Scripture is our most powerful weapon. It increases our faith and spiritual growth, gives us victory over sin, is our weapon against Satan's attacks, and it nourishes and heals our body.
There is no man-made weapon that is able to fight the demonic, evil, enemy we are up against. There is only one weapon for this task....the Word Of God.
Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word Of God, the Bible, is sharper than a two-edged sword. Ephesians 6 says it is our sword of the Spirit, that the enemy we are fighting is not of flesh and blood.
The Book of John says Jesus is the Word made flesh. We must know this Word. We must know Jesus. He is our weapon. Scripture memorization should be one of the greatest desires of those who follow Jesus.
Get the Word of God inside you.
Be Armed and Dangerous!
Prayer, our wireless connection to God, is a very powerful tool. It is the chalice in which we fetch the water from the rock. It is the ladder on which we climb up to pick the grapes hanging over the wall of heaven. It is the fire that warms the frigid soul. It is the ship that carries away our wants, and comes back with a return cargo of divine help. It is the lever that moves heaven and earth. Prayers are given in exchange for divine help.
When we go to prayer, we need to go with a desire. E.M. Bounds says, "Desire is an absolute essential of prayer. The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words." What is your desire right now? Is it for your family's health? Maybe for a loved one's salvation? Maybe for a closer relationship with Jesus? Whatever your desire is, go into prayer with it in your mind. Maybe find a Scripture that will speak into that desire, taking it with you into prayer. Concentrate on your need, allowing it to penetrate the deepest recesses of your heart.
Sometimes people don't spend enough time in prayer. Maybe they feel it's boring, or they can't find the words. Words are not needed. Only your willingness to sit quietly in God's presence. Your desire, and a Scripture, will help you to do this. Give this time to God. The longer you spend with Him, the more of His presence you will be able to feel.
What? You don't have the time? To this I will say that none of us can afford not to take the time to go into prayer. And I guarantee all the tasks that you feel are not getting done will get done. You may even find you have some extra time.
God hears. God knows. God suffers with us. God heals. God answers. We just have to give Him the time to do it.
So, how's your prayer life?
To 'step aside' is to withdraw from one's position or occupation; to step down. Have you ever voluntarily done this for someone? Have you ever stepped aside, maybe from a position of respect or honor, for the good of someone else? In our human nature, these kinds of things don't usually happen voluntarily, do they? Stepping aside could have an adverse effect on our pride...and we all know what pride is.
Examples: How about stepping aside, holding a door for someone, letting them enter before you? This is not so hard, is it? But what if there's a long line inside that door? Would you still step aside? Or when you're up for a promotion at your work, but it is given to someone else. Ouch! Could you step aside for this one...without anger, envy, or hate? This one may not be so easy.
What about in your Christian walk? If you are a follower of Jesus, you will find stepping aside to be a very big part of it, not only for other people, but for Him. We must learn to step aside and let Him have control...of everything. When we are able to do this, we will be able to walk in total victory, no matter what trials come our way. And since we will be facing trials as long as we are alive and breathing, it's beyond me why anyone would not be stepping aside and allowing Him that control.
Being a follower of Jesus means we strive to become just like Him. Did He step aside when He was carrying that cross? Did He step aside when they nailed Him to It? Oh Yes! He stepped aside and gave full and complete control to His Father in heaven.
"Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." - Galatians 5:16
"Trouble has no power in itself to interfere with the relationship of a saint to God."
Step aside and rest in the power of Jesus.
A plow is used 'to cut, lift, turn, and break up soil; to cleave the surface of or move through; to move forcefully into or through something; to proceed steadily and laboriously; strain; strive; struggle.' If you know a farmer, then you know plowing makes up a good part of their life.
Plowing also makes up a good part of our life as we proceed steadily and laboriously through it. As we strain, strive, and struggle to get through whatever this world throws in our path. When we must face something that we didn't see coming, we could say this would be unplowed ground. We suddenly find ourselves in a place or situation that we have never been in before and we have no idea how to handle it. All we know is we now must plow through it. We will all find ourselves, at one time or another, in this type of unplowed ground.
In the Book of Hosea, the Word of God tells us of another type of unplowed ground that we find ourselves in. Verse 10:12 says, "Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you." This is speaking of our spiritual ground. Ground that we have not plowed because we have not yet learned to seek the presence of the Lord. That when we begin to plow up this ground, we will reap its fruit. The fruit of the unfailing love of Jesus. That when we plow this ground, we will share in the harvest. A harvest of love that will provide us with all the strength, courage, and power we need to face every furrow of our earthly unplowed ground.
Are you standing in the midst of an unplowed field?
Perspective is the mental view of a subject or its parts; the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. We all have our own perspective on pretty much all subjects. But what about Jesus' perspective? If we are His followers, aren't we supposed to try to view things from His perspective? In the Message Bible, Colossians 3:2 states, "Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that's where the action is. See things from his perspective." If we can do this, then what our eyes are looking at will never by all that is actually taking place. Let's take a look...
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew the importance of what was going to happen to Him. He had the right perspective. One that came from the trust He had in His Father in heaven. He was looking up. He was alert to what was actually happening. His disciples didn't yet possess this perspective, so they slept.
When Jesus turned the water into wine at the Cana wedding, His perspective, His mental view of the situation was that He, Himself, was the new wine, the joy of life. He was alert and looking up. The people only wanted something good to drink. They had their eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things that were in front of them. They didn't yet possess the right perspective.
All the times that the Apostle Paul was imprisoned, beaten, and shipwrecked, his perspective was his trust in Jesus. "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength, I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." - Isaiah 41:10 (Message). "No weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged." - Isaiah 54:17 (Message). He was alert and looking up. Up to Christ Jesus.
Acts 28:26 (Message) says, "You're going to listen with your ears, but you won't hear a word; You're going to stare with your eyes, but you won't see a thing." Is this your perspective? Do you listen, but don't hear? Do you stare, but don't see? If so, then it's all wrong. Your perspective is not that of Jesus. Your mental picture of how things really are is distorted and very blurry.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (Message) gives us instructions on the correct perspective. "So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever."
So, what exactly is your perspective?
To 'own' is 'to have or hold as property; to have power or mastery over; independently of assistance or control; to rely entirely on one's own resources.' To 'borrow' is 'to receive with the implied or expressed intention of returning the same or an equivalent; to appropriate for one's own use; lend; adopt; take on.'
Now, I don't know about you, but I have this 'thing' about borrowing anything from anyone, as this is a great responsibility. You are using something that belongs to someone else and you don't want to break or destroy it in any way. On the contrary, you want to return it in the same condition, or maybe better, than when you received it. This is a great commitment! So, if I 'own' whatever it is that I am responsible for, I don't have to answer to anyone if it happens to break while in my possession, right? Wrong! The Bible actually states that we, as humans, do not 'own' anything, or anyone! Not even ourselves! What?? What about my kids? Not even your kids. Read the story of Abraham in Genesis. This is an eye-opener in how we are to hold onto our most precious possession. Everything, I repeat, everything we have on this earth belongs to God. "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." - Psalm 24:1. "To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it." - Deuteronomy 10:14. "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
So, yes, we are responsible for everything and everyone that God has blessed us with, but we don't 'own' any of it. I have a t-shirt that says, "When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose." In our humanity, at times, we feel that we lose...possessions and people, but in reality, we are only returning them to the One who gave them to us in the first place. Hopefully better than when we first received them. Through His love, mercy, and grace He has blessed us with all that we think we 'own.' What a great God we serve!
"Oh, Lord God, may we get into Your Word and learn just exactly who You are. May we learn how to surrender back to You all that You have blessed us with on this earth with praises and thanks...in the gains, and especially in the losses. Amen."
So, what is it that you own?
Whenever a life moment happens, stopping us in our tracks, we pray, focusing on the 'outcome,' the conclusion, result, or development. The one we desire. The one we are hoping for.
As Christians, we are to put our trust in the Lord with all our heart, leaning not on our own understanding, while committing our way to Him. We are to keep in mind that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and our ways are not God's ways. When we are afraid, we are to put our trust in Him and praise His name. That by losing our life to Him, we will actually find it.
A Christian's life, and especially the life stopping moments, belong to God. "We are not our own, we were bought at a price." = 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. A Christian's prayers should be in line with God's heart and will, therefore focused ono whatever outcome is provided by God, even, and especially, when the outcomes is not one we are looking for or want. Our motives must be in line with God's plan for our life, and since we don't always know God's plan for our life, our motives may be wrong. This is when, as stated above, we lose our life to Him, trust in His ways, while always giving Him praise. If we can do this, the 'outcome' to our prayers, the one that to us looks to be the opposite of what we prayed for, will be realized as part of God's plan. We can never doubt that He will give us the strength, power, and courage to get through it, whatever it happens to be.
No matter what the development, result, or 'outcome' you are praying for, the conclusion will always be God's. We just have to let Him be Him in our lives.
So, what outcomes are you looking for?
Our occupation, the business of our life, employment, or profession, usually comes with a learning time. Sometimes this can be very intense, taking years to accomplish. To be really good and confident that we're doing it the right way, a time of learning is required, and necessary. But our true ability in any occupation doesn't really come until we find ourselves thrust in the midst of whatever it is we have been trained to do. A doctor is not a doctor until he faces sickness. A fireman is not a fireman until he faces a fire. A seaman is not a seaman until he faces rough seas. This same analogy also holds true for our Christian walk with Jesus.
We can read the Bible, along with other books on the subject, go to church, fellowship with others, while enjoying the worship and the sermon. We can even experience touches from the Holy Spirit in our lives. However, our true ability to use what we have learned only comes when we find ourselves thrust into some type of adversity. Times we find ourselves up against a brick wall, stopped in our tracks, and maybe seeing no way out. These are the times that will bring to light what it is we have learned in our Christian walk.
The Word tells us to be strong and courageous, not afraid or discouraged, for He is with us wherever we go. That righteous people have many troubles, but the Lord will deliver them. That if we have God for us, then who or what could ever be against us. That He comforts us in our troubles so that we are able to comfort others. That we are hard pressed, but not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are struck down, but not destroyed. That His power rests on us and is made perfect in our weakness.
It is through adversity that we learn how to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, as we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. We learn to persevere under trial because, having stood the test, we will receive the crown of life that He has promised. We learn to be sober minded and alert to the ways of Satan who is only looking for whom he can devour. We learn to consider these times as pure joy, because they produce perseverance in us, making us mature and complete in our faith. We learn that after we have suffered a little while, He will Himself restore us and make us strong, firm, and steadfast. That greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!
So, what occupation are you being trained for?
To 'obey' is to follow the commands or guidance of; conform to; comply with; to behave obediently; adhere to; mind. To 'submit' is to subject or yield oneself to a condition, treatment, or operation as in the authority or will of another; to defer or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another; surrender; give in; relent. As we can see, there is a great difference between these two words.
We have human laws and we have God's laws. if human laws, by which we must live as a society, are made through the filter of God's laws, then these two sets of laws will agree. If they are not, they will highly disagree. We, as Christians, must be able to discern if and when this takes place, while remembering that it is God who establishes governing authorities, whether the laws they make are through His filter or not (Romans 13:1).
So, if God establishes all authority, why are there laws made that are directly against His laws? And how are we, as Christians, supposed to obey these laws? The making of laws that are against God reveals how deep is the depravity of man, how far removed we are from God. As to whether or not Christians should obey these laws, let's look at what the Apostles Paul and Peter have to say.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned for breaking the law and yet wrote, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established." - Romans 13:1. Peter, who was also imprisoned for breaking the law wrote, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority; whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people." - 1 Peter 2:13-15. Paul nor Peter, either one, used the word 'obey.' They both said 'submit' or 'be subject to.'
The laws that Paul and Peter broke, and were imprisoned for, were not God's laws, they were human laws. Human laws made by a government with absolutely no regard for the laws of God. This also took place in Daniel, Chapter 3 and 6 where arrests were made when decreed laws were not followed. "We must obey God rather than human beings!" - Acts 5:29. In obeying God's laws rather than those made by the authorities, they then became 'subject' to, and had to 'submit' themselves to, whatever punishment these authorities deemed appropriate.
So, why does God establish governing authorities that He knows will make laws for society to follow that are blatantly against His Word? Let me answer this with another question....
What would you do?
We've all used these three words at some time or another, and in various circumstances. The definitions I could find are 'Even if there are obstacles or difficulties; Something that is always true; In any condition; In any event; Without regard to what happens; Makes no difference; Will not have an effect on; Same thing regardless of options; Under all and any circumstances; Not changed or affected by any situation.'
Now, looking at these definitions, let's take a look at our spiritual life. The most important thing we are to do in our spiritual life is give glory and praise to God....No Matter What! The Word says to give God glory when we eat and drink. To let our light shine before others in good deeds, so they will give glory to God. We are to give thanks to Him, with our whole heart, and glorify His name. The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands, and so should we. We are to ascribe glory to the Lord and worship the splendor of His holiness. Can we do this....No Matter What? NO! We can't!
It is virtually impossible for us to do this in our own weak and frail humanity. The only way we can give praise and glory to God...no matter what...is through the presence of Jesus in our life. He is the source of all the strength we will ever need...no matter what. Even if we experience obstacles or difficulties, Jesus is true in any condition, in any event. With Him in our life, it makes no difference what our circumstances are. He gives us the power to praise and glorify our Father in heaven....No Matter What!
So, are you able to give God the praise...no matter what?
Nice. The definition is 'polite, kind, pleasing, agreeable, appropriate, fitting; socially acceptable.' Are you 'nice?' Are you polite and kind to people? Are you pleasing and agreeable? Do you fit in? Are you socially acceptable? This could probably get really ugly, couldn't it? In today's culture, we as Christians, definitely no longer 'fit in.' So, can we still be 'nice?' Was Jesus 'nice?' Since we are to be like Him, let's take a look.
Jesus was kind to people. He pleased them in that He brought the good news of the kingdom of God, and He healed all their sicknesses. Who would not be pleased with this? But was He always nice? NO! In Matthew 15, a Canaanite woman came to Him asking for healing for her daughter. He ignored her. When she kept crying out to Him, He told her she was not one of those to whom He was sent. As she continued to beg, He called her a dog. Was this being nice? No! In John 4, Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman, calling her out for having several different husbands and currently living with a man who was not her husband. How dare He embarrass her like this! Was this nice? No! Why was Jesus not so nice to these two, and others in the Word? Because His main purpose was to save their souls. He loved them so much, He could not by any means be nice to them, sitting back and watching their soul go to hell. Did they recognize and accept His words as truth? Did they realize His love for them? Or did they take offense, becoming bitter and hateful?
Let's look at one more instance: In Matthew 23, He called those in charge hypocrites because they shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. He called them blind fools and said they were full of greed and self-indulgence. He called them whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but were full of dead bones and everything unclean on the inside. He called them snakes and a brood of vipers. Was He being nice? No! Why? Same reason as above. He loved them too much to sit back and allow them to destroy themselves. Did they recognize and accept the truth of His words? Did they realize His love for them? Or did they take offense, becoming bitter and hateful?
The Word says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In the instances above, Jesus was showing who He was by stating the truth. He is the Truth, therefore He must speak the truth. They crucified Him for it. Today, our culture is trying to crucify the truth once again. "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32. How can people know the truth that will set them free if it is not spoken? We, the church, the body of Christ on earth, must stand for, and speak, Truth. Do we care about others this much? Are we concerned about their souls?
Has Jesus ever called you out on something? Did you recognize and accept the truth of His words, realizing His love for you? Or did you take offense? What about others, not only your friends, but also your enemies? Are you loving them the same way Jesus loves you? Are you concerned about their souls?
Are you being nice?
Do you like M&M's? The little chocolates with the candy coating that 'melt in your mouth and not in your hand.' I think pretty much everyone like these. Oh, yes! YUM!
Psalm 119 contains 176 verses. Verses 97 through 104 are under the letter 'M' of the Hebrew alphabet. Let's take a look....
"97=My how I love your Law, I meditate upon it all day long. 98=My wisdom is greater than that of my enemies, because of your commandments. 99=More understanding do I have than my teachers, because of your testimonies. 100=More than the ancients do I understand, because I keep your precepts. 101=My feet are refrained from every evil way, that I might obey your word. 102=My feet do not depart from your judgments, because you have taught me. 103=My mouth finds your words sweeter than honey (and M&M's). 104=Many are your precepts, because of them I hate every false way."
We are to love God's Law and think about it all day (Joshua 1:8). If we do this, we will be smarter than our enemies. If we do this, we will have a greater understanding than our teachers and those who came before us. If we do this, our feet will remain on the narrow, but clear path (Matthew 7:13-14) and will not swerve to the right or to the left (Proverbs 4:27). If we do this, His Words will become, to our mouth, sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10) and M&M's. If we do this, we will hate and avoid sin.
I have spoken before about memorizing Scripture and how it will work down into your inner depths. How the words work in and through you, rooting out all the things that are hidden there. This is one of the mysteries of God. How His Words can completely turn your whole world around. Your whole world that contains, at times, unbearable circumstances.
Yep, pretty much everyone loves M&M's. So, grab yourself a handful, toss them in your mouth and taste and see that the Lord is good.
These are the ones that 'melt in your soul, not in your hand.'
The definition of 'loose ends' is, 'something left hanging loose; a fragment of unfinished business.' I read somewhere that this saying came from large sailing vessels when their rigging was loose. The lines had to be tight so as not to unravel during storms.
In the Book of Acts, Chapter 1, we read where Jesus was taken up to heaven as His disciples stood there and watched. As they continued looking up into the sky, I am sure they felt like they had just acquired a very serious 'loose end.' But an angel instantly reassured them that they had nothing to worry about, as Jesus would return the same way they had just seen Him go. The angel was able to tie up at least one of the disciples 'loose ends.'
Each and every one of us probably have some loose ends. Things that are left undone, for many different reasons. Sometimes we become complacent or just downright lazy. But there is one very important loose end that we cannot afford to leave hanging...our walk with Jesus. This walk includes reading and studying the Bible, and talking, and spending time, with other Christians. Learning how to live and making decisions the way Jesus would have us to do. Typing up this particular loose end takes time, dedication, and perseverance. While we are very good at finding some other frayed end to spend our time on, none will be more important or benefit every aspect of our life like our Jesus walk.
So, how's your rigging? Is it loose? Are the ends frayed? Will they hold tight when the storms of life come? Are you able to say, "Bring it on! Let's test the waters!"?
If not, you better get busy tying.
It's coming up on a year since I lost my Mom. At her funeral, I placed a fork in her hand. Many people asked me why. Here is the story of 'Keep Your Fork."
A lady who was dying, told her family that as she lay in her casket, to place a fork in her hand. They were confused and asked, "Why?" She told them that whenever she went to someone's house for a meal, as they removed the main course plates, they would tell her to 'keep your fork.' If they told her this, she knew there was something better coming. Her focus changed from what was very good to what she knew would be so much better.
The lady's fork, and her wanting to keep it, is symbolic of what we need to focus on and hold tightly to.... our faith in the Lord.
The Word of God tells us that our faith will heal us, and through it we have peace. That it fills us with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. That we must guard our faith, standing firm in it, while being courageous and strong. That we must live by faith and not by sight, as our faith is our confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we can't see. That we are saved by the gift of God's grace given to us through our faith. That the shield of faith can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. That when faith is rejected, lives are shipwrecked, as there is no place to which we can escape if we choose to ignore so great a salvation. That without faith it is impossible for us to please God. that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith, teaching us the joy that He received by holding onto what He knew was right. That our faith, when tested, produces perseverance, helping us to believe and not to doubt, as in doubting, we are tossed to and fro by whatever the present culture is looking to. So, as we work hard to keep our faith, what is the better that is coming?
Our righteousness comes by faith and in righteousness there is life and immortality. Whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but shall have eternal life. They have crossed from death to life. Death now has no power over us. Our citizenship is not of this world, but of heaven. All of our tears, mourning, and pain will be wiped away.
So, while on this earth (the main course), I will hold tightly to my faith (fork) because I know there's something much better coming!!
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom
The definition of 'influence' is 'the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways; sway; an emanation of spiritual or moral force; to have an effect on the condition or development of.' Have you ever considered yourself as having influence over others? Do others have influence over you?
My Mom and I worked at the same facility. Years back, someone had prophesied the return of Christ on a certain day. Some of the girls that worked there went to Mom's department to make sure she showed up for work that day as they knew if she was there, then the prophecy was a hoax. Now, that's influence! "Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16.
My Mom had 13 siblings. She was the only one of them that attended church on a regular basis, having a close relationship with Jesus Christ. I think, for this reason, she may not have been included in some of my family's get togethers. However, when she did walk into the room, they felt like they had to be on their best behavior. Now that's influence! "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." - Proverbs 31:30.
How about Jesus? Does He have any influence over you? Have you experienced His presence, power, guidance, and correction in your life? How about His self-sacrificing love? Does this influence your life in any way? Have you witnessed how His influence brings compassion and hope into people's lives, giving them reason to live? How faith in Him makes all things possible? What would any of us be without this hope and faith? The influence of Jesus reaches into every aspect of our life, not only church, but family, government, education, business, science, and arts. Try to imagine a part of your life without this influence. Now that's just downright ugly!
Let Jesus influence your life in such a way that you, in turn, may influence others the same way. Regardless of what is happening to us or around us, the flow of this influence and love must never stop.
So, how's your influence?
Does your presence have the power to cause a spiritual or moral effect in other lives?
The definition of 'in name only' is 'by description but not in reality; used to describe a person, thing, or action that does not have the qualities that its name suggests.' For example, in the corporate world you could have someone over you, but there is someone above them who makes all the decisions. The person over you is your 'boss' in name only. You could purchase a car for someone else, but it remains in your name. It is the other person's car in name only.
But what about our spiritual life? Are we claiming that we are a Christian? Could this be 'in name only?' Let's take a look....
The world's view of popularity is being liked by everyone and having many followers on Facebook. Maybe being invited to all the parties and social events going on in our circle. But the spiritual view of popularity is in Galatians 1:10 where it tells us that we are to please God, not people. When you follow Jesus, you will not always be able to please those around you. Under these circumstances, would we be able to retain the qualities of being a Christian?
How about the world's view of might and power? This would have to do with riches and possessions, or maybe a position held in society. It seems that in our culture, the more money and possessions you have, the more might and power. But the spiritual view of might and power is found in 2 Corinthians 12:10 where it tells us that we delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties, for when we are weak, then we are strong, reason being our might and power comes from the Lord. Would the qualities of being a Christian stay with us under these circumstances?
How about the world's view of being prosperous and successful? Again, this would be found in riches and possessions, being the result of having a high corporate position with a huge salary. But the spiritual view of prosperity and success is found in our faith and trust in what the Word tells us. In our knowing that no weapon forged against us will prevail. In knowing that if our minds are steadfast in Jesus, we will be kept in perfect peace. That His divine power has given us everything we need to live a godly life. That by His wounds we are healed. That He will provide all that we need in this life. That He has taken our perishable bodies and made them imperishable.
This is our popularity. This is our might and power. This is our prosperity and success. This is our description in reality.
So, how about it? Are you a Christian 'in name only?'
The definition of 'impossible' is 'incapable of being or of occurring; felt to be incapable of being done, attained, or fulfilled; insuperably difficult; hopeless; unsolvable; unrealizable.' So, I guess we can all agree that if something is impossible, then it is definitely not possible. Oh, but wait! Luke 1:37 (KJV) says, "With God nothing shall be impossible." So, let's take a look at.....
Jesus. His life was chock full of impossibles. Water into wine? Not possible! But He did it. Jesus can take the water of our spiritual life and turn it into sweet, sweet, wine. Heal people? That's only, maybe, possible through doctors. Jesus can take whatever ails us and give us a healing that goes way beyond all our physical ailments. What about when the disciples spent the whole night fishing and caught nothing on their own. But when Jesus showed up and told them to "Put out into deep water, and let down their nets for a catch," their catch was the greatest haul they had ever made. Jesus provides everything. All we have to do is enter the deep waters of His love and let down our nets. How about when He cast out the unclean spirit? He can renew our mind and clean out our heart. What about the storms of life? They sure seem impossible at times. But He can still those storms and leave us with a peace that transcends all understanding. What about what we see happening around us? Is it hard for us to believe that God is working in the midst of all the current chaos? Jesus can open our eyes and our understanding to the ways in which He works, just as He did the blind man. What about how we pray and how we love others? Is it impossible for us to pray for and love those who come against us? Those who don't understand how we can be a follower of Christ? Well, Jesus did it. Even while they were beating Him and nailing Him to the cross.
How was He able to do all these impossible things? He walked with the great I AM. The great I AM, who removed all of His i-m's out of the word 'impossible' and made everything 'possible.' It seems the word 'impossible' is not part of God's vocabulary!
So, how's all your 'im-possibles?' Has your water been turned to wine? Are you healed? Are you provided for? How's your vision? What about your prayers? Who do you love?
Has the great I AM removed any of your i-m's?
The definition of this tiny little word is 'condition; stipulation.' In spite of its size, the emphasis put on it throughout the Bible is quite clear. But do we heed what is said? Maybe we think that what is written in the Word does not pertain to us today. Well, let's have a look at a portion of the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 28, which I have taken out of the Message Bible. As you read it, please keep in mind that God is talking to the Jewish people as a nation. But also, as you read it, think about our nation today. I think you will find that, symbolically, it is describing us in great detail.
"If you listen obediently to the voice of God and obey all his commandments. If you live the way He has shown you, not swerving to the right or to the left, this is what He will do: God's blessing will be upon your city, country, children, land, animals, food, workplaces, and plans. Your enemies will run from you in many directions. God will lavish on you all good things. The sky will open with rain right on time. All other peoples of the earth will hold you in respectful awe. You will lend to them, but will not have to borrow. You will be the head, not the tail."
Then it goes on to say "If you don't follow the voice of God, He will do this: His curse will be upon your city, country, food, children, animals, and plans. You will experience confusion with everything you try to do. He will infect you with disease, consumption, fever, rash, seizures, dehydration, blight and jaundice. You will grope as a blind person in darkness. You will worship other gods of wood and stone. Your sons and daughters will be shipped to foreigners, while you wear yourselves out looking for them. Your enemies will hunt you down and you will run from them in many directions with no way of escape. All the kingdoms of the earth will see you as a horror."
It goes on, but I will stop here.
So, how about it? Do you think that Americans and American Christians have forsaken this tiny little word and the amount of importance God has placed on it? May those that are praying for a heeding of this little word be heard by our great God! May He answer in His love, mercy, and grace....not in His wrath.
So, have you been skipping over the IF's?
What is 'Honor?' The definition is, 'good name or public esteem; reputation; a showing of usually merited respect; recognition; one whose worth brings respect or fame; to give special recognition to; a person of superior standing, as a title or high office.'
Have you ever been honored for something? Given special recognition? I spent 36 years in the corporate world where 'honor' is highly regarded. In that world, people will fight tooth and nail for a title and the respect from others they think these titles should bring. It is of utmost importance to them to be seen and respected. Needless to say, I don't miss any of the time I spent there.
But this is exactly the way of the world. People will give everything they have, all while belittling others, to be recognized and receive honor. The downside is when they do this, they are only fighting to be recognized by, and given honor from, other people. This will usually prove to be futile.
When you become a Christian, you learn that the honor you receive doesn't come from other people, but from God. God will, in turn, use others to honor you, but your striving to be recognized and honored should be directed only towards Him. When doing good things for others, we don't blow our own horn, commending ourselves in our abilities, we let God do it. Whatever work we do is done as if working for Him and not for other people. He is the One that causes our light to shine in other's darkness. He guides, satisfies, and strengthens us. We strive for the 'well done' that we know He will speak over us. We learn to extend forgiveness in the light of His forgiveness to us. We learn to encourage and build others up. It becomes important to us that our words and thoughts are pleasing to Him.
Yes, we are God's handiwork, and it is through Jesus that we flourish, becoming like a well-watered garden, a spring whose waters never fail. We can do all things through Him from whom we get our strength.
Yes, we are made in the image of God. There is no greater honor on earth than this.
So, how are you being honored?
'Help' is 'to give assistance or support to; to make more pleasant or bearable; improve; relieve; rescue; save; benefit; to further the advancement of; promote; to change for the better; to keep from occurring; prevent; to restrain oneself from doing something.'
I think it's safe to say that each and every one of us have come to Jesus, at some time or another, and have asked for 'help.' But do we really, I mean really, want His help? Do we want His assistance and support? Do we want Him to keep something from occurring, so that we have to restrain ourselves from doing it again? Do we want Him to change us for the better? Do we want Him to improve, relieve, rescue, and save us? Let's take a look....
In John 5:1-9, the Bible talks about a pool called Bethesda where disabled people, blind, lame, and paralyzed, would come to be healed. It was believed that an angel would come down into the pool and 'stir up the water.' The first person into the pool after the water was stirred would be healed. The day Jesus was there, He saw a man that had been coming to the pool for 38 years. When Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed, he didn't say, "Oh yes.!" as you would expect him to say. He only said that others prevented him from going into the pool by going ahead of him. Jesus did heal the man and he walked away from the pool carrying his mat. But did this man really, I mean really, want to be healed? He had been coming there for 38 years. That's a very long time. Could it be that he had become accustomed to his life? Did he really want to be healed? Being healed meant he would have to completely change his life. To put it bluntly, he would no longer be able to just lie around the pool all day but would have to find a job and go to work. Jesus did see him later at the temple and warned him to stop sinning or something worse may happen to him (Verse 14). So, yes, this man definitely would now have to make changes to his life.
How about you? Have you come to Jesus for healing? Have you come to Jesus for help with a particular part of your life? Now for the Big question....Do you really want His help? Do you really want His healing? If He did for you what you want, would changes have to made to your life so this didn't happen again? Would the way you do things and the decisions that you make need to be different?
Living for Jesus is not easy. We can ask Him for help, but what about our part? Does He expect anything from us? Are there conditions, disciplines, and changes for us to make? What about our heart's desires? Do these need to change, becoming more for Him than for other things? Are we really asking for His help?
How do you think the man in the above story, after being healed by Jesus, handled the rest of his life? Do you think he went out and made the necessary changes that needed to be made....or not?
So, are you asking Jesus for healing or help?