Today my sweet sisters in Christ Jesus I want to explore with you Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi found in Philippians 2:1-11. The church was experiencing many of the same challenges you and I face as believers. Conflict, unforgiveness, pride, selfish ambition, vain conceit, dislike, and false teaching had found it way into the church.
Paul opens his letter in this way… “Therefore, if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ as there certainly is in abundance, if there is any consolation, comfort, support of love, if there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, if there is any great depth of tenderness, affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love toward one another, knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ.” Verses 1-2 personalized Paul is pleading with them to resolve the tension and seek to heal any brokenness found. He says if that can be accomplished it will make his joy complete (verse 2).
Paul further describes the condition of the church with these words “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit through factional motives, or strife, but with an attitude of humility being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”( verses 3-4)
Put simply you cannot claim to love God and dislike, hold bitterness for others. The question arises “Why do people do the things they do?” I believe that we have not fully comprehended the suffering and sacrifice Christ made for us…that day on the cross in which supernatural love was poured out for us…Loving others is so costly only Jesus’s costly love for us can move us to bear the cost. Jesus has a radical love for us! This love is so profound, so expense…it is a mystery so deep we can only know it in our spirit! If we can grab hold of this love, we will be so rich in love we will be forever changed, unable to dislike or hold bitterness. In our humanness…our mind and body cannot ever understand! This love is spiritual and supernatural! When we step into this love it is spiritually supercharged.
I want to try and bridge our lack of understanding by helping you and I to understand exactly what Jesus did that day. Most of us can easily say these words “Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me” however that is so limited. The depth of Jesus’s love for us is revealed on the cross not so much in the physical suffering but in how society looked at this form of death. What does it cost for God to love us? We know He sent His only Son to earth for the purpose of leading us in knowing God and restoring his relationship with us, revealing who we really are and redeeming us through Jesus’s death. Philippians 2:6-8TPT says “He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant to be exploited. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!”
The cross was consider to be the most degrading form of death, the people of Jesus time saw crucifixion differently; the Jews saw it as being cursed by God, ultimate insult, shunned; the Romans used it much like the Mexican cartels today who hang their victims in a public place as if to say “don’t mess with us”; the Greeks saw it as humiliating, scandalous, disgraceful, further evidence that God could care less about humanity; to all it was an abomination, degradation, torture fit only for a slave. There is no other death in which the individual’s life could be destroyed that has the same impact and yet Jesus took the weight of the world, the sin and suffered this for you and me. I don’t know about you but just writing these words is making me nauseas and tearful.
What great love…I will never fully comprehend while I walk this earth. This is where love is revealed…we must let this revelation lead us into understanding how much we are loved and redeemed by a risen Lord. And for this reason alone…verse 9-11TPT says “Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names! The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm. And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,” bringing glory and honor to God, his Father!”
You see, the Father, the Creator of us all acknowledges what Jesus has done for love! We are rich in love! And so now I leave you with this question can you love as He did? Philippians 2:5 leaves us with these words…”And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.”
Blessings, Sister Laurie
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Love by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
People today live-in fear of death. There are organizations all over the words spending millions on research that will extend life and even prevent death. People are choosing to be frozen in hope that their body can be restored at some point in the future.
Isaiah talks about his body being a tent which is folded up as it dies. In 1 Corinthians 5:1NASB, Paul says “For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens.” I share this scripture with you, because our flesh was not created to last and in this fallen world it is even more vulnerable to the wear and tear of life. That is why God uses the word “tent” or in some translations “tabernacle” which was also made of canvas to describe where our spirit lives here on earth. It weathers, grows rigid, and is torn as time goes by…yet God wants us to have confidence because our everlasting existence is found in our spirit.
We find ourselves distracted by this fear, making bucket lists, living indulgent lives trying to get it all in. Paul writes to the church in Philippi these wonderful words while in prison…Philippians 1:23-26TPT, “So here’s my dilemma: Each day I live means bearing more fruit in my ministry; yet I fervently long to be liberated from this body and joined fully to Christ. That would suit me fine, but the greatest advantage to you would be that I remain alive. So, you can see why I’m torn between the two—I don’t know which I prefer. Yet deep in my heart I’m confident that I will be spared so I can add to your joy and further strengthen and mature your faith. When I am freed to come to you, my deliverance will give you a reason to boast even more in Jesus Christ.”
Notice the words in italics…Paul knows that his task of equipping, discipling and loving believers is not yet done. He even says his desire is to be spared so he can add to their joy and strength as well as grow their faith. He knows the wonder and pure joy of going home to be with Jesus, yet his spirit knows that his time on earth still is full of purpose.
The thief on the cross heard these words from Jesus…”And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”” Luke 23:42-43NASB
Death is better than to remain in the body, however, to stay in our temporary tent and serve God is to live in the joy of sharing Jesus with those we encounter.
Paul has found how to live in confidence, he keeps on living because he is compelled to continue teaching, serving and loving those God has placed around him. We must pattern ourselves after Paul…
Paul knew with confidence that Jesus breaks the power of death in two ways;
We live in confidence because Jesus destroyed the fear of death by breaking sin and death’s power over us through His death and resurrection.
He gives eternal life to you and me when we make Him our Savior, in that, we now live with confidence to see Him face to face in Heaven.
Now with confidence embrace this truth… “In Jesus, my sisters, after listening to and reading in God’s Word the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB personalized.
In closing my sisters in Jesus Christ, I urge you to live for Christ, make the most out of every day. For not only is your time short but those around you time is short as well. Embrace them in the love of Christ.
My prayer for you is that when you feel anxious or fearful, ask God to give you the confidence to live for Him and be set free from the fear of death. Speak with the authority of heaven and cast out any spirit of anxiety in you! Ask God to increase His power within you to say as Paul did…”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Confidence by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
Friendship is a precious part of life. Real joy comes from friendships established with Jesus Christ at the center. Much like marriage God has a plan for true friendship. God put it on Pau’s heart to l write to us in Philippians about the significance of God centered relationships. Our friendships should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.
Today, social media has changed the face of relationships, instead of personal interaction…sharing a coffee or meal, watching a movie, taking a walk or just quietly sitting together enjoying someone company our relationships have been reduced to how many likes our post, tweet, photo receive. Social media is a platform to create a fantasy, a false you. How many of you have observed someone creating an untrue image, an exaggerated condition, even a totally made-up situation to gain attention. People are using social media to hide what’s really happening, they filter their photos so that people can’t see their true self. Suicide has risen because people have become isolated using social media to express some of what they are feeling yet those responding somehow are unable to decipher their true desperation, their feelings of hopelessness. We answer with an “I Care” emoji, or even “I’m praying for you” these empty responses are so swallow without any true cost. Texting is causing indifference and further isolation. There is a price in godly relationships…time, comfort, even financial at times. What if when that distressing tweet, post, text came to your attention you got in your car and showed up? It is in our nature to gather, have physical contact, true affection, pray together, share our sorrow…this is friendship.
Before we take a look at Paul’s opening words in his letter to the Philippians let me share a little background about this intimate letter of love and friendship. Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, he had visited and established a church in Philippi among the gentiles which within itself is one of God’s miracles, Paul was a Pharisee before coming to Christ and the people in Philippi were gentiles so a relationship between these two was very unlikely in fact gentiles where seen as unclean. Yet God’s love and truth broke the social barrier creating a deep love for these people in Paul. True friendship and love between believers cannot been attached to a worldly perspective.
1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does! Philippians 1:1-8MSG
Paul understands the value of friendship, he recognizes how the relationship he has with God and the tangible friendships…better said love and affection he shares for those dear friends in Philippi have sustained him during his imprisonment and trial. Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our friendships. This is why, it is so important to gather and fellowship with other believers only they can fill the need for friendship as God designed. When we have a friendship with someone which is like minded in their belief in Jesus, it deepens our relationship with God and allows our true beauty and purpose to emerge.
It saddens me greatly when I see bitterness and misunderstanding between believers, how can we possible say we love God and yet hold grudges, offense and jealousy in our hearts. The answer is we cannot. I urge you my sister to seek out broken friendships and mend them. Start praying that God might lead you and if a softening is needed that the Holy Spirit would work in both of you.
Sometimes guilt or shame is holding you back from forgiveness. These are two very different feelings; guilt is focused on something we have done, while shame focuses on the person…self. Shame says something is wrong with me. As women shame is fed by a misconception or confusion tied to our identity. It is a constant feeling that we are not good enough. This is bound to a worldly perspective, a lie of the enemy, an experience. Shame is an epidemic effecting everyone…it is everywhere, every nation, every culture it is related to addiction, depression, violence, homosexuality, bullying, aggression, eating disorders, suicide and more.
The righteousness we find through Jesus Christ is the antidote for shame. Shame is the opposite of righteousness. Look at what shame did for Adam and Eve, filled with shame they, hide from God, covered their bodies, they felt they had to protect themselves from God. This is Satan’s trap, a weapon shrewdly used. Shame has destroyed the beauty God intended for friendship, fellowship, intimacy with God and people. BUT God has given us the fruit of righteousness that is to be “right with God”. Isaiah 32:17-18 says “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful surrounding, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.” This kind of life and friendship is available to us right now.
Now think of your relationship with God…If your relationship with Him is fractured how can you fully embrace and receive what He did for you on the cross? How can He help you mend and restore broken relationships? How can you love and sustain godly friendships? Right now, go before your Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive you and reveal hidden shame that is affect your ability to love as He loves you. Speak with confidence and proclaim who you are in Jesus, immerse yourself in godly music, fellowship, study, and prayer. Give the enemy no room to corrupt who God says you are.
Dear Sisters…Paul prayed this prayer for his friends, his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and now I pray it for you my dear sisters in Christ Jesus…”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11MSG
Blessings, Sister Laurie
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Friendship by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
First a little background for those who may not know me personally…I was not raised in a Christian home, in fact, my adopted parents were atheists who lived in the world and embraced a belief system which was extremely self-gratifying. I am a Born-Again Believer; I make this point because I will be talking about how our foundation in life dictates how we think and live. I don’t remember ever discussing the existence of God or the meaning of this life other than how important it was to have money, live high, have power and reputation within your community. This reputation was tainted with a worldview of wealth and position.
The long journey of casting off, surrendering my belief system or foundation built from my childhood and adult life experience has been long. God has never given up on me and so today I celebrate the new foundation God is helping me build based in truth. I wanted to share this with you because I make this point…IT IS NEVER TO LATE…God is waiting for you sweet sister! He wants to establish a foundation of truth under you that will redefine you and give you an identity in Him. Complete deliverance is what I am speaking of…Freedom from your old life!
Daniel had a foundation built on Godly principles, it is here we find how his foundation in God stood the test and kept Daniel from harm. Daniel was a young man with Godly character and integrity. Read Daniel 1-2 for details.
Daniel’s foundation is available to us if we allow God to work within us. Sisters it is not too late to break the destructive patterns in your life and embrace Godly truth. We know that the patterns we establish early in life, whether good or bad, will impact our future decisions. Our choices direct the lives we lead. These patterns form our foundation.
You and I must begin this journey of freedom by taking the scalpel of the Word of God in hand…”For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
Begin by asking yourself these simple questions; Are you keeping your word? Do you hold grudges, speak negatively about those around you? Do you finish what you start? Are you easily distracted? Is your gaze on what is instructive and positive or destructive? Only you and God can answer these questions truthfully. Now is the time to let God reveal His truth about the condition of your foundation, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors that do not line up with God’s Word.
Remember, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, think about these things. As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
Most of the time wrong thinking, believing a lie keeps us from the peace spoken of here. God has given you a gentle spirit, one that is not anxious, that has ability to live God’s truth as you journey through life. Let these words encourage you. Here are some practical steps to growing, redesigning your foundation according to God’s way.
Discipline yourself to do two necessary things you do not like to do every week.
Fix your eyes on a clear, specific goal.
Study the “whys” behind God’s commands.
Write out the promises you have made and take responsibility for all your actions and emotions.
Monitor and adjust the motives behind your actions.
Tell the truth no matter what the cost.
Live the truth even when it is not popular…are your words gratifying God or man?
Align yourself with a woman of God who you can be accountable to in every situation.
In today’s world we must be woman of God who are deeply rooted in God’s Truth and trust in God, not vulnerable to polluting ourselves with pride and lies. Like Daniel we must be a people faithful and trustworthy, a servant of God. Who’s love for God pours out from every cell within our bodies. Remember you are who God’s says you are and not the world…loved, valued, unique, beautiful, with purpose, designed by the creator, the daughter of the Most High King.
Here is a prayer to help you in your journey…
Lord, give me insight into what makes a healthy, effective woman of God. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit and show me the areas in which I need to grow and develop. Show me those in my life which speak Your Truth and help me to distance myself from those who do not. Help me represent You in every situation. Rebuild my foundation God, I give you permission to use the scalpel of Truth to do surgery on my mind and spirit. As you reveal attitudes and beliefs that do not reflect you God help me to let go and invite Godly thinking in. I desire to have my mind, body and spirit transformed by your truth God so that I would reflect you with every breath I breathe. AMEN
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ! We as believers have a tremendous responsibility in how we speak and interact with others. Before I begin my next writing God has given from Romans 13; I want to address a situation I was witness to yesterday, in fact two situations. Unfortunately, each of these situations happen with the same believer who I know well and regard as a sister in Christ. I know she had best intentions however we must be ever so careful with our words. Our tongue can do the devil’s work! Let me explain…
First Situation: During a Sunday morning greeting around a cup of coffee at church a young woman who is a growing believer approached a sweet sister in Christ with a typical greeting. The usual “How are you?” was exchanged. This young woman had recently stopped dating a man, who had followed her to church a couple of times. The concerned sister started a deeper conversation, fishing for details…well-meaning but the result left the young woman in anguish. You see this young woman’s marriage ended several years ago. The relationship was a violent one, abuse and drugs were a huge part of the marriage. This young woman spent years broken and held captive in this relationship. Over the last 5 years she has been delivered from her traumatic past. She is now walking in the light of Jesus full of hope. Somehow the conversation got around to the fact that she was divorced, the sister began down a path that divorce was breaking a covenant with Moses, negatively speaking she pointed out how this young woman needed to seek reconciliation. Without knowing the details or what this young woman has been through this sister now becomes God’s judge and convicts this young woman with her words. I might add mixing biblical truth with condemnation. Do you see what I am getting at…WE MUST BE CAREFUL WITH OUR WORDS?! I believe the sister was speaking out of her flesh and not out of her spirit. We must always speak out of love and ask God to give us words of encouragement no matter what the circumstance. Fortunately, I caught the tail end of the conversation and the young woman now crushed, privately asked me to clarify and pray with her.
Second Situation: I attended a prayer meeting and one of the prayer requests was for us to pray for a woman who son had served in Afghanistan and was killed in action several years ago. The woman bringing the request was a family member. Based on what is happening over there currently, all the grief of this loss has come back along with the sense that this young man sacrificed his life in vain. I want to say that this scenario of someone suffering loss and how we as believers in our effort to bring comfort fail. I have heard this question asked so many times…”Was he a believer?” “Was he or she saved?” What difference does this make? Can you see how these questions can send the one asking for prayer down a dark road, dwelling on where the loved one is now? Does that change the way we pray for those loved ones hurting in their loss? Definitely Not! Even if the family members are not believers God still is working and will still bring comfort. Can you see how distressing this can be for the person asking for prayer? Once again be careful what questions we ask and how we respond when loss is involved. This is a time when little words can be spoken and listening ears are needed. Offer prayers of comfort.
Ok, thank you for listening I pray you carefully consider my words. I will get off my soap box…
Romans 13:12-13TPT says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon. We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality, not being argumentative or jealous of others.”
Today I want to talk about the darkness spoken of in these verses. Last week I offered words of encouragement and with intent spoke of the urgency of this hour. Verse 12 continues this thinking because for we are closer now, this moment to meeting Jesus face to face closer then we were this morning. Right? Think about that…does that inspire you? The darkness of living in this fallen world will soon end for believers! Hallelujah!
Let us move forward and see what God is now teaching us…Verse 13 is a warning to put aside certain behavior, put your seat belt on the Truth is about to challenge you;
Depending on your translation you might find…
Rioting KJV, gluttony GNV, carousing NASB or orgies NIV in the Greek “komos” letting loose, carousal, binder, binge, spree. This might mean overspending, loss of self-control in behavior or speech. Excessiveness or greedy, unreasonable.
Drunkenness KJV, GNV, NASB and NIV in the Greek “methe” use of an intoxicant, intoxication, that being any kind of substance, a condition of disgrace.
Chambering KJV, GNV, sexual promiscuity NASB, sexual immorality NIV in the Greek “koite” cohabitation outside of marriage, aggressive infliction, perversion of God’s design for intimacy.
Wantonness KJV, GNV, debauchery NASB, sensuality NIV in the Greek “aselgeia” licentiousness, recklessness, lasciviousness, carnality, shameless behavior, pursuit of physical sexual pleasure, lust.
Strife KJV, GNV, NASB, quarreling NIV in the Greek “eris” to quarrel, wrangling, bickering, contention, rivalry, an unsavory, immoral desire for power or control.
Envying KJV, GNV, jealousy NASB, NIV, in the Greek “zelos” unfavorable zeal, malevolence, resentfulness, indignation, mistrustfulness, a strong and relentless desire for what belongs to another
Why am I defining these undesirable behaviors? They are common in this day, even we as believers must examine ourselves and motives regularly. Let me paint a picture of how this warning must be taken seriously and how we as believers must teach our love ones the dangerous traps hidden here. During the spring in America, there is a common practice among young people primarily college age to travel during spring break and gather with other young people. Often this is a time of reckless abandonment to all that is decent. Romans 13:13 captures much of the conduct during this week…it has been hailed as a time for “the rite of passage”. Passage of what? Innocence and purity? It is a time of relentless evil and awful indulgence. What a price is paid by the participants…the shame and regret they carry long after.
The Spirit pleads “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23ESV
Again, the Holy Spirit cries out to us…”So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him at His return spotless and blameless, in peace that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him.” 2 Peter 3:14AMP
This obedience is for you and I, to protect us and prepare us for the future. Paul says in Ephesians 5:27TPT Jesus in coming and here we find a picture of how He desires to find us…”Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live-in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.”
Let us stay as far away from sin as possible…”But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for nor even think about gratifying the flesh in regard to its improper desires.” Romans 13:14AMP
Right now, examine yourself…how can you be ready, are you properly dressed, completely immersed in our Lord Jesus Christ…How can you clothe yourself in the radiance of Jesus Christ?
There is a fork in the road one way leads to the world and instant gratification that only satisfies for a moment…do not delay take no detour choose the other route… put on the Armor of Light, Jesus Christ!
“To live like this is all the more urgent, for time is running out and you know it is a strategic hour in human history. It is time for us to wake up! For our full salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon.” Romans 13:11-12 TPT
Today, I am continuing in Romans 13…there is so much to embrace! I don’t know about you but I don’t want to find my self saying “Oh Crap!” as our King comes to carry me home. How about you? There is no doubt that I will be take home either through my flesh dying or in the twinkling of as eye with others. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead who believed in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we will be completely changed wondrously transformed.” 1 Corinthian 15:52 AMP Will there be a moment when we say “But I…” “Just one more…” That’s where the “Oh Crap” comes in. I don’t know but if there is a possibility of that feeling or emotional I do not want it! I want to be able to say…”I AM READY!”
In Romans 13 it says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns.” What is this darkness? The darkness is unbelief…the darkness is lukewarmness…the darkness is persecution. The darkness is every kind of conflict, natural catastrophe, calamity, and war. Jesus speaks of these in Matthew 24, it is the darkness of the present hour. How do you receive these words? Does it put a sense of urgency in your spirit? This is truth…one way or another a new day for you and I is coming, it is about to burst forth…the long night of this earthly existence is almost over. When you think about eternity which you and I are currently living; let me explain…eternity started the moment God placed your spirit within your flesh growing in your mother. Psalm 139:13-14 That spirit…the true you was created by God and it continues now. When you except Christ as your Savior it like an electrical shock to that spirit, a rebirth, like heart surgery repairing your true self so that you might live as God intended. The main truth I want you to grasp here is the earthly life is so incredibly short, it is but a twinkle in the twinkling spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:52. Eternity has no earthly language to define, we try with words; infinite or unending time, endless life, sometimes defined as what exists outside time. We can put a beginning to eternity as spoke in Psalm 139…but we cannot fathom it’s unending.
So, I now get back to my original thought, my devotion to Jesus has been fueled by this truth…I do not want to be ashamed at His appearing if that is possible, no regret, nothing left undone…Today I just can not bear that thought! Heavenly Father…reveal those things that MUST GO in me, let me be fully ready, let me not miss an opportunity to speak life and truth…let me love where love is needed, give me compassion, let me see with your eyes and live with Kingdom values.
God gave us the sunrise to remember that Jesus, the Son has Risen. There is just something life giving and wonderful about a sunrise…clean crisp air…the pure light as it makes it way through the trees, over the mountains. It touches our emotions and now let it touch your spirit with hope and truth…igniting a fire within you that cannot be contained! Jeremiah 20:9 says, “If I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak His name anymore,” Then my heart becomes a burning fire Shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot endure it nor contain it any longer.”
The scripture says…And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new (khawdata) covenant, which is shed for many for the remission(forgiveness) of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28 NKJV, also found in Mark 14 and Luke 22
Bible Gateway footnotes make the significance of these precious words from Jesus’ lips even more intimate…translated from the Aramaic we now see the depth of these words…The word “khawdata” can be translated as “new,” but is even better defined as “renewed” covenant or “repaired” covenant. After each disciple took the cup and drank from it, they passed it to the next one. This was a love covenant between Jesus and each of his disciples, and it sealed the affection they had for one another. This remains today, when you and I take communion with our family, other believers it becomes an expression of our love and affection for them and for our loving Savior Jesus.
I recently read an article about each of the elements and how they not only fulfill prophecy but bring to life the events of the Old and New Testament. We know from scripture that the last supper was celebrated in remembrance of Passover. Passover found in Exodus 12 speaks about a time in history when the Israelites were slaves living in Egypt. God sent Moses to free the Israelites…Pharaoh didn’t listen or pay attention as God’s emissary Moses brought God’s wrath down upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, nine plagues later Pharaoh still would not relent and let God’s people go! The tenth plague would be one which would bring death to the first-born male of every household. God’s people were instructed to cover their doorways with the blood of a sacrificial lamb thus keeping death away from their household.
The shedding of sacrificial blood marked freedom for the Israelites and from that time forward Passover has been celebrated in remembrance of all God had done for His people.
Let us move forward in time…Passover had come, Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, moments before they were sat down to share the Passover meal, Jesus spoke to His betrayer (let me leave that right there for another time) after which Jesus began by taking a piece of bread, blessing it carefully tearing a piece for each disciple He said, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 AMP
Jesus was speaking to them about the coming events when He, the prefect Lamb of God, would be tortured, beaten, tormented, crucified, and buried. Jesus told us that His body would be broken for us. A prophecy fulfilled in Isaiah 53:5 that says, “…He was whipped so we could be healed.” This healing power achieved in the act of the One True God, Savior, God’s Only Son…holds the power to heal our physical and mental ailments no matter how severe or life threating. Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:24 “…by whose stripes you were healed.”
As you think and visualize what Christ endured for you…every lash of the whip, flesh torn, blood shed…all done willingly to heal you and me. This is the pure and simple truth of Christ and its power is available to all who believe.
Jesus then took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission(forgiveness) of sins.” Jesus drank along with the disciples; this established the FINAL and NEW COVENANT for all God’s children (believers) once and for all.
The word covenant in English traces its roots back to a Latin word that means “coming together”. The Old Testament Covenants clearly demonstrate that God’s plan of redemption was in motion soon after the fall (Adam and Eve’s sin). In fact, Hosea speaks of a covenant between God and Adam in verse 6:7 saying, “Like Adam, they (the Israelites) have broken the covenant…they were unfaithful to me.” In these covenants there are conditions to be met by the human parties involved. At other times, God declared what He was going to do no matter how the parties responded. Once God made a covenant, it was not to be altered or renegotiated.
I want to briefly establish each of the Old Testament Covenants so that as we look to God’s New and Final covenant marked by Holy Communion we can see how they each relate to God’s promise for His children both you and I as well.
Abrahamic Covenant – Genesis 12 God established a covenant with Abram (who later name was changed the Abraham by God) when He said “I will make you into a great nation and will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,…and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Later God spoke more about this covenant saying, “your offspring will be like stars in the sky to numerous to count”. This covenant can be summed up as (1) a promised people, (2) a promised blessing, (3) a promised land.
Mosaic Covenant – Exodus 19-20 God has always had great plans for His people. After freeing the Israelites from Egypt. God shared his plan with Moses and from that encounter we God’s people were given the Ten Commandments. This covenant is conditional “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Exodus 19:5 NKJV The Mosaic Covenant was based on faithfulness of both God and Israel. Of course, Israel failed, but God is faithful, even when we are not. The Laws (covenant conditions) found in the Ten Commandments were given as an opportunity to show our love for God through obedience, even as they stumbled… God still had blessings for all the peoples of the world. Israel was chosen as a servant to help bring that future “blessing” the gospel and Jesus Christ.
Davidic Covenant –
Is the prefect link between the Old Testament Covenants and the New Testament Covenant. Just as God gave Moses a message to deliver to Israel, God gave Nathan a message, a divine covenant, to deliver to King David found in
(2 Samuel 7:5-16) so important to God’s plan it is repeated twice…”Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Nathan was speaking Of Jesus who’s coming kingdom would be established forever through David’s lineage. There was no condition to this covenant, God would and has fulfilled this covenant through Jesus. Peter tied the two together in his Day of Pentecost Sermon found in
Acts 2:29-31TPT personalized, “Everyone, I can tell you there is no doubt that David has both died and been buried in his tomb, which remains to this day. So, you can see that he was not referring to himself with those words. But as a prophet, he knew God’s faithful promise, made with God’s unbreakable oath, that one of his descendants would take his throne. So, when peering into the future, David prophesied of the Messiah’s resurrection. And God revealed to him that the Messiah would not be abandoned to the realm of death, nor would his body experience decay.”
And so now here we are the New Covenant sealed with the blood of Christ at that first “Holy Communion” shared by Christ, Himself and His disciples. The new covenant is a spiritual relationship with out Creator. But we sisters in Christ need help in maintaining that divine fellowship. The Old Testament is a continuing story of failures of God’s chosen people. Yet God’s plan from the beginning included a solution for this need…Jesus is the mediator in our relationship with the Father see Hebrews 12:24. Jesus overcame the differences and restored a loving relationship between a sinless deity and sinful humans. To overcome required a painful sacrifice. Look again at the words Jesus as He instituted the Lord’s Supper. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20 The Old Mosaic Covenant required the blood of a slaughtered animal as a sin offering. These regular offerings did not bring permanent obedience and relationship. The sin offering was a repeated bloody event that took the life of an animal. The animal could never be a mediator. But of Son of God could, and He willingly came to earth to be that needed permanent sacrifice. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”
I have come a long way so that you might fully understand why the taking and sharing of Holy Communion is an intimate experience between Jesus our Personal Mediator and God our Forever Father. Listen closely to the voice of our Mediator the next time you partake in Holy Communion: “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
One more scripture found in John 6:53-58 ESV, “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. …”
In closing, the words communion, community, communication and common all have similar origin. The church of Jesus Christ is a community of believers that are not divided by denomination by are united by Christ. It also is an opportunity to have communion with God. It is an expression of God’s Glory poured out and into us through Christ’s Body and Blood.
Romans 8 speaks boldly about our position in God’s Kingdom, many people say it is their favorite because it encourages, strengthens, and builds them up. The Holy Spirit is spoken of here more than in any other chapter of the Bible. Personally, I agree with those who cling to the Truth found within the power filled Words. Freedom is at the heart of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. 2 Corinthians 3:17 confirms this Truth “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”
My struggles to live the Christian life in my own strength has been both frustrating and disappointing. That allusive victory spoken of in Romans 8 is completely unattainable on my own. It has taken many years to reach the end of myself and truly allow the Holy Spirit, who is the promised “Helper” to begin the necessary work in my spirit. I praise God for His unending grace and mercy as I surrender to the Holy Spirit, who continues to enable me to be victorious in my struggles and at the same time empowers me to pierce enemy territory with God’s Truth. This is victorious living…God wants us to focus on the victories giving Him ALL the praise and glory! Even now as I am writing, going over my class notes on Romans it is God that inspires me through the Holy Spirit working in me. I pray my understanding of these scriptures will inspire you as well to go deeper, relinquish more of yourself and acknowledge that freedom comes through your relationship with the One True God.
Right now, are there difficulties in your life? Dear Sister, let the Spirit remind you that “Jesus, who died and was raised to life is at the right hand of the Father interceding for you” Romans 8:34. Let these Words of Truth fortify your spirit by assuring you that “in all these things (your current situation) you are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you” Romans 8:37 personalized.
Let us look at Romans 8:28, the NASB version says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Within this scripture there are five declarations of your position as God’s child and how God through His Son, Jesus Christ has already conquered your enemies and promises to work ALL things: situations, circumstances, even consequences out for His purpose in your life. Take note of how Paul begins the scripture “And we know”, as believers God has revealed His Truth, it is not unknown but KNOWN, revealed with certainty and now here in 8:28 these five certainties about God and His faithfulness are declared.
God works in the lives of His people. Just look at the Old Testament, story upon story…situations that seem impossible and yet there is God working, intervening for His children.
God works for the good of His people. Jesus told the disciples that he would have to leave in order for the Holy Spirit to come…it is through the Holy Spirit we now are enabled to do the same good that the disciples did. That same good that Peter spoke to Cornelius and his household. Like Paul, Peter begins his message with certainty, “You yourselves know the thing that happened throughout Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
God works for the good of His people in all things. All things includes all circumstance, all situations, all consequences, Psalms 23:4 confirms “ Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” You may not understand everything that happens or that your circumstances will be without pain. But as Joseph said to his brothers, “ As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.” God will if you allow Him to use those troubles to benefit His Kingdom and purpose.
God works for the good of those who love Him. This is God’s promise to His children who love Him, who seek His direction and follow in His Ways I can testify with conviction that we are all a work in progress, do not let the enemy’s lies keep you from receiving the good promised. What a comfort to have the certainty of God’s good working even when you cannot see or understand.
God works for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose. God tells us in His Word that He does not want one of His children to be lost. The Bible at its core is a story of redemption for all God’s people. God did not send evil circumstances into Joseph’s life; but He foreknew that these troubles would occur. God worked each struggle out for good, positioning Joseph and ultimately fulfilled His purpose in Joseph’s life “to keep many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 When you came to Christ, with a repent heart and made Him your Savior the “calling” is confirmed. Therefore, you can stand with certainty that He has a purpose for your life, and you can be assured that all the days of your life prior to your salvation has been reconciled and will be used by God.
God has an ultimate purpose in working all things for your good, this good will bring about a change in you, you are right now being transformed by God’s Truth and your desire to love God. Romans 8:29 MSG says “God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him. After God made that decision of what His children should be like, He followed it up by calling people by name. After He called them by name, He set them on a solid basis with Himself. And then, after getting them established, He stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what He had begun.” WOW! How powerful and beautiful…We are more than Conquerors!
“Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time—this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I’m assuming, now, that your belief was the real thing and not a passing fancy, that you’re in this for good and holding fast.)” 1 Corinthians 15:1 MSG
No one is immune to doubt. It can and does happen to us all. You’ve just got to know how to handle it when it comes. Let’s look at the life of John the Baptist for answers.
Jesus said this about John the Baptist,
“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11
John was greater in the sight of Jesus than Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or any Old Testament character you can name. Yet John doubted the most important thing of all by questioning whether Jesus was really the Christ.
While John the Baptist was in prison he became so discouraged that he asked two of his disciples to go to Jesus and ask Him if He really was the Christ. This amazing man of faith was lost in doubt and unbelief.
Think about who John was. He was separated unto God and filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb. Luke 1:15
It is believed he lived in the desert near the Dead Sea with the Essens, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were a people who were super-legalistic who practiced many rituals of self denial. He certainly had not lived what we would call an easy life. He was described in the Bible as wear animal skins and eating locust. John was separated and focused on his purpose.
His entire life was committed to preparing the way for the Christ. John is the one who saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29. John shared the truth of God with thousands of people from many nations declaring, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2
John would see the Spirit of God descending upon the Messiah in bodily shape as a dove. That came to pass when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
There are many scriptures that tell us John had zero doubt.
“I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” in John 1:34. In Luke 3:16 he said, “but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” And in John 3:30 he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Jesus responded to John’s disbelief and doubt….”look at all that has happened….see the truth of who I am and believe!”
This is the same thing Jesus is saying to you…look at all I have done and what is written in the scriptures and have faith.
Don’t let the devil lie to you and blind you from truth…dig in, for “It is written” those powerful words that Jesus spoke to Satan. Those are our words now….
Don’t be fooled by the world…our need for something tangible, something emotional we can feel. Overcoming doubt is not about feeling better; it’s about getting back into faith that only comes from the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 says “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
You must stand strong, immerse yourself in God’s Word and know that this battle is won on a spiritual level.
In 2 Peter 1:12-15 Peter writes Jesus will always bring you back to remembering who He is through His Word. He left us this Word because He knew we would face doubt in our flesh.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 spells it out clearly…”For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
The Scriptures are more sure and faith building and doubt destroying than if you and I were witness to seeing the risen Christ or hearing an audible voice from heaven! Why? Because the Truth of God Word is always with us, to study, meditate and pray through.
The only sure way to overcome doubt is to place your faith in the Word of God and depend on that more sure word of prophecy. Don’t allow your five senses to dominate your thinking. You must come to a place to where God’s Word is more real to you than anything you can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. When you’re in doubt, refer back to the Word of God just the way Jesus told John the Baptist to do. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Facts say you are here, sitting in this chair, struggling because of your decisions, wrong thinking, SIN….truth is God is right beside you waiting for you to activate your faith by standing on His Word which activates His ability to bring you the deliverance you so desperately desire.
When we spend time in God’s Word we begin to understand God’s Character. The book of John is a great place to meet Jesus. We gain an inmate look at His nature and love for us. It is a call for all people to come into a lasting relationship with Him. It is in John that we journey with Jesus…who He is, what He did and what He taught. I am back at school to finish the classes required for full ordination with the Assemblies of God and the current class is taking me through the book of John. I have a fresh look at why God inspired John to tell of Jesus’ miracles (signs). My prayer is that through my eyes you will encounter the goodness and nature of God in a deeper way, may this encourage you to get into God’s Word and discover how He wants to speak to you right where you are in your life, take the journey with Him. Today, I want to share seven different encounters with Jesus and how they lead us into knowing Jesus is the reflect of God (God incarnate) who came to earth to live among us, bringing the Truth of God to all who would believe, He went to the cross and conquered death to repair the broken relationship we have with God through sin. (John 3:16)
Let us get going…
John 2:1-11 The wedding in Canaan. This first miracle reveals His glory, it shows that Jesus is God in the flesh. His disciples were there and so for them this is the first opportunity to believe in who He is. Jesus turned water into wine, not just any wine but the finest wine. Are you someone who lives with the 90% rule? Let me give you an example; when you rake leaves are you satisfied to leave some so you can “get the job done”? God demonstrates through Jesus that He is a God who only creates, heals, loves above and beyond 100% excellence. He is a God of quality over quantity…you and I cannot even fathom this. It is through God’s ultimate excellence we see His righteousness revealed as well. Look at all of God’s creation, everything God does is done with such care and detail, all His work blends together to make our world mind blowing. Think now of yourself, you are His creation, made for His glory and pleasure. In God’s eyes you are perfect. The apple of His eye! Nothing about you is a mistake or just so-so. Right now, take a moment to thank God for who you are and the opportunity you have to serve a loving Father, who never creates something less than.
John 4:43-54 The healing of the official’s son, Jesus knew He would face rejection as written in John 4:44, those who discard Jesus’ Truth miss God’s blessings, but those who welcome Him receive good things John 4:45, 47 and 54. Jesus goes the distance to bring salvation and truth to all of us. The message and Truth of Jesus is still moving in power and strength today, we as believers have the opportunity to share the Truth and so the message is ongoing crossing the boundaries culture, ethnicity and gender. Today, we celebrate around the world the Truth of Jesus Christ the One True God and His message of salvation. There is no comfort zone for God, He goes into the darkest places bringing His light to expose sin and the devils attempt to destroy God’s most precious creation, you and I. (John 10:10) Do you have a comfort zone? Do you find yourself saying “Well, I am willing to bring a covered dish to the church potluck or help a fellow Christian mow their lawn but….I’m not confident to share God’s goodness and Truth with that single mom who is struggling with addiction.”
Yep, right there you put limits on the distance you are willing to go. You will never have all the answers, it is not with persuasive words people come to Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) You see the Holy Spirit will give you everything you need to bring God’s Truth in every opportunity God puts before you. In fact, ask God to show you more clearly whenever there is a situation, an encounter, that you can share the love of Jesus with an individual in need. You are more than able to go the distance, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit in you, Jesus went the distance for you, take time right now to praise Him, Jesus never gave up and He is willing to go the distance for you still.
John 5:1-15 Healing the man at the sheep gate pool in Jerusalem. In Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porticoes in other words entrances. Here we read that this man was ill and crippled for 38 years. In verse 6, we see Jesus knew he had been like “this” for a long-time. This healing shows us several things about Jesus, first, we learn…this healing demonstrates that Jesus is equal with God in nature, power, and authority. You must understand that healing touch you or others need where the spiritual and physical meet is all about timing. This man had allowed bitterness and hatred to grow within his spirit, the devil had repeatedly lied to him verse 7 says when he attempted to reach the water someone always stepped down before him. If you notice there was not only one entrance into the pool yet somehow this man continued to miss his opportunity. The devil used this circumstance to build resentment in him. The “if only” became the man’s excuse for staying just as he was, convinced he would never reach the water. Let us call this what it was a pity party. I am confident God is always working in us, even before we know Him, He is there intervening, positioning us so that in His perfect time we will be ready. Many of us call this “coming to the end of one’s self”. That attitude or behavior, say it now out loud, my “sin” that I am stilling holding on to or hiding is keeping me from receiving the full immersion of living water Jesus brings. Right here I need to point out that nothing is hidden from God, you maybe fooling yourself or others but not God. God’s timing is perfect in every situation, He is patience and His love steadfast. It is different for everyone, there is no exact formula, what I will say, you will reach that point, the end and God will call. Respond do not delay, He will call again however why miss out even one more moment of all God has for you. Remember, Jesus is always on time.
John 6:1-15 Feeding the five thousand. I love this example of how good God is, how patience, how big, there is always enough of Him for everyone. Such a teaching moment for all of us. I know the disciples where scratching their heads, nodding back and forth, whispering to one another “no way, we have 2 fish and 5 loaves, look at all these people??!!” BUT God always provides enough…Jesus says in verse 35 “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” You and I can never have to much Jesus, we must never become tired of church, prayer, or worship. In fact, if your relationship is limited to Sunday there is no way you are experiencing all God has for you. You will never cross the barrier Satan has constructed between you and God if you do not invest the best part of yourself in Jesus. God demonstrates that He is more than enough, there is plenty of Him to go around, He is calling each one of us to Him. It is His desire that “not one would perish”, His Word is our food and when you fall in love with Jesus believe me, you can not get enough. Think of your favorite food or TV show that you binge on, come on we all do. You know like fresh baked bread with delicious fresh butter melting over it…yum…you keep going back for alittle more and then alittle more, you just can not stop! That is what your relationship with Jesus should be like…fall in love with your Creator. In fact, there is enough for you to share with those around you. I call God, My Forever Father. He is waiting, calling you and He is a God who is more than enough and always provides.
John 6:16-21 Walking on the water. After feeding the 5,000 Jesus perceives there is a mob forming to make Him King right there and then. It was not His time or His way there was still much to do, as we well know. So, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. Meanwhile, the disciples went down to the sea and started to make their way across. The scriptures say, “Jesus had not yet come to them.” Every occurrence in the Bible happens for a reason, nothing was or is a surprise to God. We see here that Jesus is going to use the boat, the sea, some wind, and the disciples to demonstrate something new. Jesus reveals His power over circumstances. When He is with you, you have nothing to fear. In verse 20 Jesus tells us “It is I; do not be afraid.” As I read through these scriptures again, my eyes latch on to these words in verse 21 “So they (the disciples) were willing to receive Him into the boat.” Look at those words, “they were willing” this is so key, Jesus is such a gentlemen, He never forces us to believe, if He did then our free will to decide, to embrace Him can be thrown out the window. They asked Jesus into the boat and immediately their circumstance changed “the boat was at the land which they were going.” Safe, through the wind, possible storm, rescued…the power of Jesus in your life. This is what happens when we become a believer, the storm may still be raging based on your decisions and associations, but God is there at once positioning you…providing the strength to see it through. Your part is to be “willing to receive”, “to allow”, “to surrender”. It is a process, a change in thinking and the best part is one day you will open your eyes and declare “How did I get here?!” Well, long story short you decided to follow Jesus and that life once destroyed has been not only restored but even more than you could ever dream about. If you are there take a moment right now and praise God, thank Him that you are loved and not forsaken. God has promise to do a good work in you until it is completed, and it is happening right now! Remember, Jesus is bigger than any circumstance!
John 9:1-34 Healing the blind man. This healing brings two God Truths. First, blame is done! Just stop blaming yourself or others! It is just time to seek the Truth of God, the Truth of why Jesus came, walked among us and how we now have the Holy Spirit to help us. Jesus clearly tells us that we need to stop looking back and trying to figure out why this or that happened and who was responsible. You will never be free as long as you hold on to the dead things in your life. Jesus warns us that we must not turn our hurt, our offense into bitterness and hate…DO NOT romance the trauma, the addiction, the abuse, the sin. He wants us to wash the mud away and put our eyes on Him, to see clearly that a time is coming when everyone will be held accountable. God has set Jesus as the judge and He will take care of the locust in our life. Second, this healing of the blind man is a warning to the believer, the doubter, and the unbeliever alike. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you are the blind man healed with Jesus’ spit and alittle dirt.
Your salvation and relationship with God is not about you, yep that’s what I said “IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!” Ouch, you see this new person you are becoming is the miracle of Jesus and as such your transformation becomes a light of hope into a dark world. In verse 8 and 9 the man’s neighbors do not recognize this changed man, a discussion breaks out because those around him cannot believe their eyes. Now that is a true example of God working in someone life…darkness to light. The man declares Jesus, shares God’s Truth you see it is not about his transformation but about the One who transformed him JESUS! Now the “they” in verse 13 take the man to the Pharisees. Here again, God uses what is happening to plainly bring more Truth…some will have a hard shell, a religious spirit, the devil has spoken lie after lie cleverly sometimes even wrapped in God’s Word to deceive. In this instance there was a law in the old testament that one could not work on the Sabbath. Sadly, these pharisee’s would rather see a man remain blind, (lost to God’s Truth) because Jesus “wasn’t doing it right.” Jesus warns us in verse 39 “For Judgement I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” The Pharisee’s and some of the neighbors had developed their own sight and so they became blind to the Truth. Jesus is calling us to reflect His Light to those around us, to stand firm…full of His Love to the lost, the hurting and leave judgement to Him. Jesus is the only one who can truly bring sight to the blind!
John 11:1-44 Raising Lazarus from the dead. Soon Jesus will be facing death, the cross. When Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead we see what is coming. The gravity of what is coming alludes the disciples, Mary and Martha and Jesus’ followers, I think they are still waiting for Jesus to take the throne, wear the crown here on earth. We see in this final example of who God is, why Jesus came revealed. Jesus waits for the perfect time, he waits for Lazarus to die, verse 17 says Lazarus was in the tomb for 4 days. This is done intentionally; the world must see that not even death is final…eternity awaits everyone. Martha rushes out to meet Jesus and declares “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then she perceives Truth, “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” So much power, over every circumstance even death. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” Here it is, salvation revealed…Jesus is going to the cross, He will defeat death and His earthly ministry will be finished…our relationship with God restored because Jesus takes the sin of the world upon Himself. There are two Truths made clear to me here, first though our flesh dies, our spirit will live (verse 11:25) even for those who do not believe. Are you confused? This is God’s Truth…you can live with Him, forgiven and loved or suffer in the fire of hell for eternity. Do not shoot the messenger…God clearly states this in His Word. We all are spiritual beings’ believer, doubter, and unbeliever. Second, Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension all have eternal weight. His death carries our sin past, present and future. His resurrection declares our relationship with God has been restored and we can walk here on earth in that Truth…price paid, atonement made,sacrifice done; spiritual death (separation from God) conquered. Finally, His ascension means we have an advocate that sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. How glorious this is! The icing on the cake is, Jesus tells us that He has sent a helper the Holy Spirit and through the power of the Holy Spirit we will represent Him.
Wow! Spend time in the Book of John, there is so much there! I pray these words minister to you and that they challenge you to a deeper relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Blessing, Sister Laurie