The Words Of Kings

We’ve been looking at the importance of our words and the effects they can have for life or death in the lives of those to which we speak them and the situations that we encounter in our own lives. Today we will look at what God intends for us to do with our words; the warfare that He intends for us to carry out with the word of God as it is spoken out our mouths.

Revelation 19 13

Revelation 19:11-16; NLT Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For he judges fairly and then goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him, and only he knew what it meant. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword, and with it he struck down the nations. He ruled them with an iron rod, and he trod the winepress of the fierce wrath of almighty God. On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Apostle John’s vision recorded in the book of Revelation gives us a picture of Jesus, the Lamb of God who died for the sin of mankind, to redeem us from the death and separation that comes upon all men who reject Jesus as Savior and Lord, as He comes again to reign in power and put to end the devil and all the forces of evil, in the greatest battle that the history of the world will ever know.

We tend to think that this battle will be a battle of force, hand to hand combat with weapons of war. But God’s ways are not ours; His weapons of warfare are not carnal for He does not fight as men with swords and spears. The sword that He fights with comes out of His mouth; it is His words. Spiritual warfare is not fought with weapons fashioned from steel or iron, but through the words that come out of the mouth of one who is empowered to fight with the word of God.

Isaiah 11:4 NKJV says that Jesus will “strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

As Jesus comes to fight this battle we see with him a great army. That army is referred to in Revelation 19:7,8, as the saints who are to be united in marriage with the Lamb of God. This is not a marriage in terms that we understand where a husband and wife are joined together by worldly standards, but is a marriage or union of the saints who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior being united with their Lord, the One who has given His life as a Lamb sacrificed for the sins of the world. This is the time when the saints of God, dressed in fine linen, will join with Jesus to rule and reign throughout eternity.

As we see in verse 16, Jesus is known as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is King and Lord over all the kings and lords of the earth! And He will rule and reign as a King does, through the decrees that come out of His mouth. That is the sword that we see coming out of the mouth of Jesus as He arrives on His white horse, with white being the symbol of purity. The saints of God that come with Him as His army are dressed in white linen, symbolic as described in Revelation 19:8 to be the righteous acts of the saints. As believers in Christ Jesus we have been made righteous in Him through His sacrifice for us that cleanses us from all sin. Our righteous acts arise out of the love that we have for Jesus as Savior and Lord. The righteousness that we have is a gift from God because we can’t earn our way to heaven as His children. It must be received by faith and then as we serve Him we live rightly through the power of His Spirit within us.

Looking back to Revelation 1 the Apostle John writes the Revelation of Jesus Christ as given to him by the angel of God as pertaining to the Seven Churches which he refers to as in Asia, and which are representative of all local churches in every age:

Revelation 1:4-6 NKJV John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

King of kings and Lord of lords

In God’s kingdom, the King rules and reigns through the decrees that He makes. We see that from Genesis to Revelation in the record of our God that speaks things into being that have no beginning form. He speaks life into non-existent things and they become manifest. Romans 4:17 says that God is the “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;” He creates with His spoken word. An example of that is in Genesis 1:3: Then God said, “Let there be light;, and there was light. And Hebrews 11:3 records that “the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” God creates and rules by His words.

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. If He is King of kings then there must be kings for Him to be King over. We see in Revelation 1: 6 that He has made us, born again believers in Christ Jesus, the kings that He will be King over. We will come with Him when He comes again to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of Lords; ruling and reigning with Him through our words just as He speaks and rules through His words.

In 1 Peter 1:9 we see where Paul records that we 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;”

Kings and priests, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people are all descriptions of the born again believers in Christ Jesus. In this scripture the purpose for us as His own special people made up of kings and priests, is to proclaim the praises of Him who called us, Christ Jesus. Our words are not only purposed to be kingdom words that rule and reign but words that proclaim the praises of our King!

In Romans 5:17 we see that it is through the gift of righteousness that we receive from Christ Jesus that we will “reign in life” through Him. We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21) and as He rules and reigns we will reign with Him.

So, what could be the purpose in us speaking words of life into dead situations, relationships that need reconciliation and life’s problems that need changing? Paul E. Bilheimer, in his book “Destined To Overcome”, states that prayer is “on-the-job training”. In Old Testament times the Priest went before God on behalf of the people and before the people on behalf of God. When we pray we bring others before God interceding on their behalf. We not only come before Him with our requests and petitions on behalf of ourselves and others but we get His word on the situation to speak out into the dead places, and into the lives of people who need new life; who need a word of encouragement. We also stand before the enemy to speak as Jesus did in Matthew 4:3-10 when He was tempted by the devil and had to wage warfare with “it is written”.

Our words, as we learn to harness the tongue and speak life into people’s lives and our own life’s circumstances, are a training ground for us to learn how to control the tongue, how to pray in intercession for others and how to overcome the attacks of the enemy and his temptations to be lured away from the Lord and His purpose for our lives. We are in training to rule and reign with Christ Jesus. We are in training to proclaim His praises throughout eternity. If we can’t praise Him now, we won’t be able to praise Him when we get to heaven. If we can’t harness the energy that’s within us that proceeds from our mouths now, we will not be able to rule and reign with Him throughout eternity!

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

What kind of fruit are you eating? Is it the fruit of life filled by God’s Spirit or the fruit rising up out of an old nature that has been replaced by a new spirit, but is still allowed to rule without being restrained? This is an area of which we all need practice to make it perfect, as my mother would always say.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Father, I come before You with an enlightened heart in this area of my words and their importance and purpose. I confess to You that I have not always restrained my old nature from speaking words of doubt, unbelief, and death. I desire a cleansed heart and mouth that I might be like Jeremiah who was touched by Your hand and then received Your words to speak to nations and kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy the works of the devil in the people’s lives and to build and plant new life into them. Father, Jeremiah said that Your word was in his heart like a burning fire shut up in his bones. Father, I want to be ready to rule and reign with Christ Jesus. I want to be perfectly trained by You, my Master.

I pray for those who may be struggling with having a vision of what Your purpose is for their lives. I pray that the eyes of their heart might be enlightened to see the hope of the calling that You have on their lives. I pray that they will also understand the importance of the words that they speak in giving life to those who are without hope and calling forth life in the dead places of their lives. I pray that we, as a nation of kings and priests unto You might go forth in the power of Your Spirit proclaiming the praises of our Jesus Christ, our King. I ask You to teach us how to be the prophet of our own lives in using our words to root out unbelief and doubt, and to plant hope and faith in their places. Teach us Your ways, Oh God, that we might walk closely with You and be ready to take our places as kings under Your Kingship! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Being a Mary In A Martha World

Luke 10 38 41

Luke 10:38-42 NKJV Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heart His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Sometimes life becomes so busy that we begun to get caught up in the “doing” instead of the “being”. Worries and cares choke out the most important thing in our lives, which is to sit at the feet of Jesus, to hear His words of comfort and strength. Our minds become preoccupied with the happenings of life instead of focusing on the Life-giver! That’s where Martha was in her service to the Lord. She had allowed the things that needed to be done for His comfort to over-ride the need to just be with Him. The Lord told Martha that in her desire to serve Him she lost the best part of their relationship: the need to be with Him, which was the antidote to her worry and trouble. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, hearing His word and relating to Him one on one was what Martha needed to counter the emotional feelings and thoughts that she was experiencing. Mary had learned the secret of laying aside those things that would drain her of the emotional strength that she needed to face every day. Her focus was on Jesus, not what needed to be done or the pressing matters of life.

Has your life has become preoccupied with the cares and worries that surround you? Are you concerned about what is happening in your life more than the One who can deliver you from the anxiety?

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Rest – Greek word anapauo – means to make to cease. The word describes a cessation from toil, a refreshment, an intermission.

Do you need an intermission from life this morning? Come to Jesus and tell Him all about your troubles. He will trade loads with you. His load is easy; good, pleasant, comfortable, and suitable to life. Your load is heavy and burdensome. Make the trade today!

Confession based on God’s word for today: I will not worry about what is happening in my life. Instead I will give it to Jesus, spending time in His presence being refreshed as I release my burdens to Him.

Prayer for today: Father, I thank You for the trade that Jesus made for us on the cross of Calvary. Because of Him taking my sin upon His back and nailing it to that cross I can have freedom from the cares of this world. I trade my heavy burdens today for His light, easy load. I give Him my cares and in exchange for them I receive His peace, His comfort and His strength. Thank You for giving me the freedom in Christ Jesus to live above the burdens and cares of this life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

What’s In The Name?

Whats in a name

Matthew 1:1 NIV A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

What’s in a name? In Biblical times a person’s name was very important. It represented the name of the child according to it’s meaning and instead of having a surname, the child was known as the son of the father’s name. Some names were prophetic and were recorded in the Old Testament scriptures and prophesied that the child would be born at a later time. The parents were sometimes instructed by the Lord as to what they should name the baby or they named it according to the circumstances surrounding the baby’s birth. That baby would often grow up with the same character and nature as the meaning of his name. Matthew begins by telling the genealogy of Jesus Christ by giving the lineage of his family. His name signifies who He was and would become to the world.

We see in Luke 1:26-38 where the angel Gabriel appeared unto Mary and prophesied of the Savior’s birth coming through her womb. At that time he told her that she would call His name Jesus.

Luke 1:30-33 NKJV Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

The name “Jesus” is from the Greek (and Latin) for the Hebrew “Jeshua” (Joshua), which means “the Lord is salvation.” “Christ” is from the Greek for the Hebrew Meshaiah (Messiah), meaning “anointed one.” Jesus, the Lord is salvation, is His name. Christ, the anointed one is His title. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus was the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. He was God in the flesh.

Philippians 2:5-11 NIV Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus, the Lord is salvation, is God the Son. He laid His deity aside to be born into this world as a baby, to live as a human, a servant, and in humility obeyed His Father’s will to die a horrible death by crucifixion to pay the price for mankind’s sin so we could be reconciled to the Father. Sin separates man from a Holy God and thus must be atoned, or paid for, through the shedding of blood before man can come into God’s presence cleansed and free from sin. Jesus paid that price; He was the sacrifice of all sacrifices that once and for all paid the price for man’s sin. Jesus Christ, the Savior, the anointed One paid the price for man’s salvation through His blood on the cross of Calvary. In His name is salvation and through His blood is forgiveness of sin and reconciliation.

The angel also appeared to Joseph, Mary’s finance’ to tell him of the birth of Jesus. It is recorded in Matthew 1:18-25:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her until she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

The name “Immanuel” in this portion of Scripture, when speaking of Jesus, means “God with us”. It is another way of identifying Jesus as God in the flesh. The name declared God’s presence with His people in an altogether new way. John identifies Jesus as The Word of God in John 1:1-5; 14:

John 1 1

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John goes on to say that Jesus showed us the Father through His life. In other words, He revealed the Father to us by showing us the character and nature of the Father in His human body and the life that He lived here on earth. When we look at Jesus, we see the Father’s will in action. Jesus told his disciple Philip in John 14:9 that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”. John identifies Jesus as God’s character and nature in action in John 1:18.

John 1:18 NLT No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart; he has told us about him.

What’s in the name of Jesus? Salvation!

Salvation—Greek word “soteria” denotes “deliverance, preservation, salvation.” “Salvation”, as described through Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, is used in the New Testament in many different scriptures to denote the following:

  • of material and temporal deliverance from danger and apprehension
  • of the spiritual and eternal deliverance granted immediately by God to those who accept His conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, in whom alone it is to be obtained, and upon confession of Him as Lord
  • of the present experience of God’s power to deliver from the bondage of sin
  • of the future deliverance of believers at the Parousia of Christ for His saints
  • of the deliverance of the Nation of Israel at the second advent of Christ at the time of “the epiphany (or shining forth) of His Parousia
  • inclusively, to sum up all the blessing bestowed by God on men in Christ through the Holy Spirit
  • occasionally, as standing virtually for the Savior
  • in ascriptions of praise to God, and as that which it is His prerogative to bestow

As you can see salvation includes much more than just forgiveness of sin and so much that can’t be given in one blog. This is just the foundation. Jesus, in the fullness of His name, represents all that God is and intended for mankind to have in His salvation. In upcoming blogs we will look at the great salvation that God has provided for His man through the Name of Jesus!

Father, I thank You for Jesus! I thank You for all that He represents in You and what You provided for mankind through His crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Father, I pray that many will come to salvation through putting their trust in Jesus as their own personal Savior and Lord. He is the Savior of the world and may He be seen as the One true God, the Son, who died to provide the forgiveness of sins that we need to cleanse us and usher us into Your very own presence. Father, I pray for those who need salvation for deliverance from danger, whatever that might entail, whether it is through sickness, financial disaster, emotional or mental problems, or demonic oppression. I pray that through the Name of Jesus they would experience the deliverance from danger and apprehension that is offered them through salvation in the Name of Jesus. Father, open our eyes to see all that is included in the salvation that You provided for us through Jesus, the Messiah, the anointed One. Father, I thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Amen.

 

No Greater Love!

Red heart

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

Today love is celebrated all over the world. This is Valentine’s Day, the day of love. But what does it mean to “love” someone? We often think of the ooey, gooey, warm fuzzy feelings that come when a man and woman find that they care for and are affectionate towards each other and we say, “they’re in love”. They get “that look” in their eyes and often lose touch with reality and are said to have their heads in the clouds. But God said the way we can identify true love is by one person laying down their life for another. He said there is no greater love than this.

Love – Greek word, agape, which 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 more a love by choice than by chance; and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world.

1 John 4:9, 10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 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.

God sent Jesus to die for us that He might show that great love that He has for us; the love that chooses to do what’s best for us. The ultimate need for mankind was that of a Savior, One who could die to pay the price for the sin of mankind. Jesus was that sacrificial lamb Who died to pay the price for man’s sin.

Hebrews 9:27, 28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; no more animal sacrifices were needed to cover man’s sin. Jesus paid the price to not just cover man’s sin, but to totally remove it; as far as the east is from the west. Man, when receiving what Jesus did for him personally on the Cross of Calvary, has his sin completely removed, and becomes just as if he had never sinned.

Jesus said in John 10:17, 18 that His Father loved Him because He lay down His life and no one was able to take it from Him.

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 received from My Father.

Jesus willingly went to the cross to purchase the redemption of mankind. He gave of Himself that we might have life. The Romans crucified Him on an old wooden cross because He chose to die for you and me! He expressed that “greater love”, the love of choice, agape, that always chooses what’s best for the other person, through His death on the Cross of Calvary.

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.”

God sent Jesus into the world to die that His man might be saved. The payment was freely made by Jesus, who willingly went to the cross to pay the price for mankind’s redemption. It was a gift given by Love, Himself, Who could do nothing more than express His very own nature to the people that He created and loved. It is because of His great love for us that we celebrate Valentine’s Day, for God is love.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

We can’t truly love another person without God’s love residing in our hearts. That’s why there are so many failed marriages in our world. The love that is shared without arising from the heart of God is simply an affectionate type of love that fades when it’s own needs are not met. True love arises from knowing God because He is love. Without His agape love in a person’s heart, the love that they show to another is simply a love arising from emotional feelings; an attraction that they have towards another person.

Have you personally experienced God’s love expressed towards you through the crucifixion of Jesus? He loved you so much that He chose to die for you to pay the price for your sin. You can know Him and experience His love in a real way today! If you haven’t received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord please pray with me this prayer and sincerely mean it in your heart.

Father, I come before You this morning in the name of Jesus to acknowledge that I have never received the payment that Jesus made for my sin that expresses Your love for me. I confess that I am a sinner by birth because sin travels down the bloodline and I am a sinner by choice because I have chosen to live my life selfishly for my own gain. I ask You to forgive me, to cleanse my heart from sin and to save me. Lord Jesus, I receive Your great love and thank You for saving me. I believe that You are the Son of God, sent to pay the price for my sin, that You were crucified and raised to new life and now sit at the Father’s right hand in heaven. I confess You, Lord Jesus, as my Savior and Lord! From this day forward I vow to live for You! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer and really meant it in your heart, you are now a child of God. You have been ushered into the family of God. Congratulations! You have just made the most important decision of your life.

Father, I pray for those who have come into Your family today that You would make Yourself real to them so they will be assured of Your presence within them. I ask that their new life in Christ Jesus would be seen to those around them as they share what has taken place in their lives today. I pray for those who are hurting this morning that may not have someone to share their love with on this special day that Your presence would surround them with a new awareness of how much You love them and desire to have them share that love with You. I pray that they will be comforted by Your love and not desire a love that would simply be a substitute for true love. And may we all show love one to another, Father, for everyone who knows God loves those around them as a sign that they belong to You. May we share the love that You have placed in our hearts. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

A valentine from God

The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Angels singing Glory to God

Luke 2:8-20 NLT That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.

Can you imagine how quiet it must have been in that dark night after the sheep had been bedded down and the shepherds were relaxing from a day of caring for their flocks? When SUDDENLY…..an angel of the Lord appeared among them and the night sky lit up with the radiance of God’s glory! In just a twinkling of an eye their whole world changed from dark to light! That’s what happens in a person’s life when God’s glory shows up! Jesus is the glory of God in human form. His message of hope was shared with a group of shepherds. This was the greatest birth announcement ever made and it wasn’t given to kings or priests; it was given to lowly shepherds; those who, as an occupation, cared for sheep.

The first thing the angel said to the shepherds was “don’t be afraid”! In every visitation that we’ve seen from an angel that came to give a message to someone from God regarding the birth of Jesus we’ve heard “don’t be afraid”, or “do not fear”. God’s love casts out all fear. Fear is not from God, it comes as a message from the evil one who is the instigator of all negative forms of fear. The reverential fear of God is what comes from God; it is a respect, a reverence for who God is to us that causes us to love what He loves and hate what He hates. But fear that causes terror within the heart of a person comes from our enemy, the devil. The angel was instructed to tell the shepherds to not fear because God is the God of love.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

1 John 4:16-18 NLT We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of his loving us first.

It has been said that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Word of God; one for each day of the year. God does not want His children to be afraid and especially not when they are encountering Him, or communing with His Spirit or having a visit from an angelic messenger. If fear is present when you are having a spiritual encounter with the Lord, it may be another spirit other than God’s Spirit. We are instructed in 1 John 4:1 to test the spirits to make sure they are of God.

1 John 4:1 NKJV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NwaiAMPtHs

Immediately after the angel gave the shepherds the message from God the night sky became aglow with the heavenly host singing praises to our God! “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Christmas is not about giving and receiving presents, although we celebrate His birth through giving gifts to others. But Christmas is about Jesus! He is the Center of Christmas! He is the reason that we celebrate! Glory to God for sending Jesus to save mankind from their sin! Jesus came to bring peace on earth; peace between God and man and relationally to men with each other. When the Prince of Peace comes to live in the hearts of men we will see the ultimate peace on earth that Jesus came to give us. When we receive Him as Savior and Lord we experience peace with God that dispels all fear and gives us the hope for a bright future filled with His goodness!

Know Jesus, know peace

Know Jesus—know peace! No Jesus—no peace!

The next thing that we see happening in the life of the shepherds on that night when an angel of the Lord came to tell them of the birth of the King was that they acted on His word. We can hear the word of God spoken to us through His messenger but it’s not really ours or appropriated into our lives until we act on it. They could have heard what the angel said and rejoiced in what they heard but it was made more real to them when they acted on it by going to see the baby of which the angel had spoken. When we act on His word we are stepping out in faith saying, “I believe it and I receive it as God’s word for me in my life right now”! James calls that action as being a person who is not just hearing the word of God but doing it!

James 1:22-24 NLT And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

The Word of God is exponentially multiplied in your life when you hear AND do it. When you read or hear it you receive one level of power from it, but when you add to it the doing then the reality of it is multiplied to you and change comes into your life. We are changed by what God says to us. His word changes our hearts and lives. We are changed from the ways of the world to know the way God thinks through the renewing of our minds to His word. (Romans 12:2) The shepherds lives were changed that night by what the angel of the Lord said to them and through their obedience to go see the baby for themselves.

When the shepherds heard the word from the angel and went to see the baby Jesus they couldn’t contain their excitement and had to go tell what they had heard and seen! When we have an encounter with the living God we are compelled to tell others about Him. We want to share what He has placed in our hearts; we want to give away the salvation that He has given us so others can know Him as well. The shepherds told everyone what had happened to them and what the angel had said to them about his child.

Luke 2:18, 19 NLT And all who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.

They had to tell others about Jesus! When you’ve had a great experience in your life you want to share it with others. It is natural to let what is on the inside of you flow out to those around you. The greatest story ever told is the story of Jesus!

And the last thing that we see taking place in the lives of these shepherds is that they went back to their flocks praising God for what the angel had told them and having seen the child, just as the angel had said. The outflow of an encounter with the Lord Jesus is praise! When we draw close to Him through a living and vital relationship with Him the natural thing to do is praise Him! Our spirit connects with the Holy Spirit within us and the automatic outflow is that of praise! God fills your life with praise for Him!

Have you had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, or do you simply know Jesus as the baby in the manger? Have you seen Him as Savior and Lord or just a little baby, helpless and defenseless? If you want to see Him as Your own personal Savior and Lord, just ask Him into your heart today and He will come in and save you and give you a new life, filled with His presence.

Father, I pray for those today who may want to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray that they will open their hearts to You and ask You into their lives to change them and give them a reason to continue living. For those who are depressed I pray that they will allow the Prince of Peace to come into their lives and bring peace in the midst of their sorrow. I pray that they will ask You to save them and give them new life. I pray that the eyes of the blind will be opened today to see Jesus in all His glory! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

~If you want to know more about receiving Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord, please go to my page titled “The Road To Salvation”.  There you will find instructions on how to pray to receive Jesus as your Savior.

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season

The Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1-7 NKJV And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and lad Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Tomorrow is the day that we celebrate the birth-day of Jesus! So, in the next few days we will look at the events surrounding His birth.

As the scripture reads it was time in Galilee for all who lived there to be taxed. A decree went out from the Governor that a census needed to be taken for the purpose of taxation. It was customary for the head of the house to go to where their ancestral records were kept to register for the taxation. Joseph, being of the lineage of David, had to make the trip back to Bethlehem, which was known as the city of David, to register. This would have been a difficult trip for Mary as it was nearing the time of her baby’s birth. But Joseph, being a just man who obeyed both God’s rules and those of man, needed to register to be in compliance with the laws of the land. Romans 13:1 tells us that we are to obey the government, for God is the one who put it in place. In going back to Bethlehem to register for the census Joseph was being obedient to God through obeying the government. The second verse in Romans 13 says: So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.

It is interesting to see how God orchestrated the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. In order to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2, Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem of Judea, which meant that instead of Joseph going alone to register for the census, Mary would need to go with him.

Micah 5:2-5 NAS “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Therefore, He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child, Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace.”

When God divided up the Promised Land He gave a portion of land to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah was the tribe in which the city of Bethlehem was established. In Biblical times the names of people and places were significant to the upbringing of a child. A child would grow up in character as a fulfillment of what his name meant. So, let’s look at the significance of the names surrounding the birth of Jesus.

Judah – the name means “praise”. In Luke 3:23-38 Jesus’ lineage is traced back to God through the tribe of Judah. One of the names of Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. (Revelation 5:5) Judah was the tribe that led the Israelites through the wilderness; the praise-rs went before the Israelites into battle in 2 Chronicles 20 to confuse their enemies and God used them to set up the ambush of their enemies and secure their victory. We are told that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to give us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness in Isaiah 61:3. Psalm 8:2 says that praise silences the enemy in our lives and strengthens us. Jesus referred to that scripture in Matthew 21:16 when He said “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise”. Praise is an important part of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. When we praise Him for who He is the devil can’t stay in our presence; his voice of condemnation and fear is silenced and we give Jesus the glory that is due His name! We better learn to praise Jesus here on earth because in heaven He is worshiped 24/7.

Revelation 4:8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

We will be joining in with that heavenly group proclaiming His praises!

Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Bethlehem – the name means “house of bread”. Jesus called Himself the bread of life in John 6:48-51:

“I am the bread of life. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever’ and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Jesus is the bread of life. When we partake of His salvation that was purchased by Him giving His flesh and blood to pay the payment for our sin, we will live forever, eternally in His presence. We appropriate what He has done for us personally by exercising our faith to receive His death, burial and resurrection as the payment for our sins. It is through receiving Him into our hearts that we become born again. Jesus is the Savior of the world, the bread of life, the Lion of the tribe of Judah and worthy of all our praise!

Luke 2:6, 7 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

“the days were completed”…..Galatians 4:4, 5: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Jesus was born at just the right time; God’s appointed time. It was no accident that Mary had Jesus in Bethlehem at the time of the census when there would be so many people that there would be no room for them in the Inn. It was the right time, the appointed time for Him to be born. God knew there would be no room for them in the Inn. Nothing takes God by surprise. It may seem to you that the timing of what you are experiencing is the wrong time, but God orchestrates things in our lives to be for our good, not our harm. Mary had Jesus in Bethlehem in a stable at the “right” time! It was in the “fullness” of the time for His birth. The meaning of the word “fullness” is “that which has been completed”. The happenings of the world had come to completion for the birth of Jesus Christ. It was “time” for His birth.

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger….” Mary wrapped the first Christmas present in swaddling cloths. Strips of cloth were used to keep a baby warm and to give him a sense of security. Jesus was born of humble means because He laid His deity aside and came to earth as a human to submit to the obedience of His Father.

Philippians 2:5-8 NLT Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.

Hebrews 2:14, 15 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

Jesus was born as a baby and laid in a manger to show His humble beginning in the purpose that God had for His life. He had to be born a human being in order to die on the cross to secure our salvation. He had to live a sinless life in order to qualify to be the Savior of the world. All these things that happened at the birth of Jesus were perfectly orchestrated so that He could fulfill the requirement of the law to redeem mankind from their sin. Nothing was left out of God’s perfect plan to secure our salvation. Everything happened just as God planned in the “fullness” of His time!

Galatians 3:13, 14 NLT But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

Friends, Jesus was born into this earth for the supreme purpose of dying on a cross to redeem us from the curse of the law; to purchase our redemption and make us acceptable to God as if we’d never sinned. At this time of the year when we celebrate His birth it is important that we do not get caught up in the “baby in the manger” and see Him as only a little baby. He is the Savior of the world; He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; the risen Christ! His birth was just the beginning of His purpose and mission as the Savior and Lord of all who would receive Him.

If you have not received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord, He is waiting for you to make that decision. What better time would it be than now when we are celebrating the birth of our King? Won’t you pray this prayer with me and sincerely mean it in your heart?

Father, I come before You this morning recognizing my need for Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I see Him as You gave Him to us to be the payment for my sin, my own personal wrongdoing and weaknesses in not being able to save myself. I know that You sent Him to be my Savior. I confess my sin to You today, the sin of being born as a sinner and the sin of my own willful choices. I believe that Jesus died for me, that He was raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven and that if I ask Him to come into my heart He will save me from my sins. I ask You to forgive me and save me right now and I thank You for doing that. Thank You for saving me; for making Your home within my heart and for changing my life. From this day forward I will live for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer with sincerity of heart, you are now a Child of the King, a born again believer in Christ Jesus and your place of residence is now with Him from this day forward throughout eternity! You have made the best decision of your life. Welcome to the family of God!

And now, Father, I bring before You those who are hurting and lonely today. I ask that You would fill their hearts with a new sense of Your presence; that Your arms of love would wrap around them and carry them through this difficult time in their lives. Father, You are the God of all comfort so I pray that You will comfort them and give them peace. Thank You for being close to the brokenhearted and for healing the hurts that they are experiencing today. Thank You for giving us another Christmas to celebrate the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. May He be given the pre-eminence that is due Him at this Christmas time and throughout each upcoming day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 Jesus is the reason

The Bread Of Life

Bread 2

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, quoted scripture to him in order to defeat him. This is a key element to our walking in victory over the attacks of the enemy. The word of God is vitally important in our exercising authority over the devil when he comes to attack our minds. In this first attack that the devil threw at Jesus he challenged Him regarding His physical need for food. Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was hungry. This was a primary need in His life at that very moment. There are certain times in our lives when we are more vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks than others. It is at those weak times that we will be more apt to have the enemy attack us. This was a time in Jesus’ life when He knew He must rely heavily upon the word of God to defeat the attack of the enemy on His life.

Satan, described as the “tempter” came to Jesus and said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matt. 4:3) The “tempter” is one of the names of Satan because it describes him by what he does. He tempts people to go against the word of God thereby taking things into their own hands to try to accomplish God’s will in their lives. Jesus was drawing close to the Father through fasting and prayer. He was seeking God’s will in His life for the plan that God had to free mankind from the dominion of sin to which they had been held in bondage. The “tempter” came to draw Him away from the plan that God had for His life by tempting Him to do things His own way.

 

Sword of fire

The response that Jesus had towards the temptation of the devil serves as an example to us in how we can defeat his attacks in our lives. Jesus said, “It is written”! The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword according to Hebrews 4:12. It is described as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 where Paul is speaking to us about the armor of God and it’s place in enabling us to be able to fight and stand against the wiles of the devil during times of spiritual warfare. Jesus quoted scripture, used like a sword, to the devil to defeat his attack against Him. When He was attacked regarding hunger He applied the word of God to that particular attack by saying, “It is written”, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” To nourish the physical man you must eat. Likewise, to nourish your spirit man, the inner person, you must eat of the Word of God. Food is necessary in both instances, but physical nourishment will not strengthen the spirit man, only the Word of God will do that. You can’t fight a spiritual battle with physical food. The spirit of man will only be strengthened through eating or ingesting the Word of God.

Word – Greek word “rhema” which means the communication of the message. It is a verse taken from the Word of God and spoken to us by the Holy Spirit when needed to defeat the devil in his attacks against our lives. Rhema – the spoken Word of God.

Jesus was being attacked in His hunger. The Holy Spirit spoke the scripture needed to counter the attack upon His physical being. A Rhema word from God’s Word will be given to you by the Holy Spirit as you need it to counter an attack upon your life. The key to having the Holy Spirit speak that scripture to you is through you putting the Word of God into your heart. That’s why Jesus said, “’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” The spirit man within you cannot live and be strong enough to counter the attacks of the enemy without feeding on the Word of God.

Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would be given to us, after He ascended back to heaven, that He would be our Helper and would teach us all things and bring back to our remembrance all things that Jesus had said.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit brings back to our remembrance the Words of Jesus, or the Word of God, when we need them to fight the attacks that Satan arrays against us and to help us in our walk of faith. If we are not ingesting the Word of God, reading, studying and acting on it, the Holy Spirit does not have anything to help us with when the attack comes from the enemy.

God told Joshua that he should not let the Book of the Law, the Word of God, depart from his mouth, but that he should meditate in it day and night, that he might heed it and do all that was written in it so that he might be prosperous and successful in all that he did.

Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart form your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Success in standing against the enemy comes through knowing and speaking the Word of God to him in each attack. God told Joshua that he need not be afraid but to be strong and courageous for He was with him wherever he went. God goes with us through His Word and His Spirit within us. When we are filled with His Word and His Spirit we can effectively stand against the attacks that Satan throws at us. We have no need to fear because our God has empowered us to win. He has given us His Word and His Spirit to enable us to fight and win. Are you prepared for the battle? Does the Word of God hold a high priority in your life? Are you eating of the Word of God as often as you are feeding your physical man?

Father, I thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit who gives us the victory. Thank You for giving us the Word to defeat the devil when he attacks our lives. I thank You for Your Spirit who never leaves us nor forsakes us to fight under our own power. Thank You for helping us to strengthen our spirit man so we can stand against the wiles of the devil. Father, I pray for those who are struggling in a battle this morning. I pray that You will give them the Rhema Word that they need by Your Spirit to fight and win against their enemy. I pray that my friends will eat of Your Word every day to strengthen them for upcoming battles. Father, I know that in these last days the attacks of the enemy will increase as he knows that his time is shortened so I ask You to make us aware of the importance of giving Your Word pre-eminance in our hearts and lives. Thank You for equipping us to win the battles of life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Word of God as a sword

Today’s confession: The Word of God is in my heart and in my mouth. I defeat the devil’s attacks through speaking the Word of God into that situation.

Are You Shining?

You can't shine without Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:3, 4 NLT If the Good news we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don’t understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Have you ever wondered why people don’t understand about Jesus dying on the cross to purchase their salvation? Why is it so complicated to them? They often will say they believe in God, but believing in God does not purchase salvation. James 2:19 says that even the demons believe that there is one God.

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble.

We know that believing in God, or simply having a mental assent to the existence of God, does not make a person a Christian because the demons believe in God and they are doomed to an eternity separated from Him, in a place of darkness, where there is gnashing of teeth and tormenting fire.

The Greek word for “believe” in James 2:19 is pisteuo and it means to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing) i.e. credit; by impl. To entrust (espec. one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):–believe, commit (to trust), put in trust with.

So to believe in God for salvation, you would have to put your trust in Christ to save you, not just have a mental assent in His existence. This is one of the things that has been blinded to the minds of those who are perishing that Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4. They have trouble separating the “belief in” God and the “belief upon” Him for salvation. To believe or have faith in Christ for salvation is to entrust one’s spiritual well-being to Him, to commit to Him, to trust in Him to save you.

The god of this age, or Satan, has blinded the minds of those who are perishing so that they cannot see or understand that the way to salvation is through the finished work of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for their sins. They are blinded by a veil that hangs over their minds.

In the Old Testament when Moses would come down off the mountain after having been communing with God his face would be aglow with the glory of God so much that he would have to hang a veil over it so the people would not be frightened by the glow of the glory of God. The people didn’t understand God and were frightened by Him.

2 Corinthians 3:7-9 NLT That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old covenant, which brings condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God!

The Old Covenant that people lived by was a covenant of keeping the law. The New Covenant is a covenant of living by grace. The law was keeping a set of rules and in order to be right with God you had to keep the rules and offer animal sacrifices for your sins. The New Covenant is based on placing your trust in Christ Jesus who was the sacrifice given once and for all the sins of mankind. Jesus took the place of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament to remove a person’s sin.

Hebrews 9:28 NLT so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again but not to deal with out sins again. This time he will bring slavation to all those who are eagerly waiting for him.

That glorious gospel of His payment for our sins is what Satan has blinded to people who are perishing so that they can’t see how Jesus paid the payment that was required for the removal of sin that would make a person right with God. Satan has hung a veil over people’s minds to cloud and confuse their thinking.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.

Whenever a person comes to Jesus for salvation and is born again, or places their trust in Him for salvation, the veil is removed and they then shine brightly with the glory of God. Have you ever seen a Christian that just seemed to shine with a glow that was undeniably not of their own works? They just radiate the glory of God! Once that veil is removed we then shine as we draw close to Him. As the end of verse 18 says: “And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more”. If people can’t tell that you are a Christian then maybe you need to draw closer to the Lord Jesus and allow Him to change you into His likeness.

2 Corinthians 4:7 calls the glory of God within us “precious treasure”:

But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

It becomes evident as a person goes through trials and tribulations, the ups and downs of life that the glory of God within them is not something they are manufacturing on their own. It is God’s glorious power within that causes a person to shine even though them may be going through extreme hardship. His power within gives them the ability to shine whether they are experiencing good or bad times.

Do you have loved ones that are blinded by the enemy this morning so that it seems that they can’t see or understand what you are talking about when you try to talk to them about Jesus? Do they become hardened in heart at the mention of the gospel? If so, then pray that the veil that Satan has hung over their minds would be removed so they can see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and come to salvation. Saturate them in prayer before you attempt to talk to them about the Lord.

Father, I thank You for providing salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. I know that He was the ultimate sacrifice that paid the penalty for the sin of mankind. I thank You for making it possible for all men to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This morning, I pray for those who are perishing that the veil that Satan has hung over their minds would be torn down so they can see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved. I ask that You would place people in their paths that would be able to share Jesus with them in ways that they will understand and receive. I pray that their hearts would be softened and prepared to receive Your word to them about their need for Jesus as Savior, for without placing their faith in Him there can be no salvation for them. Father, I pray that You will create divine appointments for them to interact with Christians who shine with the glory of God in their faces. Let them see the difference in the lives of those who have spent time with You allowing You to change them to reflect Your glory. Father, I thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

(If you have never received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord please go to my page “The road to salvation–How can I be born again?”.  There you will find information about how to appropriate the salvation that God offers into your own life.)

 

The View From A Rocking Chair

 

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows, For so He gives His beloved sleep.

I had something on my mind as I went to sleep last night that caused me to stay up later than usual and when I went to bed I had difficulty going to sleep. Then I slept a little later than usual this morning so when I got up I felt as if I was already running behind and wouldn’t have enough time to get everything done on my agenda for today! As I was praying about these situations the Lord reminded me that He doesn’t expect us to solve the problems of the world; He expects us to trust Him and lie down to sleep in peace.

The word for “sorrows” in that verse means “anxiety”. Worrying causes people to lose sleep; valuable rest that their bodies need to function and keep them from succumbing to sickness and disease. Worry is like a cancer that grows without restraint. As Erma Bombeck and others have said: “Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Jesus was a little more adamant about worry and it’s consequences when He gave us these instructions about it in Matthew 6:25:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

The Greek word for “worry” is the word merimnao and it means “to divide into parts”. The word suggests a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress, and pressure.

Worry divides your mind into parts! It cause anxiety, stress, pressure. You aren’t able to put things into proper perspective because your mind is flitting here and there, thinking about the “what ifs” in life. What if I can’t make it through this situation? What if I don’t have enough money to provide for what I need? What if…..what if….WHAT IF! And everyone knows that the “what ifs” are much larger at night than they are in the day. Our minds seem to run crazy with worry in the night hours. Problems are much more difficult when trying to solve them during the night!

Matthew 6:27-30 “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Can you change your height; add to it, or grow taller through worrying? No, we all know that worrying can’t add an inch to our height. Jesus is saying that it’s useless to worry because worrying doesn’t change anything! God takes care of His own. The flowers out in the field don’t do anything and yet God provides for them. He made them and He takes care of them. Don’t you think you are of more importance to Him than a flower? Will He not be more diligent to care for His child?

He calls those who worry, “O you of little faith”. The Greek word for “little faith” in that verse is the word “oligopistos” It is a combination of two words “oligos” meaning “small” and “pistos” meaning “faith”. It describes a faith that lacks confidence or trust too little. Another way to term it is “under-developed faith” as opposed to outright unbelief or distrust.

We all grow in our faith walk through progression. Some of us may be strong in faith in one area and still have weaknesses that we are working on to develop a stronger faith. We believe for things as we have need of them. Faith to meet life’s challenges comes through hearing the word of God.

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

Now I don’t believe that means just hearing any part of God’s word. I believe it’s specific to your need. If you need provision for finances, then you need to search out God’s word on how He provides for your financial needs and focus on those particular scriptures. Meditate on them; speak them over and over to yourself speaking out loud so your ears hear the scriptures until your heart receives them as truth and you begin to respond to your situation with faith believing that what God has said is true. The same thing goes for your need for physical healing. God has provided for all of our needs in the crucifixion of Jesus, His only Son. He paid the price that we might have the provision that we need. Get into God’s word and find the scriptures that apply to your particular situation and then begin to claim them as yours.

Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink? Or ‘What shall we wear?’

Worrisome thoughts are made your own through what you say! “What are we going to do….” “What if….” “Are we going to have enough….” “Will I make it through this?”

Instead of taking the thought of worry captive and bringing it into obedience to the truth of God’s word, we often dwell on the negative and speak out of our fears. That ties God’s hands from being able to bring the provision for your need because He is moved by faith, not fear! Fear is “false evidence appearing real” and is to the devil what faith is to God. The devil is moved by our fears. He is ready and willing to bring into existence what we are fearing. God is pleased when we believe that He is who He says He is and that we believe that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Faith is the vehicle that brings into manifestation the promises of God in your life.

Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?” or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

God knows your needs. Seek Him first; seek His righteousness in providing for His own He has the answer to all of life’s problems. Trust Him to provide for you. Don’t worry about the future because each day has enough challenges. Don’t borrow from tomorrow’s cares; take each day at a time. Worry robs a person of valuable strength that they could be using to plan wisely for the future. There are some things we can do to prepare for what lies ahead; we can pray; we can study God’s word to know what is ours according to His promises; we can manage our finances well, planning for future expenses; we can take care of our physical bodies, eating the right things that bring good nourishment into our bodies; we can live wisely and we can REST; trusting Him to take care of the things that we have no control over!

Father, I thank You for providing for our every need. You have not forgotten anything, Father, and You know what lies ahead of us, the challenges that we will face. I thank You for going before us into each one of them and preparing us for success in them. Thank You for being our God; our Provider; our Healer; our Need Meeter! Thank You for blessing us with all good things. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be facing challenges in which they see no way out. Father, I pray that You will give them the assurance that they can trust You to provide for this need in their life. Father, I ask You to give them the scriptures that they need to focus on that will give them peace and comfort as they stand firm believing in faith that You will meet this need. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer for I believe I receive when I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bridging The Gap

 

Romans 15:5-7 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive on another, just as Christ received us to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

My heart is saddened by what I see happening in the Body of Christ, where we have believers fighting against one another over political parties and candidates. The past election seems to have brought out the worst in those who call themselves “Christians”. It has gotten to the point where I wonder if Jesus died in vain when the Word tells us in Ephesians 5:25-27 that He loved the church so much that He died that He might sanctify her and wash her clean by the word so He could present to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle; holy and without blemish. This is not what I see in the Body of Christ today. There are those who simply cannot understand why our President was re-elected and bash those who voted for him as if they are totally responsible for the ungodly nation that we have become. And then there are those who can’t believe that people who call themselves “Christians” would vote for someone who they feel was running to promote the rich and famous. The mud-slinging has been really bad throughout this election process but it is continuing on even after the election has taken place.

Paul addressed discontentment within the Body of Christ in Romans by admonishing believers to receive one another as Christ received us. The Word tells us that Jesus demonstrated His love for us by giving His very own life for us when we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) He didn’t ask us to wash ourselves clean so we would be acceptable to Him. But He died for us when we were at our worst and then He cleaned us up by washing us through the Word. His blood provided the payment for our sin that we might be the righteousness of God in Him. It is as we yield ourselves to the Word and His Spirit within us that we can come together as brothers and sisters in Christ and live before the world as that Church of holiness that we will be able to glorify God with one mind and one mouth. As long as we are fighting within ourselves we will not be able to show the world that we are His because Jesus said they would know we are His disciples by our love for each other.

John 13:34, 35 “A new commandment I give you you, that you love one another. “By this will all know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

How can the lost come to know Jesus when the Church is fighting among themselves? How can they see that we belong to Him when we do not have love for one another?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Verse 5 in the New Living Translation says this: They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.

Perilous times forecasted as being a sign of the last days will put pressure on people that causes them to act in ways that are not indicative of loving, Christian behavior. They will act religiously, but they will reject the power of the Holy Spirit who works in them to change them into the reality of their Christianity. These are the things that we must be aware of and overcome to continue to endure to the end. These are temptations that will come upon us that we have to resist so the world will see that Jesus lives within us and be drawn to Him. How can a light shine brightly when the lens is covered with dirt and mud? And yet we are to be the light shining into the darkness that leads the world to Jesus.

Paul urged Timothy to preach the word of God in season and out of season because there would come a day when people would no longer listen to right teaching.

2 Timothy 4:2-4 NLT Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths.

Hebrews 4:12, 13 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

The Word of God changes peoples hearts! It cuts out the bad and shines a holy light on what needs to be changed. But when people run from one “feel good” meeting to another they come away with only the goose bumps of the evening, no change of heart, still believing a lie and treating other believers as if they are the enemy. Nothing that is taking place today is hidden from God’s eyes. And we will all stand before Him one day and give account for our behavior toward each other.

We must heed the Word today and begin to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with love and respect.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave Himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to Him.

Ephesians 4:31, 32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as ll types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Father, I pray for unity in the Body of Christ today. I thank You for giving Your very own Son that we might be Yours. Thank You for washing us clean through the water of the Word that we might be a glorious church without spot or blemish. I pray that we might now act like that glorious church that You will be ready to receive unto Yourself on that day of Your return. Father, I pray that we will treat each other with respect, looking our for the interests of our brothers and sisters before our own. I pray that we will lift each other up and speak words of love and kindness to each other. Father, I ask You to forgive us for allowing a spirit of division to come into Your Body, the Church. Father, drive hatred and bitterness far from us and establish us in love. May we exhibit Your love to the world around us that they may see we are Yours and be drawn to You through our witness. I ask You, Father, to bring us back together that we might be that light in the darkness that You have called us to be. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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