wish we would have done differently and yet we can't go back and change those things. But we do have control over the choices that we make today that will result in the quality of life that we experience in our tomorrows. I remember when I was going into the prisons ministering the word of God to those who were incarcerated and would tell them that the choices they make today would determine the quality of their tomorrows! They could very definitely relate to that statement because they could see how the choices they had made in the past had determined their place in prison and how it was affecting the quality of life they were living. No matter how difficult life seems we all have a responsibility to our quality of life to make choices that reflect the positive outcome we desire to see. No one can be blamed for your decisions but yourself. Likewise, no one can make the choices and effort for success that you want but you! When life seems to be all up hill look at where you've come from and the progress you've made!
The climb is worth the effort! The victory is worth the cost that you put into it! Don't give up before you reach the top! Re-focus your efforts! You can't fully embrace what God has for you in the future if you are constantly re-visiting the pain and disappointment of your past. Look forward and see yourself living out the good plan that God has for you!
Father, I thank you for the good plan that You have for each of our lives. I pray this morning for those who may be discouraged at where they are in life and are struggling to find the motivation to continue to press in to reach their goals. I ask that You would give them a renewed vision and help them to refocus their efforts to reach their destination. Father, I thank You for the presence of Your Spirit to lead, guide and empower us to win over life's challenges. Thank You for Your Word that when taken into our spirits gives us change in our hearts and lives and shows us the way You think and feel about us as Your children. Help us to depend on You and trust You for the strength that we need to continue on in the challenges of life.
I pray also for those who don't know You, who have never made Jesus the Lord and Savior of their lives. Father, Your plan and purpose for them is that they might come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. I pray that today would be that day of salvation for them, that they might choose to invite Jesus into their hearts so they can walk through this life and into eternity with a secure position in Christ Jesus that gives them a place in God's presence for all of eternity. Father, Your word says that You are not willing that any should perish but that all would come to salvation. You have done your part in giving Jesus to die for the sin of mankind, but they have a part in choosing to receive that salvation that gives them a destiny secure in heaven with You. I pray that all will receive today and be born again into life eternal in Christ Jesus.
Thank You, Father, for giving renewed hope to those who need encouragement today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
John 6:28, 29 NKJV Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
There are times in our lives when circumstances seem to cry out for us to DO something. Jesus told His disciples that their doing was not the important part, but that what they believed was the work they were to do. Why would He tell them the work they were to do was to believe in Him?
When we look at the background in which Jesus was instructing His disciples we see that they were seeking fulfillment; they were physically hungry and looking for food that would satisfy their hunger. They were confused about their physical needs being met and Jesus was trying to tell them that the real need they had was spiritual. They didn't understand that Jesus came to satisfy the hunger of our hearts and that contentment comes only through believing, trusting in Him to fulfill what they needed and that through believing or trusting in Him they would have all that they needed; physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and materially. Jesus came that we might have life and that more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 that when we seek God's kingdom, or the spiritual side of life, that the things that we have need of would be added to us; or our needs would be met through His provision as we seek or believe in Him. There is no need for worry when our trust is in Him.
What does it mean to believe? Sometimes we try to measure Bible truths by worldly definitions. The world would say to believe would be to have a mental assent or intellectual understanding of something. But the Biblical definition of “believe” is to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing); to commit to trust or put your trust in that person. Now that moves believing to a whole different level. When we believe with mental assent we keep what we know to be true in our minds. But when we believe by trusting in a person or what that person has said, we move believing to an action and not just head knowledge. As an example: I can look at a chair and say that I believe that it would hold me up when I sit in it and that would be belief as in “head knowledge” based on the construction of the chair, what it looks like and my mental deduction of it's ability to withstand my weight when I sit on it. But when I believe by the Biblical definition I would sit down in the chair and even lift my feet up off the floor because I trust in it to hold me up. One definition sees from the outside looking in and the other one sees from the inside looking out. Believing by Bible definition is placing my trust in Jesus, in all that He has said and done in relation to my need for provision; spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally and materially. His promises to me are YES and AMEN according to 2 Corinthians 1:19, 20!
Looking back on John 6:29 where Jesus said that the work they were to do was to “believe” in Him now makes more sense because we understand that believing is an action word rather than a passive state. Action actually flows from a heart that believes in Jesus and what He has said. Thus, the work of God that a believer would do flows from the heart of belief that trusts in what God has said.
Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Salvation comes through believing or trusting in the Lord Jesus as being the Son of God who was crucified and raised from the dead to give you salvation, righteousness in Him, and is put into practice, or made real in your life through the confession of your mouth of that heart belief.
John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
The Holy Spirit is resident within each born again believer and flows from their innermost being like rivers of living water when they “believe”. Trusting the Holy Spirit to flow freely from the believer comes as you put your trust in Him to do what He has said.
Mark 16:17, 18 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Ministry signs flow from the lives of “believers”, not “doubters”. Jesus said in John 14:12 that when we “believe in Him” the works that He did we would do also and even greater works.
John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
Later in John 6 Jesus went on to tell His disciples that what He had just told them about Him being the Bread of Life sent down from the Father to do His will would drive some away because they didn't believe and were offended by what He said. He asked those closest to Him, His twelve disciples, if they, too, wanted to go away. But Simon Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
John 6:69 “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Peter said they had come to “believe and know” that Jesus was who He said He was, the Son of the living God, and that because of that belief there was no other alternative but to follow Him. They had both the “head knowledge” and the “heart trust” in Him, in what He said, to the point of choosing Him above all that they might see or hear going on around them. Their focus was on their trust in Him.
What do you “believe” about Jesus today? Have you placed your trust in Him, first and foremost for salvation, for forgiveness of your sin? If so, what about the “work” of believing? Are you trusting that what He has placed within you, His Spirit, will flow freely from your innermost being? Are you living out of your heart trust in Him or your head knowledge? Ministering in His name flows from those who believe!
As “believers” each of us is at a different level in our faith walk. To believe for forgiveness of sin is where our faith walk begins. Then as we grow we are challenged to “believe” for different aspects of walking by faith. Sometimes we are challenged to “believe” or “trust” Him for other benefits of His redemptive act of dying on the cross for us. It might be a health challenge that we are facing, or a financial loss or setback. In those cases, we can turn to God's word and find the promise that assures us that His provision is there if we will just “believe”.
Matthew 8:16, 17 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”
Do you need healing for a physical infirmity or a demonic oppression? He healed the sick and delivered the demonized. This is a promise that you can “believe” or “place your trust in”.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
“According to” means “in a manner consistent with”! God supplies our need in a manner consistent with His riches by or through Christ Jesus. His riches never run out; He never sustains lack; He always has the supply that is needed to meet our needs and our assurance of that comes by looking at or “believing in” what Christ Jesus did in the finished work of the cross! He traded places with us, becoming sin, sickness and a curse for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He laid aside His deity to take our place on the cross. We deserved to die in our sin but He chose to trade places with us to die in our place that we might have life and that more abundantly!
Isaiah 43:10-13 NLT “But you are my witnesses, O Israel!” says the LORD. “And you are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other Savior. First I predicted your deliverance; I declared what I would do, and then I did it—I saved you. No foreign god has ever done this before. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the LORD. “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions.”
Hebrews 1:3 NLT The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.
Will you believe today?
Father, I thank You for delivering me from the power of darkness and conveying me into the Son of Your love. I thank You for paying the price, Lord Jesus, for my salvation and I thank You, Holy Spirit, for living within me and flowing from me to effect change in the hearts and lives of people today!
Father, I pray for those who may not know Jesus as Savior and Lord, that today might be their day of salvation, the day when they place their trust in Him as being the One true God who died to take their place on the cross as the punishment for their sin. I ask You to pull down the blinders that Satan has hung over their minds that is blinding them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, that they might come to salvation.
I pray also, for those who are struggling with needs today, Father, that they might see You as their need-meeter. And that they would “believe” the promises that You have given in Your word to supply their need. Father, for those who are sick in body I pray that they will “believe” that it is by the stripes of Jesus that they are healed and that they will see that Jesus carried their sicknesses that they might not have to carry them. I pray that Your word will become alive within them and effect the healing of their physical beings.
Father, for those who are oppressed by the devil, mentally and emotionally I ask that You would deliver them as they place their trust in You for freedom from all that the devil uses to oppress them. I pray that they would “believe” today that they are free in Christ Jesus!
Thank You, Father, for meeting the financial needs of those who may be experiencing loss of job or home or finances. Father, You have made provision for their every need and I thank You for meeting it!
Father, these things I bring before You this morning requesting in the name of Jesus and declaring that I believe that I receive when I pray. Amen.
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