Monday, February 15, 2021

Moved By Compassion

Shortly after Jesus faced Satan in open combat (Matthew 4 and Luke 4) He began His earthly ministry. One of the first things that He did was to call to Himself followers, that is disciples and out of them He chose twelve that He called apostles (Matthew 4:18-22, 5: 1-11, Luke 6:12-16) Once this was completed He began to show His disciples the Father's will, nature, character, purposes and plan through His actions and Words, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him, from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them..." (Matthew 4:23-25, 5:1-2)

Jesus had approximately three and one half years to impart Kingdom principles into His disciples before His departure from earth to return to His father. During that time He Himself would lead them into life situations and circumstances that would require them to look to the Father's abilities and not their own. They observed Him preach and teach but moreover, they watched as the Father released the supernatural through Him. He cleansed leapers, cast out demons, healed paralytics, restore sight to the blind, restore speech to the mute, "Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." (Matthew 9:35) and He raised the dead (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43, Luke 7:11-15, John 11:1-44) But the disciples saw something else about Jesus. Apart from all the teaching, preaching and miracles, "When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." (Matthew 9:36)

Many Christians are compassionate, but few have compassion. What is the difference? A person can be compassionate, feeling sympathy and concern for others, but do nothing about it. However, to have compassion is to have sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others and then do something about it. This is what the ministry of Jesus was about. It was revealing to humanity the true nature of the Father, compassion for humanity. Jesus had been sent by the Father (John 6:38) to do something about the fallen, oppressed state of human suffering under the tyrannical powers of darkness.  Next, we see that His compassion for humanity is revealed to His disciples, "Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38)

Interestingly enough many in the church today will pray this prayer because they are compassionate towards to state of humanity, but that is as far as they go. By praying for laborers, they expect God to answer their prayer by gathering others to go labor not thinking that they themselves are the laborers. Immediately after Jesus spoke to His disciples to pray in this manner, "He called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease."  (Matthew 10:1) He commissioned them to, "Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying,'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons..." (Matthew 10:6-8) The very prayer that Jesus had told His disciples to pray had now become an answered prayer through them. They were the very laborers that they were to pray for.

It is sad to here ministers tell believers that all they have to do is to pray this prayer and the congregation will grow because the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers. We don't know where these laborers are or where they come from, but somehow the Lord will bring in the harvest through these laborers. Jesus never meant this prayer to be a prayer of hope, but one of faith. Faith that "God is at work in the believer to both do His will and His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13) That all believers, "are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) That all believers are to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded." (Matthew 28:19-20)

The church (all believers) is the only vessel on this planet that has the "Good News." The good news is not limited to being saved from sin (which is certainly enough) but that the moment one places faith in Christ, they become New Creations. (2 Corinthians 5:17) They are declared righteous and have peace with God. (Romans 5:1-2) They become a child of God (John 1:12) God has given them unlimited rights and privileges as His heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) (to name a few points concerning God's Good News to humanity) Let's remember, "That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16)

I do not believe that there is one believer that would want to see even the most vile sinner perish without Christ. So let us keep in mind God's incredible power to transform lives and then release upon that transformed life all the wonderful promises that He freely gives. Let us move on from praying to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers only and believe that we are the very laborers that God is calling to go forth and reap a harvest of souls through His power working in us, all for the Father's glory. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)   

Monday, February 8, 2021

God is Just to All

 The Book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Many use Job as a lesson for believers from the position that when adversity comes no matter how horrific it may be, somehow God is behind it. Believers are taught that because God allowed Satan to do certain destructive things in Jobs life that it was God's will. The Bible tells us that Satan is the accuser (Revelation 12:10) so he made some accusation against God and Job, "Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land." (Job 1:8-10)

Notice first that God always speaks highly of His children. He protects His children and blesses His children. This is Gods true nature and it holds a very important key when it comes to fully understanding what is about to transpire in the life of Job. Next, we see Satan firing his accusations against God and Job. Due to his hatred towards God and man, Satan then puts a challenge to God, "But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD." (Job 1:11-12) Although Satan wanted God to do damage to Job, it was not God, it was Satan!

After all the havoc that Satan leashed on Jobs family and possessions it wasn't enough. Satan returns to God and continues his accusations, but once again we see the true nature of God revealed, "Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause." (Job2:3) This time Satan makes his accusations more personal towards Job, "So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job." (Job 2:4-7) Again, Satan wanted God to do damage to Job, and again it was not God, it was Satan!

We see clearly that Gods true nature is to bless not curse, but why would God allow Satan to bring such devastation upon Job? Does God use Satan to do His dirty work? Does God use destruction, disease and sickness to chastise His children? Is it because God is sovereign (and He most certainly is) and He gets to do whatever He wants? Before we see the real reason behind this satanic attack on Job, let's see another characteristic of God as reveal by a young man named Elihu, "Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding: Far be it from God to do wickedness, and from the Almighty to commit iniquity. For He repays man according to his work, And makes man to find a reward according to his way. Surely God will never do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice." (Job 34:10-12) and "As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not afflict." (Job 37:23)

God is absolutely just. He does not do wicked things. He does not commit iniquity. He does not pervert justice. He is abundant in Justice. He does not afflict. Everything that God does is on absolute legal grounds. He does not pervert justice for anyone, including Satan. So why would God permit Satan to do the things to Job that he did? Job himself reveals exactly why, "For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me." (Job 3:25) The apostle Paul tells Timothy, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) If fear does not come from God, where does it come from? Fear is a product of the fall and is from Satan. Adams response to God immediately after the fall was, "...I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:10)  The apostle Paul tells us, "do not give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) Fear in Jobs life was legal ground for Satan to do what he did to Job, For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me." Now we can clearly see why God permitted Satan to bring such devastation upon Job. Remember, God does not do wicked things. He does not commit iniquity. He does not pervert justice. He is abundant in Justice. He does not afflict!

The true nature and character of God is revealed throughout the Bible. For instance, He reveals His nature to Moses, "And the LORD passed before Moses and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." (Exodus 34:6-7) We see again that He is just. Think about this from another perspective. God chose to redeem humanity in Christ "before the foundation of the world." (Ephesians 1:3-6) So God knew that Adam would commit treason before He created him. When the fall came, God immediately made known His plan of redemption for humanity. (Genesis 3:14-15) If God's will is for humanity to suffer at the hands of His enemy, Satan, then we have to ask ourselves why did God spare Cain's life and not kill him immediately after he murdered his brother Able? God tells us when He spoke to Cain before He murdered Able, "...sin (Satan) lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it" (Genesis 4:7)

God gave Cain the solution to do what was right, but Cain's anger was stronger than Gods advice. His anger gave place to Satan and murder was the result. Jesus tells us that "Satan is a murderer" (John 8:44) not God! As a matter of fact, "...through death, Jesus destroyed him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14) Luke tells us, "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38) John tells us, "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8) Jesus Himself quotes a prophetic word spoken by Isaiah the prophet concerning Himself, "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." (Isaiah 61:1-2, Luke 4:18-19) Does any of this sound like a God whose will is to have disease, sickness, poverty or any other devastation to come upon His children? Absolutely and emphatically not!!!

If it is God's will to have humanity, especially His children suffer at the hand of His enemy, Satan, whether it be to chasten them or any other reason, then why would Jesus come to destroy the works of the devil?  As you can see, this thinking is complete ludicrous. If we say that the things that happened to Job is because God is sovereign (and He most certainly is) and He does whatever He wants due to His sovereignty, then we have to also believe that God operates outside of and or ignores His own Word. This thinking is also erroneous, "My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips." (Psalms 89:34), "Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven." (Psalms 119:89), "I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name." (Psalm 138:2) By looking at the conclusion of the Book of Job, we see God's true nature in action.

From chapter 38 to chapter 41 God questions Job from the realm of creation and the realm of animals. He then tells Job to save himself, if he can. He compares the power of Job with that of the behemoth and that of a leviathan. Finally in chapter 42 Job confessed his lack of understanding and then repents. In response to Jobs confession and repentance, "the LORD restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10) "Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning." (Job 42:12) "After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days." (Job 42:16-17)  God's will and nature is to is bless and give life. It is Satan who steals, kills and destroys. As shown above, Job gave Satan a legal right to do the things that had come upon him, but once Job had confessed and repented to God, Satan lost all legal ground to Job and God could legally bless Job again.

For God to bring eternal redemption to humanity, He himself would take the liability for the fall of man. It was Jesus Christ the Son of God who suffered as a substitute for humanity, the just for the unjust. Satan used humanity to take the life of a sinless, innocent man which opened the door for God to redeem humanity on absolutely legal grounds. Now all who confess the Lordship of Jesus become a child of God. They are a New Creation. Satan is defeated and the believer has authority over him. However, we must be careful not to "Give place to the devil" but live by faith in the realm of the spirit with all the benefits that are legally ours provided by redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. It's all legal and it's all ours, "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?" (Romans 8:32) PTL

Monday, February 1, 2021

Words, Words, Words

The words that we speak are very powerful. They are the building blocks on which every person builds their life upon. The Proverbs speak numerous times of the constructive and destructive power that our words have, "You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth." (Proverbs 6:2) and "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21) and "A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth..." (Proverbs 12:14) No matter how one speaks, they become a product of their words. Jesus said, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)

Many believer struggle with life problems because they speak the wrong things not realizing that the very thing(s) they struggle with are the consequences of the words they speak. Think about it from this perspective. In the first chapter of Genesis we see that "God said...and so it was." Notice that every time that "God said" creation took shape, it came to be. Without words, creation would have never happened. The writer of Hebrew says, "By faith we understand 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." (Hebrews 11:3) Again, creation manifested as God spoke, but take note to something else in this verse that is very important for believers to see, "By faith we understand..." Faith is a catalyst that brings us to understand the power of our spoken words as well as the power released when speaking God's Word.

Every time we speak God's Word to our individual circumstances and situations, our faith increases, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17) and His Word becomes a reality in our lives. James tells us to "...receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21) Once God's Word is implanted into our spirit, that is, it becomes a part of us, it will produce results. "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11) Jesus said it this way, "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 6:63) God's Word produces life.

One of the greatest examples that reveals the power of words is found in Mark 5:25-34. In short, this is the story of a woman with a persistent flow of blood for twelve years that had become worse even though she had seen many physicians concerning this condition. (This is not a teaching against doctors or medicine, but the power of the words that we speak) As the woman pressed through the crowd to get to Jesus, "she kept saying, if I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health." (Mark 5:28 AMP) The woman had a goal. She hoped to be healed, if I only touch His garments. I am sure that her mind was saying things that totally contradicted what she was speaking. However, she turned human reasoning and hope into faith by confessing, I shall be restored to health. When she touched Jesus' clothes, her faith made a demand on the covenant of God as a daughter of Abraham releasing the anointing that was upon Jesus and her words became a living reality, "Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction." (Mark 5:29) 

The writer of Hebrews tells us, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) The woman's faith gave substance to the thing that she hoped for even though all the evidence in the natural was saying something different. Notice also that the woman was not denying or confessing that her condition did not exist, because that would not be true, it did exist. When a believer speaks God's Word, we also are not to deny that a condition does not exist, but we are to deny the conditions right to exist because we have been redeemed through our faith in Jesus Christ. We are the children of God. Sin and Satan have been defeated and we have been given the Name of Jesus to enforce what He did through His dead, burial and resurrection. Paul says this, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." (Romans 8:11) and "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?" (Romans 8:32) Jesus said it this way, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)   

When circumstances or situations arise, we must not make the mistake of calling the things that are contrary to God's Word, the way they are. For instance, if sickness has manifested in your body, although the sickness is real, it is contrary to God's Word, " His stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24) By agreeing with the sickness, our words are giving it the right to be in our body. But when we speak God's Word to the sickness, "by His stripes I am healed" we take authority over it because we are calling those things that are not as though the were. (Romans 4:17) We are agreeing that God's Word is true and the sickness has no right to be in our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. This may not be a one time process for you. Sometimes our faith is not at the level to deal with the situation at hand. However, do not give up or give in. You must continue to speak God's Word until His Word manifests. My challenge to you is to make it a daily practice of meditating on God's Word and speaking it to any problem that you may encounter. Declare His Word to be true until it is implanted in you and you walk in the victory that you have through Jesus Christ our Lord.     

Monday, January 25, 2021

Grace, Grace

Years ago I read a story about a world renown zoo that purchased a great brown bear to become one of its exhibits. The zoo had purchased the bear from a circus where the bear had been confined to a small metal cage. Hour after hour and day after day the bear would pace back and forth from one end of the cage to the other. The zoo had a bear compound consisting of acres of lush, green grass, trees and a pool of fresh drinking water. The bear would be fed three times a day and would have nothing to do but to enjoy its new home. The day came when the bear arrived at the zoo and the zoo-keepers took him to his new habitat. When they opened the cage to release the bear to their surprise the bear continued to walk back and forth within the confines of the small cage. The zoo-keeper tried various things to coax the bear from the cage but it would not leave. Finally, the only solution that was left was to put some kerosene soaked rages on a pole light them and stick the fiery pole through the bars of the cage. This intimidated the bear to jump out of the cage and into his new home. The bear looked around but to the zoo-keepers amazement, the bear began to pace back and forth as though he was still in the small metal cage. Suddenly it dawned on the attendants that although the bear was released from its "metal prison" it still remained in a "mental prison."

Like the bear in this story, many Christians find themselves in a very similar dilemma. They have become accustomed to accepting thoughts of failure and defeat in various areas of their life. They are convinced that that things will never change. This type of thinking has crippled many born again, spirit-filled children of God who truly love the Lord. When they face some of the difficulties of life, they find themselves settling for far less than what God has for them. There are generally two reasons why believers entertain this type of thinking. First, they accepted the opinions of man (father, mother, siblings or others) who have spoken harsh condescending words over them for most of their life and or secondly, they have listened to sermons that provide believers with a steady diet of "you are nothing more than a sinner saved by grace who is weak and is incapable of ever pleasing God." They have been inundated with so many rules and regulations that they are held captive to this mental prison. However, the truth of the matter is, there is a powerful attribute of God that He has made available to all of His children that has freed them from this mental prison, it's called grace.

Philippians reveals grace this way, "For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire." (Philippians 2:13 Wey) I like to define it this way. Simply put, grace is the free unearned, unmerited favor of God that gives the believer the ability and desire to do God's will. God's grace is free, it is a gift, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8) As we grow to understand how this free gift from God works in and through our lives, we will find ourselves living in the freedom that the Father has provided through Jesus Christ.

Grace can be seen from two sides. First, it is the free unearned, unmerited favor of God for the believer. The truth is, we deserve nothing good, however, God working through Christ  has provided His amazing grace for all believers. His grace provides, forgiveness, healing, provision, peace, hope, eternal life; the list goes on and on. The other side of grace is, grace gives the believer the ability and desire to do God's will. So not only is God's grace upon the believer for his/her benefit, but it also works through the believer accomplishing God's will for the benefit of others. We need to keep this balance in mind so that we do not take the grace of God to an extra-biblical level. Many preachers in their efforts to present the message of grace to free the enormous number of believers held in bondage to rules, regulations, defeat and failure find themselves teaching grace from an unbiblical extreme. Unfortunately, we have done this very thing in the church in the past with such things as the discipleship movement and the faith teaching (to name a few). Just because something sounds good or sounds right doesn't mean that it is. This is why it is so important for believers to search the scriptures themselves to see if these things are so.

God's grace is available to all of His children. We receive grace through faith, "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace..." (Romans 4:16) not through anything that we can do, "And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work." (Romans 11:6) We simply reach out and receive it by faith and thank God for His free gift of grace. So if you need God's favor in your life, if you need God's ability in your life and if you need a desire to do God's will, just receive His grace. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)     

Monday, January 18, 2021

My New Identity

The Bible reveals that Jesus has offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the redemption of humanity (Revelation 1:5-6). He suffered and died as mans substitute (Acts 2:29-36), paid for man’s crimes by satisfying justice (Romans 3:21-26), was made alive and justified in spirit (1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 3:18), raised from the dead (Acts 13:33-34) and has taken His blood to heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High making mans redemption both available and eternal (Hebrew 1:3, 9:11-12, 10:10-14).

Although redemption has been made available for all humanity through Jesus Christ, it only becomes a reality to those who confess the Lordship of Christ and receive Him as Savior. (Romans 10:9-10) With that said, I have found that there are few in the church today who really know, possesses and enjoy their God given rights and privileges that redemption has made possible. To fully understand and embrace what the Father has worked through Christ for believers takes revelation faith. In other words, we can read the Bible continuously, but until one "receives with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your soul," (James 1:21) it becomes a vague proposition at best. It becomes difficult to believe that we truly are what and who God says we are in Christ. God's Word must become a part of our very being in the same way that a child within the womb is a part of a woman's body.

The Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Although our faith increases through God's Word, our faith is measured by our knowledge of our place and our rights as God’s children as well as our ability to stand in the presences of God without guilt, condemnation, shame or inferiority. When we truly know these things we will no longer deal with fear, doubt or unbelief and we will know that through faith in Christ we have as good a standing before the Father as Jesus had in His earth walk. This also means that the struggle of trying to acquire more faith is settled and we will live on this earth in the same manner that Jesus did. If we know who we are in Christ, then in a sense, there is no struggle for faith because we do not need faith for that which we know.

I have a covered patio that is attached to the rear of my house. A recent storm with damaging winds damaged a portion of the roof. I do not need faith to believe the patio is mine. I can see it and touch it. It is on my property and it is attached to my house. However, I may need to exercise faith for the finances to replace the roof  So you see, believers do not need to exercise faith for the things that they know to be true. How about if you went to a store and bought a television. You paid cash for it and have the receipt as proof of purchase. Who owns the television, you or the store? Of course you do. You paid the price required which met the conditions to make a legal business transaction thereby taking ownership of the television. Not only that, but because the television is yours, you can say or do whatever you want concerning the television. Now, what if the CEO of the company that manufactured the television came to your house and demand ownership of the TV. Who is the rightful owner? Of course you are. What if the CEO took you to court and his attorney pleaded a case of ownership to a judge. You hire an attorney and your attorney shows the judge the receipt, the proof of purchase. Who will the judge say is the owner of the television? Of course you are.

In the same manner the believer belongs to Christ! He owns us! We are His! (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) This also means that we are who and what He says we are! The following are a few things to meditate on concerning who and what we are in the mind of the God our Father...

  • We have peace with God (Romans 5:1)
  • We have God's wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • We are one with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17)
  • We are New Creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • We are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • We have been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)
  • We have been made alive in Christ and sit with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:4-10)
  • We have God working in us to do His will (Philippians 2:13)
  • We are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20)
  • We are holy and blameless in His sight (Colossians 1:22)
  • We are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
  • We enjoy rest in Christ (Hebrews 4:3)
  • We are His own special people (1 Peter 2:9)
  • We are partakers of exceeding great and precious promises and the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)
  • We have eternal life (1 John 2:25)
  • We are kings and priests (Revelation 1:4-6)
Although these passages of scripture are but a few that reveal who and what we are in the mind of God, take some time and meditate on these until you receive a revelation of these facts.
"So Christ has made us free. Now make sure that you stay free" (Galatians 5:1)….  

Monday, January 11, 2021

A Whole Lot of Love

Although there are many ways to express love, basically, there are only two kinds of love and one or the other will dominate every person. One kind of love is a natural or human kind of love in which every person has to some extent. Natural love though can speak highly of someone one moment and than the next moment completely turn around a spew words of hatred towards the same person. However, when Jesus came to earth He brought with Him a new type of love, a love that emanates from the Spirit which is the God kind of love. The very essence and most potent characteristic of God is love. The apostle John tells us, "...for love is of God..." and "...for God is love..." (1 John 4:7-8) 

One of the most exciting events that takes place when a person confesses with their mouth the Lordship of Jesus Christ and receives Him as Savior, is their dead spirit is reborn from above and they become completely new, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) To expand what this means, the Holy Spirit through the apostle John says, "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace." (John 1:16) The Holy Spirit speaking through the apostle Paul tells us, "For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power." (Colossians 2:9-10 TLB) The apostle John also states, " He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17) 

The moment that a person experienced New Birth they immediately receive the fullness of Christ. They are immediately filled with God. They immediately have the character of Christ. Now we may not know this or we may not take advantage of what this means, but it is fact! Another characteristic of this transformation into a New Creation is that our recreated spirit is also immediately filled with the God kind of Love, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) Every born again person has within them the ability to love as God loves because His love dwells within us. This new kind of love becomes our nature because we are "partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4) We also see that our recreated spirit has been infused with nine wonderful attributes that are called "The fruit of the spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23) in which the first one is love, the God kind of love.  

When believers let go of natural love and let the God kind of love dominate their life, it makes them the master of life in the same way Jesus was as He walked the earth as the Son of man. For instance, Jesus never lost His temper which led to sin. His great love made Him master over every situation. When a believer losses his/her temper, the natural man (old man) takes over. The person, situation or circumstance that caused the believer to lose their temper now becomes the master. However, if we let the God kind of love flow from us, then we become impervious to these things and stand in victory over them as master in the same manner that Jesus stood as Master over them. 

How powerful is the God kind of love? Look at the last day of Jesus ministry as the Son of man. He was beaten, mocked, spit upon and nail to the cross and yet those who did this did not realize that the moment they took Him captive, He actually became Master which eventually led Him to become the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords. "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16) "But God demonstrates His own LOVE toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) 

It takes faith to rest in and depend on the God kind of love to dominate our life. Remember, we have the fullness of Christ in us. God is not limiting us to operate in this manner. The only limits that are upon the believer, are the ones that the believer chooses to imposes upon himself. To operate in the God kind of love is a choice that each believer must make daily. In doing so we fulfill the commandment that Jesus has given to all believers, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  (John 13:34-35) So let us rise above selfish natural love, exercise the God kind of love so that the world will see the Father's tremendous surrounding, abounding love for them operating through us.   

Monday, January 4, 2021

Jump Up and Shout

Every season of each year brings various sporting events, whether, baseball, football, soccer, hockey, tennis and so on. Events like these are considered team or individual sports. That mean that there are two different teams or individuals competing against one another. It also means that there are spectators that are cheering for their favorite team or individual. When the contest is close or especially when those who are competing score points, the spectators most likely jump up and shout. For the most part, there is nothing wrong with having a favorite team or person that you want to see win the contest. But as Christians, do we tend to shout more for achievements of people who have no ability to save, heal or deliver another person from the bondage of sin and Satan than we do for the Lord and Savior of all men? I believe the best way to answer this question would be to take some Sunday's and visit several church congregations to observe the peoples response or actions during worship.

Praise and worship is a powerful way for believers to express their humble adoration as well as their jubilant admiration for all that God is and what He has done through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the champion of all champions. No one in the history of mankind has ever gained such an incredible victory or as it were, scored more points than He, and yet most Christians approach to praise and worship is just singing nice songs. We disguise our lack of passionate, energetic, heartfelt praise and worship by saying "we are showing our reverence toward Him" and yet without hesitation, will clap and shout aloud at a sporting event. Case in point. I recently attended what was called "Grandparents Day" at a Christian School. There were about 300 in attendance. The students sang numerous songs with lyrics about Gods magnificence, splendor and glory. Song of the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet the atmosphere was quiet and reserved. Even at the end of each song, with the exception of myself, there was no shouts of "amen, praise the Lord, hallelujah" or any such thing. 

One of the greatest accounts recorded in the Bible that reveals uninhibited praise and worship is found in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, "And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet." (2 Samuel 6:13-15) "Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets." (1 Chronicles 13:8) Try to imagine what was taking place. Israel, led by David the king were transporting the Ark of the Covenant which included the Mercy Seat, to the City of David. To Israel, this sacred piece of furniture represented the presence of God. 

Notice, "David danced before the Ark with all his might while all Israel played music before God with all their might." This should strike a chord in our heart. Again, the Ark represented the presence of God not the indwelling, empowering presence of God that comes to all those who confess with their mouth the Lordship of Jesus Christ, receive Him as their Savior and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Think about it. Jesus had not yet become mans substitute for sin, therefore not one person at this time was born again and filled with the Spirit, yet the leader of Israel, King David thought nothing of dancing before Israel and the Ark with all of His might while Israel played music with all their might. 

Some may say that it was a cultural thing, but I contend it was a God thing. They were celebrating "The God Who Sees" (Genesis 16:13), "Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1), "The Lord Who Provides" (Genesis 22:14), "The God Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26), "The Lord Who Sanctifies" (Exodus 31:13), "The God Who Keeps His Word and Makes it Good" (Numbers 23:19), "The Lord Who is Peace" (Judges 6:24), "The Almighty Who is Excellent in Power, in Judgment, and Abundant Justice, Who does not afflict" (Job 37:23), "The Lord the Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1), "The Lord Who is Good" (Psalm 34:8) "The Lord Who Delivers" (Psalm 34:17), "The Lord Who is Merciful and Gracious" (Psalm 103:8), "The Lord Who is full of Compassion" (Psalm 145:8). 

Of course if we do not know God's true nature and character, as revealed in the above scriptures which are just a few examples of many, then it becomes difficult to let go and worship Him as Israel did. However, let's keep in mind, "For I am the LORD, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6), "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8), "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17) God has not, nor will He ever change. In fact He reveals His will, nature, character, purposes and plan through Jesus Christ more than the Law or the Prophets or any one else (Hebrews 1:1-4). 

There are numerous Bible references revealing the presence and power of God released when His people truly praise and worship Him. The picture painted in Revelation 4 - 5 of worship in heaven before God is a tremendous sneak preview of what the saints will be doing for eternity. So, if we are going to shout at the achievement of men, then it is time to shed our fears and inhibitions and as the children of God, lift up our voices and shout even louder to Him Who sits on the Throne and unto the Lamb. Someone shout, "PRAISE THE LORD."