Porcupine People

Funny Porcupines_4

We’ve all been around them – porcupine people; in fact, we’ve all been one to someone else at some point in our lives. We are imperfect people living in a world filled with imperfect people!

 

The quills of a porcupine are used as a defense mechanism to detour predators from getting too close to them. They are laid flat on the body until something comes near and they feel threatened and then the quills are raised to scare the other animal or person away.

 

Many times in our own lives we form relationships with people and all seems to be going well until something is said or done that threatens the security of the other person. The quills are raised and if we aren’t careful we will get too close and experience the pain of a stick!

 

All of us have past hurts that we carry through life. The quills or barbs of pain that we experience can be revisited by something that is said or done to invoke that same feeling of fear, pain or sense of insecurity. So, how can we avoid the sting of a porcupine person? And how can we live our lives lovingly without being a porcupine person?

 

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

 

Walk in love towards other people. Remember that just as you have sensitive areas in your life so they have in theirs as well. Love covers people with a blanket of security. It says to another that we understand their pain and respect their feelings. Love makes allowances for those times when people are vulnerable and subject to weaknesses.

One porcupine person to another

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

 

There are times when I’ve wished I could go back and pull out the quills of pain that I, as a porcupine person myself, have inflicted upon another, but often the pain is too great for that person to receive an apology or to forgive an offense. I pray that when I have done that that God will help me to not only forgive those who have hurt me but also to restore the relationships that I have had with those I have hurt. Sometimes that is not possible, but as the Word says, “if it is possible”, as much as it depends on me that I am to live in peace with all men.

 

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

 

Go the extra mile; love them, even if it is from a distance; bless them; do good to them and pray for them. It’s hard to continue to hold a grudge against someone you are loving, blessing, being good to and praying for. Boundaries may have to be set up to guard your own heart and keep the distance so you are not placed in harm’s way, but love can still be shown from a distance in how you speak about that person, how you smile at them when encountering them, and in how you pray for them.

 

Matthew 6:14, 15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

 

Removing the barbs of hurtful encounters is done through forgiveness. It releases us from the pain and guilt of painful encounters with porcupine people and sets us free from the wounds that have been inflicted by people who are hurting within themselves. Porcupine people are often just reacting to hurts in their own lives that they are dealing with at that particular time. When the quills come up it is an indication that there is something in their heart that God wants to deal with. He is just bringing it to their attention. When that particular issue is not dealt with it will come up again and again until it has been resolved. We can’t change things that have been done to us but we do have control over our reaction to those things. Forgiveness allows us the freedom to move on without being tied to an offense. According to Matthew 6:15 it also clears our path for forgiveness with our heavenly Father. We need to forgive others so He will forgive us!

Dog with porcupine quills

Pray that God will heal the hurts in both of your hearts! Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. Wounds from the quills of a porcupine person can leave lasting effects, but God is the Healer. He heals the pain involved with the barbs of words that have been spoken that can’t be taken back. Emotional wounds can sometimes be more painful than physical wounds. They have a tendency to heal more slowly and leave scars and wounds that can be re-opened if not completely healed. But God is able to remove even the remembrance of those wounds. He heals completely and brings lasting peace into our hearts.

Peace is not the absence of conflict

Father, I thank You that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. I pray today for those who have been hurt by words that have been spoken through times of misunderstandings and seasons of adversity in all of our lives. I pray that You will touch those who have been hurt through relationships that have gone sour and offenses that have been harbored in the hearts of those who have been injured. I ask You to set the captives free from the lasting effects of those offenses. And may we all be people of love living in peace with each other. May we consider the interests of the other person before our own and exercise forgiveness and understanding for their weaknesses. I pray that we will not be porcupine people but that we will cover the sins of hurtful words with our love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Father’s Heart

1 John 4 10

1 John 4:9, 10 NLT God showed how much He loves us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 

We hear “I love you” coming out of people’s mouths so much any more. They often speak of “loving this or that” and terms of endearment for people, places and things are all categorized under “I love…..” But what kind of love is being exhibited in each of those instances and how deep and true is the love that is being spoken of? God’s kind of love is a love that is unconditional, without limits, sacrificial, selfless and true.

 

The word for love in this depth and magnitude in the Greek is “agape” and it means: an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is a love by choice and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world.

 

In this description and definition of the word used for “love” or “loved” in the above verse we see the Father heart of God; a heart that gives without expecting anything in return; that sacrifices the best for the worst of us; that goes beyond the limits of expectation in provision for those upon whom He bestows His benevolent love. God exhibits the extreme definition of “agape” love. We see this further in 1 John 3:16:

 

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

It is in seeing the picture of Jesus hanging on that cross, saturated with the sin of mankind that we see love in it’s extreme demonstration! This is how we know love. This extreme love is not a feeling, although feelings often accompany it; it is a choice to do the best for the one you love. The Father heart of God chooses to do the best for us. That’s why He gave Jesus to die for our sin. He knew we couldn’t do anything to deliver us from the consequences of the sin of mankind. We had to have a sinless lamb to shed His blood that we might be set free from our sin. Jesus was that sacrifice!

 

In looking at the heart of God and understanding this extreme love we come to the realization that we often use whatever example we have of a parent in relating to God as a heavenly Father. Often our earthly example is skewed, imperfect and lacking in this unconditional, sacrificial love. It is then through a clouded lens that we see God and transfer those misconceptions of a parent onto Him. We reduce Him to our picture of a parent and often believe that His love is as imperfect as our earthly parent.

 

But God is a “perfect” parent! The scripture tells us in 1 John 4:8 that God is love; He doesn’t just love, but His whole being is love. You can see a description of Him in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where Paul speaks of the attributes of love.

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NLT Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever,….

 

This word for love in this portion of scripture is the same Greek word, “agape”, and can be used to describe the love that God has for us. Since God is love, his inherent characteristics can be identified through inserting His name in this portion of scripture where it uses the word “love”. In doing this it is not meant to be changing His word, but simply to give us a better understanding of how God is, what He acts like and how He relates to His children. So we could say that God is patient and kind. God is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. God does not demand His own way. God is not irritable, and keeps no record of when He has been wronged. God is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. God never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. God will last forever,…

 

Is that the picture that you hold within your heart of God? Do you see Him never giving up on you; always loving and kind, patient with you? Or has your understanding of God seen Him as a harsh taskmaster, ready to whack you if you did something wrong? Have you related to God as “the man upstairs” or your loving Father, who delights in you?

Zephaniah 3 17

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

 

This is a correct picture of God, our heavenly Father. He is here with us, never giving up on us. He is the Mighty God who saves! He gave His very own Son to die for you and me that we might have eternal life; that we might live forever in His presence enjoying the benefits of the abundant life that Jesus died to give us. He rejoices over us with gladness! He quiets us with His love. When we are hurting He hurts with us and when we are exciting and joyous He rejoices with us.

 

There are two different Hebrew words for “rejoice” in that verse. The first one is “sus” and it means to rejoice, be glad, be greatly happy. God is greatly happy with you! He is not mad at you and He doesn’t hold grudge against you when you do something wrong. God rejoices over you!

 

The second word for “rejoice” in that verse is the Hebrew word “gil” and it means to joy, rejoice, be glad, be joyful. It contains the suggestion of “dancing for joy,” or “leaping for joy,” since the verb originally meant “to spin around with intense motion.”

 

God dances for joy over His children. He spins around with intense motion and leaps for joy over those that He calls His own. God delights in you! Can you see that? He is a proud papa! His sees His children as the apple of His eye!

 

Zechariah 2:8 NKJV For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”

 

Our heavenly Father has each one of us inscribed on the palms of His hands. He will never forget you!

 

Isaiah 49:15, 16 NKJV “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”

 

God’s love far surpasses the love that even a mother can have for the child to which she has given birth. Human love can be swayed and sometimes emotions or fear cause a human mother to push away the child of her womb, but God never does that! He never gives up on His child!

 

Since we have seen earthly parents at times give up on their children and that is the only example we have of parenthood, we may have a tendency to transfer that imperfect understanding of a parent over onto our heavenly Father, who loves perfectly. But He doesn’t exhibit His love for us in that manner.

 

Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

 

God loves us with an everlasting love; a love that never quits, never gives up, never condemns and never leaves us. His love for us goes on and on and on….. It is with lovingkindness that He draws us to Himself. He is not a harsh God; He is a loving Father.

 

If you have had a misunderstanding of God and His love for you, I pray that today you will begin to see Him as He really is.

 

Father, I thank You for the love that You show us. You love with a perfect love, Father, and I pray that we will each one begin to interact with You as the loving Father that You are. I pray that those who do not understand Your love will have their spiritual eyes opened this morning to see You as You really are. I pray that they will receive the love that You have shown them through the sacrifice of Your Son and that they will be drawn to You through Him and receive Jesus as their own personal Lord and Savior. Father, open the eyes of the blind; restore what has been stolen from those who have suffered at the hand of their enemy. Father, heal those who are sick and hurting. Establish your kingdom in the lives of Your children! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Body In Motion

Mutual faith and support

Romans 1:11, 12 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

Impart—Greek word metadidomi – means to give, share, impart, distribute, grant. The word impies liberality or generosity. It is used to exhort those with two outer tunics to give one to someone who has none; to encourage people to give with cheerful outflow; and to urge workers to labor with industry in order to give to him who has a need.

Gift – Greek word charisma—means: Related to other words derived from the root char. Chara is joy, cheerfulness, delight. Charis is grace, goodwill, undeserved favor. Charisma is a gift of grace, a free gift, divine gratuity, spiritual endowment, miraculous faculty. It is especially used to designate the gifts of the Spirit. In modern usage, a “charismatic” signifies one who either has one or more of these gifts functioning in his life, or who believes these gifts are for today’s church.

What a privilege it is to be able to meet together with other believers to share what God has placed within each one of us. We are all different; unique individuals with different giftings. When we come together we should be ready to give, cheerfully expecting God to bring someone to us that needs the gifts that He has placed within us. Paul said in Ephesians 4:16 that we all are like joints in the body, knit together by what every part has to supply and that when we do our share that the body grows to the maturity of Christ, built up in love.

Ephesians 4 15, 16

Ephesians 4:15, 16 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

 

Father, I thank You that I can join together this morning with others believers both to lift up the name of Jesus that You might be glorified in Your church but also that I might encourage others in their walk with You. Father, may I be that vessel this morning that You flow through to one who needs Your love, strength, healing and deliverance. I believe that You want to move through each of Your children to help others grow up in their walk with You. Father, this is the opportunity that You have given us to meet together and be the Church! We are Your body and You are the Head, Lord Jesus! Direct us by Your Spirit to touch those in need today! Father, I believe that You want us to be Your hands and feet and that You have equipped us each with unique gifts that Your Spirit has placed within us. May You be glorified in Your Church this morning! May the lost be saved, the hurting be healed and the oppressed be delivered as You move through each one of Your children! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monkey See, Monkey Hear, Monkey Do

As a young child I was easily influenced by those around me.  Being the youngest of five children I had a lot of examples in my life.  And, of course, they were all good!  But children often live by what they see in those around them more than what they are told.  God gives us instruction in His Word about how we are to relate to each other and then asks us to portray that picture to the world.

Romans 15:5-7 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father our Lord Jesus Christ. So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.

This scripture always speaks to my heart! It reminds me to give others the same chance in life that God has given me. Verse 7 is the one that really stands out to me: “So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.”  It is as we put this into practice that we live in harmony with each other and God receives the glory! Jesus said in John 13:35 that people would know that we are His disciples by the love that we have for one another.

How does God see us and accept us?

God knows everything about you

  • He sees us made in His image and likeness.

Genesis 1:26, 27 Then God said, “Let Us made man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

  • He sees us as His own special people.

2 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

  • He sees us as a unique person, each one fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13, 14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

  • He sees us in our sin and weaknesses in need of a Savior.

John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

  • He sees us as once lost, but now found.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

  • He sees us as His workmanship, a work still in progress, created for good works.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

  • How did He receive us? – In love, at our worst, He came and reached down and picked us up and made us whole in Christ Jesus!

God loved us at our darkest

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

  • How does He feel about us now? He’s crazy in love with us!

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

Inscribed on God's hands

Isaiah 49:15, 16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion of the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Do you need the Savior today? Jesus is waiting to receive you into the family of God. If you will ask Him into your heart He will come to live within you by the power of His Spirit. He will love you, be your dearest friend and give you the satisfaction that only comes from filling the void within your heart with His very own presence. How can you turn down the One who loves you the most? Will you surrender your heart to Jesus today and receive the life that He came to give you? If you want a difference in your life; if you want to experience wholeness in your relationships and peace in your heart, then pray this prayer with me and mean it sincerely in your heart:

Father, I come before You today to say that I see from Your word that You love me. I know that Jesus died for me, that You gave His life to be the payment for my sin, for my willful choice of living my life for myself. I ask You to forgive me and save me from my sin. Father, I believe that Jesus died for me personally and that if I ask Him He will come into my heart and save me. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to do that, to come into my heart and be my own personal Lord and Savior. I thank You for saving me. I promise to live from this day forward for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If God received us when we were at our worst then how can we not extend the same grace to those around us?

Don't see everyone's flaws

Father, may we always see the best in those around us. May we extend friendship to them just as you extended salvation to us. Father, I pray that those who are hurting will feel the love from those around them who are reaching out to them. I ask You to set up divine appointments for them to interact with people who will show Your love to them in ways that they will receive. Father, may we never be guilty of turning someone away who needs to see Jesus through us. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

We Need Each Other

 

Colossians 2:6-10 AMP As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ ( the Messiah). For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the God-head—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].

I love this portion of Scripture. It speaks of who we are in Christ Jesus and the importance of dwelling on His word so that we can walk by faith and not be impressed and swayed by the traditions of men.

As you have therefore received Christ…..how did you receive Christ? I received Him into my life by God’s grace, His unmerited, free gift of salvation, appropriated by my faith! I received Christ Jesus by faith and so I am instructed to regulate and conduct my life in the same manner….by faith! So many are out there trying to work to make themselves acceptable to God. But it’s all in vain! There is no salvation apart from receiving the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross for the sin of mankind.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Christ Jesus paid the price, once and for all, for the sins of mankind. It is now up to us to receive that free gift through faith. And not just to initially receive it, but to walk by it as well. We are instructed to walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. (verse 7)

Have you ever watched a little sapling when it is first planted and how it handles the wind in a storm? While it is a newly planted tree, in the midst of the storm, it bends clear over to where it touches the ground and it seems as if it might not make it through the heat of the storm. But as it’s roots grow down deep into the soil it soon becomes rooted and grounded and much stronger to withstand the effects of the winds and rain of a heavy storm. It is more established in it’s source of strength, which is the soil of the ground around it. So it is with us when we are firmly rooted and deeply planted in Christ Jesus. We become increasingly strengthened as we are established in the faith!

Colossians 2:8 NKJV Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Friends, it is our responsibility to monitor our spiritual diet! There are all sorts of teachings out there that are contrary to the truth of Christ Jesus! Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4: 3, 4 that there would come a time when people would not endure sound doctrine, but they would jump from one teacher to another, turning away from the truth to embrace fables.

2 Timothy 4:3,4 NKJV For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

As the Day of the Lord’s return draws closer we will see more and more the fulfillment of this scripture. It is our responsibility to guard our hearts from false doctrine and teachers that draw people away from the truth. The only way to identify a counterfeit is to know the real. A bank teller identifies a counterfeit bill by handling the real bill over and over every day. It is then that she is able to see and feel the difference in the counterfeit. The more time you spend in the Word of God and communing with the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit, the more you will be able to identify false doctrine when it appears to you. When something doesn’t appear to be just right you will have an uneasiness within that is the lack of peace that comes from the discernment of the Lord telling you to watch out for that teaching.

For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the God-head—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. (verse 9, 10)

In Christ Jesus is the fullness of Deity; He is the exact representation of the Father. You can look at Jesus and His walk through humanity and see the will of God for mankind.

Hebrews 1:1-3 NKJV GOD, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Jesus, as He walked upon this earth as a human being, was a living illustration of God the Father. God spoke to us through His life, crucifixion and resurrection. When you see Jesus doing something as He walked on earth you can know that you are seeing the WILL of the Father in action. Jesus did nothing under His own power. He did what He did as an instrument in the Hand of God.

John 14:7-11 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

Now we see in Colossians 2:10 that we are in Christ Jesus, “made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the God-head—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].”

We, who are in Christ Jesus are filled with God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Wow! Let’s stop and take that in…..Selah! The NKJV says it this way:

Colossians 2:9,10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

In Christ Jesus dwells the fullness of God!

Fullness – Greek word pleroma means: full number, full complement, full measure, copiousness, plenitude, that which has been completed.

And you are complete in Him!

Complete – Greek word pleroo – means: to be made full.

Jesus, in His humanity, was made full of God and we are made full of God in Him. It is His will for us that we come to full spiritual stature in Him, with Him being the Head and us being His body.

Ephesians 4:13-16 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ–from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The fullness of God in Christ Jesus is within us, but it is through our yielding to His working within us and our interaction with others in the body of Christ that we grow up into the fullness of His stature. We are shaped by what He is doing within us and what we are doing as a part of the body of Christ, interacting with each other. Each of us, according to our giftings, has a share to give to the body of Christ. That causes us to grow up into maturity to the full stature of Christ Jesus. The truth is that we are made full in Christ Jesus, but the manifestation of it happens as we grow through sharing with one another. Each person is a vital part of the body of Christ! We all have a part to play.

Are you doing your part in the body of Christ?

Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Just as we will see people straying from the truth in the last days, so we are instructed to stir each other up and encourage one another to good works even more as we see the Day approaching. Our part is to gather together to encourage one another and exhort each other to continue living in love and good works. We are filled with the fullness of God in Christ Jesus to pour it out on each other so we will all grow up to the fullness of His stature. We are to be made mature in Christ Jesus; conformed to the image of Jesus as we yield to Him and interact with each other.

My brother and sister in Christ, you are important to me! You are a valuable gift in the body of Christ. Don’t ever say that you are of no value or have no real impact on someone else. We need each other!

Father, I thank You for who we are in Christ Jesus. I thank You for making us the fullness of God in Him. We are Your body, Lord Jesus and You are our Head. Thank You for leading us and guiding us in the way that we should go. May we ever wait to move until we hear our directions from You. Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus today, that You would show them how important they are to each other. I pray that they will come to the full understanding that they are complete in Christ Jesus and have the potential for all the fullness of the God-head within them. Father, help us to believe Your word and step out in faith to act on what You tell us to do, that we might have an impact on people for Your kingdom and their eternity. Thank You, Father, for equipping us just as You anointed Jesus, with the Holy Spirit and with power to go about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. Thank You for making us Your representatives in the earth today! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jesus Is The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

 

Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

It’s not often that I wake up with a secular song running through my mind, but this morning I kept hearing the song, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” speaking to my spirit. As I listened to this song I realized that Jesus is the bridge over troubled waters for us. He is the one who gives us safe crossing over the troubles that arise in our lives. God provided a safe haven for us that protects us from the storms of life when we enter into a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

John 15:14, 15 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

We are no longer servants of God, but through Jesus we have become His friends. He comforts and shelters us from the troubling times that rage around us. He is our bridge over troubled waters. It’s through communion with His Spirit who lives within us that we find comfort in times of trouble, a friend who’s always there, leadership and guidance when we have lost our way and one who sticks close to us through all kinds of life’s challenges.

The song speaks of someone being there to lay down his life to be that bridge over troubled waters for his friend. Jesus laid down His life that He might be that bridge to God for His friends.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 10:17, 18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have receive from My Father.”

Jesus willingly went to the cross for us that He might bridge the gap that was between us and the Heavenly Father because of our sin. He is the way that leads to reconciliation with God that no man could make. It took the sinless blood of Jesus to make the bridge that would lead us over the gulf of sin into the presence of God. He has reconciled sinful man with a holy God!

Ephesians 2:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them, bot to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Have you traveled the cross that bridges the gap between you and the Father? Jesus is the only way to get there.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

There is no other way to get to the Father except the way of the cross. You must come through the blood of Jesus, accepting what He did for you, personally, through Him laying down His life for your sins. Sin kept us from being able to come into the presence of a holy God, but the blood of the sinless Son of God restored us to right relationship with Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Jesus took our sin upon Himself and nailed it to the cross, making us dead to sin and alive to Him when we we receive His payment for our sin. Salvation comes to us as we realize that we are born as sinners and we can’t do anything for ourselves to save us from our sins. Then we come to an understanding that Christ died for us that we might not have to spend eternity separated from God because of our sin. He laid down His life and became that bridge over troubled waters for us. We receive salvation through faith in Him as a personal relationship, not a legalistic, ritualistic approach to God, but as one who knows Jesus and accepts His personal payment for our sin.

Romans 10:6-10; 13 NLT But the way of getting right with God through faith says, “You don’t need to go to heaven” (to find Christ and bring him down to help you). And it says, “You don’t need to go to the place of the dead” ( to bring Christ back to life again). Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Have you believed in your heart that Jesus died for you and God raised Him to new life again? Have you confessed Him as your Lord and Savior? That’s how you cross over the bridge into God’s presence. Those who haven’t crossed the bridge will spend eternity separated from the Father. But those who by faith receive what Jesus did for them on the cross and confess Him as their personal Savior and Lord have free access to the bridge that leads them across the troubled waters of life. They are free to cross over into God’s presence.

If you have never received that salvation that we have talked about this morning. It’s really very simple; people often feel that they have to perform to a certain standard to receive salvation. But as the above scripture says all you have to do is believe and receive! If you have never done that and you want to, please pray with me and mean it sincerely in your heart.

Father, I come before you now confessing that I am a sinner, both by birth and by choice. I have chosen to walk through life in my own way, that is apart from You. But I now realize that Jesus paid the price for my sin; that He died on that cross for me and that You raised Him from the dead; and that if I confess Him as my Lord I can receive access to that bridge that brings me into Your presence. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to You, Father God. I believe that He died for me, that You raised Him back to new life and I confess Him now as my Savior and Lord. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for me and for saving me. Thank You, Father, for making me Your child. From this day forward I will live for you! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer and received Jesus into your heart you now have access to the Father, through the Son. He is your Savior and Lord and your name is recorded in heaven as being in the family of God. Congratulations! That is the most important decision a person can make and has to be made this side of death. We only have the freedom to choose while we are still alive. It is important that everyone understands that there is no choosing once you die. The choice has to be made now!

Father, I thank You for those who have chosen Jesus this morning. I pray for those who may be wavering in their decision to follow You. I pray that they will choose now, before it is too late, to be born into the family of God. Father, I also lift up those who are experiencing troubled waters in their lives. I pray that You will make Yourself real to them and show them that You are the bridge over the difficulties that we experience in life. We can walk above the raging storms of life, safe in You. Thank You for giving us free access to Your salvation! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

As In The Days Of Noah

Matthew 24:37-39 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who re perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has commited to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as thought God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

As it was in the time of Noah so shall it be at the time of My return. There shall be marrying and partying and people scurrying about totally caught up in living life on their own doing what they see as normal and natural. They will be caught unaware because their focus is on themselves and not Me. Their minds are blinded to Who I am and the role I play in their salvation. The evil one has blinded their minds so they can’t see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ in order to be saved. The blinders must be pulled down so they can see that they need a Savior. No on can be saved until they realize they are lost. I have made each one of My children who are born again to be My ministers of reconciliation to show the way of salvation the the lost and perishing. Some will listen and gladly receive the message of salvation that is offered to them; others will turn away just as they did when the disciples of old shared with the people of their day. This message of salvation is still the same; it hasn’t lost it’s power. The blood that I shed still works; it still cleanses people from their iniquity; it hasn’t lost it’s power. The messengers are what changes. Be diligent to share the message of hope that I offer with those who are perishing, Child. You are a light to those in the darkness. Call them into My family through the love that I have placed within you. They will know that you are Mine by the love that you show to those around you. Let them see Me shining through you and they will be drawn to the God who lives within you. Let your light so shine that they will see it and glorify Me, Your Heavenly Father. When you lift up the name of Jesus I will draw all men unto Myself. My heart is grieved over those who are lost. They have missed their day of visitation. Oh, how I long to gather them to Myself! I delay My return so they can have another opportunity to come to Me and be saved for I am not slack concerning My promise that those who come to Me and receive Me will be born into My kingdom and receive Son-ship in My family. The time is drawing near. Do not delay in sharing the way of salvation with those that I place within your sphere of influence. Do not delay in telling of My goodness so men will be drawn to repentance. I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father except through Me.”

Oh Father, I pray for the lost and perishing this morning. I pray, Father, that the blinders will come down off their minds so they will see what You have provided for them in the crucifixion of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that they will see that they are lost without Him and they need to receive Him into their hearts to be born again. I pray, Father, that You will place people in their paths to share the love of God with them in ways that they will receive so they will have another opportunity to be saved. Father, I ask that You would not allow them to go out into eternity without You, but that You will bring them to salvation. I pray, Father, that those of us who know You will be diligent in sharing with those who need You the way of salvation. Father, cause our hearts to burn within us with the desire to be Your witnesses and the boldness to share in love with them, not condemning them for their sin, but encouraging them to receive the salvation that You offer.

Thank You, Father, for saving me. Thank You for giving me new life through the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank You for securing my salvation and receiving me into Your family. You are glorious and majestic! You are awesome and magnificent! You are the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of all mankind and the Savior of the world! To You be the glory, honor, praise and adoration! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Friends, the time is growing near for Jesus to return. I pray that each one of you will search your hearts and if you do not have a relationship with Him that you will make today your day of salvation. Open your hearts to Him and ask Him to come in and save you. He wants to give you eternal life and a home in heaven when this life is over. If you have never prayed to receive Jesus into your heart please pray this prayer and sincerely mean it:

Father, I come before you recognizing that I need Jesus. I am lost and without a Savior and I know that You gave Your very own Son for me that I might have new life. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was crucified for my sin and that You raised Him to new life and He now sits at Your right hand in Heaven. I thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for me. I ask You to come into my heart and save me from my sin. I vow to live every day of my life from this moment forward for You. I thank You, now for saving me! I confess You, Lord Jesus as my Savior and Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

 

 

Come Unto Jesus!

Psalm 55:4-8 My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.

I love to read the Psalms that David wrote because he is so open and honest in expressing his feelings to God. I think many times we are afraid to tell our heavenly Father how we really feel. Some of that fear comes from growing up in a performance oriented society where we are accepted and loved based on our performance, not for who we are. But God loves us unconditionally! If we’ve received Jesus as our Lord and Savior we belong to Him; we are a part of His family. God reaches down to His children in love to lift them up and pull them out of the messes they may be in. He forgives and restores us to right fellowship with Him when we acknowledge what we’ve done wrong in confession to Him. He is not like a person who changes his feelings toward those he is supposed to love when they do not respond to him as he would like. God loves because He is love!

1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

It is said that David was “a man after God’s own heart”. I believe that he was described as that type of person because he wasn’t afraid to talk to God in the honesty of his feelings. He wasn’t a perfect man, because we see in the scriptures of his sin with Bathsheba, but he was a man who was quick to repent and had a soft heart towards the Lord; he was teachable and reachable! But David had deep feelings that we see so often coming out in the Psalms that he wrote.

In Psalm 55 we see where David was hurting to the point of death. Fear had come upon him and he trembled under the load of what was bothering him. He longed to run away where trouble couldn’t find him! He wanted to escape from the storms of life.

How many times have we felt the same way? Maybe you’re in that spot right now; where life has overwhelmed you to the point that you wish you could fly away where no one knew where you were. I’ve been there myself a time or two! David pours out his heart to his God expecting Him to hear and answer his prayers.

Psalm 55:16-18 As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me.

After pouring out His heart to his God He believed that he would receive what he had asked of Him. He knew that God would save him from the battle that was raging around him. He cried out to him morning, noon and night and he knew that God was hearing his voice and would come to his rescue. He proclaimed that his God had redeemed his soul in peace even before he saw it come into manifestation. David was a man of faith, believing that he would receive when he prayed.

Jesus told us in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

David knew that his God would hear and answer his prayer of petition. He believed that he would receive what he asked of his Father.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

The Hebrew word for “sustain” in that verse means “to maintain, nourish, provide food, bear, hold up, protect, support, defend; to supply the means necessary for living.”

David knew that his God would sustain him, providing for whatever need he had when he cried out to him. He had a living and vital relationship with his God, but it was based on the Old Covenant, secured by the sacrifices of animals. Thanks to Jesus we now live under the New Covenant, of which He is the mediator. It is a better covenant. The sacrifices David had to offer for sin that would make him acceptable to his God we no longer have to make. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins and the way to the Father is open for all to boldly come in.

Sometimes we are hesitant to tell our heavenly Father what we are feeling because we think we shouldn’t feel that way, or we are afraid we will be rejected because of our feelings. But Jesus made a way for us to come before the Father without fearing. He paid the price for us to have the freedom to come boldly before our God when are in need.

Hebrews 4:14-16: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

My friends, the door to the Father is open for you to enter in. Jesus experienced all that you are experiencing, but He didn’t sin through it. He didn’t fear but He trusted His Father to sustain Him; to provide for His every need. Our Father now wants to hear all about your heartaches and He wants to give you the solution to your problems. But he’s waiting for you to open up your heart to Him. He will not force Himself on you. Will you tell Him what is bothering you? Will you believe that He will hear and answer your prayers even before you see that answer in manifestation?

David knew God under the Old Testament law, but Jesus made it possible for us to know God under the New Testament grace. Jesus paid the price for us to be children of God. He made it possible for us to come boldly into God’s presence to receive the help that we need at just the right time.

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant,which was established on better promises.

Jesus stands between us and God bridging the gap that once was there that held us back from being close to our Heavenly Father. He died that we might live! He took the punishment for our sin that we might be free to be children of God.

John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

David still had to perform animal sacrifices under Old Testament Laws to be acceptable to God, but we are acceptable to God when we place our faith and trust in the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the Cross of Calvary.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Hebrews 10:11-14 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting til His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Since Jesus died for us we are now able to call our God, “Abba, Father” because we are His sons and daughters. When we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord we are born again, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit; born into the family of God.

Have you been born into the family of God? If not, I would like to introduce you to the best friend you will ever have; the Lord Jesus Christ. He longs to bring you into His family where you can know the Heavenly Father. If you have never received Jesus as your Savior and Lord and would like to, please pray this prayer with me and believe it sincerely in your heart:

Father, I come before you this morning in the name of Jesus. I confess that I am a sinner both by birth and by choice. I believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God; that He died for my sins that I might live to new life, and that You, Father God, raised Him from the dead and He now lives seated at Your right hand. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord and I thank You for saving me. I will live for You every day of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer for the first time and meant it, you are now a child of God, privileged to have all the benefits of the family of God. You can now come boldly before the Father in your time of trouble to receive the help that you need. You an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ Jesus! Praise the Lord! I welcome you as my brother or sister in Christ!

If you are going through a difficult time right now, Jesus is right there with you. He is there by His Spirit who lives within you. He longs to help you with your troubles. Won’t you share your heart with Him and let Him lead you in the way you should go to receive the help that you need? Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart to Him. He understands and is waiting to come to your aid.

Father, I thank You for Jesus! I thank You that He died for us, rose again triumphant over death, hell and the grave and that He ever lives to make intercession for us! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying down Your life for us that we might have eternal life in You! Father, I pray for my friends this morning that are going through difficult times. I pray that You will make Yourself real to them in ways that they will understand so they will know that You are right there to help them through the difficulties. Please strengthen them by Your Spirit who lives within them. Heal their bodies that are suffering through physical illnesses; comfort those who are hurting emotionally; set free those who are oppressed and burdened by the attacks of the enemy. Father, bring to salvation those who don’t know Jesus! Lord, You are more than able to deliver Your people from temptation and trials. I ask You, Lord, to work miracles in their lives by healing, delivering and setting them free. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Faith Comes and Speaks!

Everything that you receive from God comes through faith. Jesus told His disciples in John 6:29:

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

This is the work of God, that you believe! That you believe in Jesus; that you believe in what He came to do for us; that you believe what He said; that you believe that the work that He did was ordained by the Father to pay for your sins, and mine, and that through believing we can have all that He died to give us.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

For he who comes to God must BELIEVE……!

Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 17:19, 20 that unbelief hindered their ability to minister freedom to a little child that was demonized:

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jesus could do no mighty works in His own neighborhood of Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people.

Matthew 13:53-58 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

The power to heal was there through Jesus, but healing was hindered through their offense at Him and their unbelief. You must have faith to receive from God.

John the Baptist told his disciples this about Jesus’ ministry in John 3:27:

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.”

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

God has a good plan for our lives. It is revealed to us as we exercise our faith to believe that what He has said in His word is true and it is for me, or you, personally. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us and to show us the Father’s will through the life that He lived on this earth. It is through faith that we receive the promises of God.

So, how can we have faith to believe when we see things happening around us totally to the opposite of what we are believing for from God?

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes to us through hearing the WORD of God. How much time are you spending in the Word?

Jesus said in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.”

God’s Word is not just words on the pages of a book. They are spirit and life to us when we partake of them. When we ingest the Word of God into our spirits, the Holy Spirit brings life within us from those words. Faith arises within a person’s heart as the Word of God is read, believed and spoken. Then the faith action comes from what that person is believing in their heart. The more you read and meditate on the Word of God the more faith will arise in your heart.

If you don’t have faith to believe then when a trial comes or you have a faith challenge you will have fear because fear fills the heart when faith is absent.

Matthew 8:23-26 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

They had fear because of having “little faith”. Those two words “little faith” in the Greek is the word oligopistos and Strong’s concordance #3640 says it means “small” “faith” or a faith that lacks confidence or trust too little. Another way to term it is “under-developed” faith.

Faith is like a muscle that grows with use. When you hear the Word of God that builds your faith, then you must act on it for it to be strengthened. It must grow. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to increase their faith in Luke 17:5 this is what Jesus said to them:

Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Jesus said “you don’t need more faith, you just need to use what you have. The size of your faith isn’t as important as the action of your faith.” Using your faith will increase it’s size. The more you exercise faith to believe God for what you need in the little things, the more faith you will have when you come to a mountain that needs removing from your life.

Mark 11:22-24 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Do you see the correlation here between believing in your heart and speaking that faith out to see the results that you desire? The foundation of your faith is in God; believing that His promises are for you and He will give you those things that He has promised. Then that belief in your heart rises up with faith to speak forth what is needed to happen in your life. You speak to the mountain, not about the mountain. Don’t talk about how big your mountain is, speak to it; tell it to go in the name of Jesus! He said that when you believe and don’t doubt in your heart you will have whatever you say! So when you pray, believe that you will receive what you have asked of Him, and you will have them. Get to know God’s word so you can know how to pray effectively and then stand on your foundation of faith in God and boldly speak to your mountain!

Jesus showed His disciples how to do this in Matthew 21:18, 19: Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.

Matthew 21:18-22 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Jesus showed us how to exercise our faith and see the things that we need come into manifestation. He demonstrated how it was done so we could know that if we pattern our lives after His we will have the same success.

John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

So, I ask you this morning, “Are you doing the works that Jesus did?” Are you using your faith to make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you?

Paul believed it and acted on it! He said in 2 Corinthians 4:11-13:

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.

Paul lived His life patterned after the life of Jesus. He knew that he would have faith challenges and times of tribulation because the devil always fights a believer in Christ Jesus. But he overcame those things through the spirit of faith that he had. That spirit of faith believes and then speaks!

This morning, I challenge you to do a word study on faith. Look at how many times Jesus tells someone, “your faith has made you whole”, or what other Biblical characters say about faith. Look at the life of Abraham and see how faith took him to receiving what God had promised him. There is so much in God’s Word on the subject of faith and how it affects the life of a believer. If you desire to be strong in faith, then get into the Word and find out what it says to you about living a life of faith!

Jesus said in Mark 9:23: Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Father, I thank You for the measure of faith that You have placed within each one of us. Father, I pray this morning that You will open our eyes to see how faith affects our lives, both to the positive and the negative, because negative faith is fear that the devil is bigger than You and can hurt us more than you can help us, but positive faith says that God is bigger than anything the devil can throw at me and I believe that what God has said is mine today so I will speak it out and watch it happen! I thank You, Father, for standing behind my faith. You are the foundation for what I believe and I believe that what You have said is true and will work in my life. I pray for my friends this morning that You will make this real to them. Show them how You want them to live and that their faith will work for them also! Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer for I truly do believe that I receive when I pray! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

You Are Special!

John 3:16-21 NCV God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God’s one and only Son. They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.

God loved people so much that He gave the ultimate gift to mankind; the death of His one and only Son to pay the price for our redemption.

Redemption – Greek word apolutrosis – Strong’s 629 A release secured by the payment of a ransom, deliverance, setting free. The word in secular Greek described a conqueror releasing prisoners, a master ransoming a slave, and redemption from an alien yoke. In the New Testament it designates deliverance through Christ from evil and the penalty of sin. The price paid to purchase that liberation was His shed blood.

Jesus bought us back from the kingdom of darkness with His precious blood. He purchased our redemption with His life. The only way to have eternal life is to believe in your heart that God sent Jesus to pay the price for your redemption and then confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Colossians 1:13, 14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7, 8 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

Praise the Lord! Jesus made it possible for us to be washed clean of all our sins. He laid down His life for us that we might experience life through Him. He established peace between us and God.

Ephesians 3:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

There was a wall that stood between us and God. It separated us from the Father. Jesus broke that wall down when He sacrificed His flesh and blood for our sins. He joined us to the Father through His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. Now we belong to the family of God.

I just feel like I need to reiterate to someone this morning that God is not mad at you. He loves you. He gave His all that you might have life. We have an enemy who is the accuser of the brethren. He will accuse you to yourself and make you feel like you are not worthy of God’s love and that He is angry with you. That is not true. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He will always try to get you to believe his lies by making you feel bad, like you’ll never be worthy of God’s love. But God has already demonstrated His love for you by giving Jesus to die for you when you were yet a sinner.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

If God gave Jesus for you while you were at your worst, a sinner, why would He be angry with you or love you any less after you received Jesus and were forgiven of your sins? There is nothing that you could do that would be any worse than what you were before you were forgiven of your sins and born again. There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you any more or any less than what He did when Jesus died for you on the Cross. The accuser of the brethren has fed you a lie. Do not believe it!

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Condemnation does not come from God; it comes from the devil. He will try to make you feel like you do not deserve God’s love. But God’s Son, Jesus Christ paid the price for your righteousness. You are now worthy in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God made Jesus to be sin for us. He traded places with us. He became our sin so that we could become His righteousness. It is a free gift with no strings attached; just believe and receive it.

John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Satan will not stop trying to deceive you into believing that you are not worthy of God’s love until you put your foot down on his neck and stop him from lying to you. You must resist him. He will not go until you tell him to leave.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

When you begin to take a stand on what you believe about God’s word, the devil will become less able to deceive you. If you will submit yourself to God first, then resist the devil, he will have to leave you alone. Take your rightful place in Christ Jesus and stand up to the enemy and command him to leave you!

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Jesus has given you authority over the power of the enemy! He cannot harm you when you realize who you are in Christ Jesus and take your rightful place as a child of God standing against the enemy! The only ground that Satan can have is the ground that we relinquish to him. Jesus calls him the thief in John 10:10 because he comes to steal, kill and destroy. He uses illegal means to steal from people, kill their dreams and their lives if possible, and tries to destroy them.

1 Peter 5:8, 9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

The Word says we are to be on the alert for the devil because he tries to paralyze his prey by roaring at them. He tells them lies; he tries to get them to think things are worse than what they are. He constantly looks for the weak ones on the outer edges of the sheepfold that are easy prey for him to grab. But when you resist him in the faith, standing strong on God’s word, his lies are subjected to the light and no longer have any power over you.

As I was praying this morning, I felt the Lord wanting to share something with me so I got out my pen and paper and began to write. I feel He has a message for someone this day, so here it is:

 

My Child, I have loved you with an everlasting love. When you go through the fire of life I will be with you. The floods shall not overtake you for I am there to lift you above them. Look to Me for I am there. I will carry you through the difficult times. Do not feel as if you are forsaken, just look to Me and live. I will not fail you. I love you. You are Mine. I have called you by your name. I know everything about you. You are My ‘lovely one’ for I love you.”

 

Friends, God is not like people. He doesn’t hold grudges or get mad and not speak to you.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

God loves you with an everlasting love. He has shown it to you this morning through His word and by His Spirit. He delights in you.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Can you see the great love that He has for you. Don’t let the enemy tell you that God is mad at you or that He doesn’t love you because of what you may have done. God loves you! Receive His love and forgiveness and go on and have a blessed life!

 

Father, I thank You for Your great love for us. You don’t think like we do and you don’t stay angry with us. Thank You for forgiving our sins and for blessing us with good lives. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be struggling with guilt and condemnation. I pray, Father, that You will reveal to them that You are not condemning them for what they have done, but forgiveness from You is freely given when they confess their sin to You and turn to walk with You according to Your ways. Give them peace in their hearts today, Lord, and fill them with a new sense of Your presence with them. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

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