Wednesday, August 15, 2012
John 8:31, 32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
How many times have you heard the phrase, “the truth will set you free”? Does the truth really set people free or is it contingent upon something else? I think in order to understand how the truth sets a person free you must go back to the verse prior to John 8:32 and put into practice what it says:
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
The conjunction “And” at the beginning of verse 32 ties that verse to verse 31 making it a by-product of what verse 31 says to do. Jesus said those who believed Him would be His disciples and something would be evident in their lives as they believed.....they would know the truth and the truth would set them free.
What does it mean to believe Him? We sometimes think it means to believe in Him, but that is different than believing Him. To believe “in Him” is to put our trust in Him, but to “believe Him” is not only to put our trust in Him, but to act upon what He has said.
Jesus said “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
Let's take this one phrase at a time and dissect it to where we understand what He really is saying.
If – a conjunction meaning that the end result is dependent upon something that you do. In order to be His disciples you must abide in His word.
What is a disciple? According to Strong's concordance the Greek word for “disciple” is mathetes and it means “one who follows one's teaching”. A “disciple” was not only a pupil, but an adherent; hence they are spoken of as imitators of their teacher.
So, what Jesus is saying is that if you abide, or live in His word, and follow His teaching, you will be one who imitates Him. And when you are becoming as Him in following and imitating Him you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. You see, Jesus said that He didn't do anything He didn't see His Father doing and He didn't say anything He didn't hear from His Father. He was an imitator of His Father, God, just like He is saying we should be an imitator of Him.
John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
It is as we see, hear and do what the Word of God says, imitating Jesus, that we become imitators and followers of Him. It is then that we will know the truth and that truth that we know will set us free.
Know – Greek word “ginosko” according to Strong's concordance it means to perceive, understand, recognize, gain knowledge, realize, come to know. It is the knowledge that has an inception, a progress, and an attainment. It is the recognition of truth by personal experience.
So as we spend time in God's word and see, hear, and do what Jesus did we will come to perceive and understand through a progressive knowledge of the truth and what we then are coming to know will set us free.
Jesus talks about the truth being what sets us free. Let's look into that word “truth” and see what He is trying to tell us about knowing it.
Truth – Greek word aletheia – according to Strong's concordance it means “the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter”.
Truth, the reality lying at the basis of an appearance. Now, let's look at John 8:32 from a little different angle. The Amplified Bible capitalizes truth in John 8:32 signifying that the “Truth” is not just the conformity to fact or reality, but it is the reality of that fact! Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” And in John 8:36 He says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed,” which leads me to believe that the truth that He is talking about in Romans 8:31, 32 is really Him. You can come to know Him through the word, through prayer and through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the God-head are involved in you coming to know the Truth and being set free by what you know.
All of these scriptures when put together seem to say that Jesus is the Truth that we come to know as we see, hear and do God's Word and as we are progressively growing in our knowledge of Him we will be set free from sin, and live a lifestyle of imitating the Father, just as Jesus did.
Hebrews 4:12 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.
God's word is living and when you read a scripture one time it may speak to you one way and then another time that you read it you may get something totally different from it. That's because it addresses the need in your heart at that very moment. God knows exactly what you need to hear and because the word is living and powerful it goes into your heart and does supernatural surgery where it is needed. I have shown you two different ways the scripture of John 8:31, 32 can be seen this morning. That's how the word works. Two different people can read the same verse and it will speak to both of them differently. It has a powerful effect on each one of them at their point of need.
This blog may seem a little deep and challenging, but it is food for thought this morning and, as always, I welcome your interaction, comments and questions! We grow through being stretched, so maybe this blog will get you to thinking and praying!
Father, I thank You for Your Word! I thank You for the written Word, the Living Word, Jesus, and the spoken Word as the Holy Spirit reveals it to me. I long to get to know You in all Your fullness through whichever means You desire to teach me. I ask You, Father, to help us to know the Truth and to be set free as we grow in our knowledge of that reality! You, Lord, know how to reach each one of us and reveal Yourself to us in ways that we will understand. I pray for my friends this morning that they may seek You with their whole hearts, live their lives as imitators of Jesus and walk in freedom from sin and all it's effects. Father, keep them from the evil one and protect them from the wiles that he uses to deceive people. Show them the way to freedom today, Lord! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite scripture for so many people. It gives us the assurance that God has something good in store for us and that no matter what we are going through right now it will someday be over and we will experience good things in our lives.
When you look into the context of the scripture in which this was written we see that Jeremiah was actually writing to people who had been exiled and were being held in captivity. They were in bondage to their enemies. Jeremiah was offering them hope that it would end and that God had good planned for their future. He gave them some instructions for success in their captivity that I think are often overlooked, but that give us some keys to having a smooth transition from where we are now, sometimes in sorrow or pain, to where we will someday be at the culmination of what God has planned.
Jeremiah begins his letter acknowledging that the exiles are in a rough spot right now; they are in captivity.
Jeremiah 29:1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.
That may be where you are in your life at this very moment. You may be struggling with something, going through a trial or tribulation, and maybe feeling like it may never end! You feel like you are in captivity to life!
Jeremiah goes on to tell them that they should not give up living just because they are in captivity. Sometimes we put off living our lives to the fullest until something “great” happens, or we achieve some unrealistic goal. But success in life is not in attaining some great prestigious position or receiving a large amount of money or even finding that one special someone to live out the rest of your life with. Success is in the journey! It is learning to live above the distractions of life; being satisfied with who you are where you are right now! God, through the prophet Jeremiah, tells them how to accomplish that feat:
Jeremiah 29:4-9 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
What God is saying to them is that they need to recognize where they are at that particular point in their lives, but not to the extent that it causes them to be paralyzed in life so that they don't go on living. He tells them to go ahead and build houses and live their lives by planting gardens and cultivating crops; to marry and have children so that their families continue with their lineage. And then He gave them a very important instruction: “And seek the peace of the city.....and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
Many times we fret about the problems we have or the state of the nation and how bad things are with the economy, when we really should be praying for the situation, for it's through prayer that we will have peace in the midst of the storm. God understood that they were in a turmoil where they were, but they had forgotten that He is the God of the storm as well as the God of the peaceful times. We often get so caught up in what we are going through that we forget that God is able to deliver us in a nano-second! He is able to change things in the twinkling of any eye! He is a miracle-working God! And He knows when the trial will end.....there is an end coming. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn't that of the train coming to hit us! God has a good future planned for us all!
God goes on to say, in Jeremiah 29:8, 9: For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely in My name: I have not sent them, says the LORD.
There are a lot of things going around the world through the internet. I get emails every day of things that are “prophesied” for our future. They may not say that they are prophecies, but they simply speak of a negative outlook regarding our future. They breed fear in the hearts of people. The Lord says not to listen to false prophets and not to think about the dreams that negative thoughts bring into your night's sleep. Sometimes we dwell so much on the negative that it spills over into our sleeping hours. The subconscious takes over and brings dreams that are more nightmares than dreams. Look at what Jeremiah says after those two verses.
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
He said all of that to let them know that all the heartache they were experiencing would come to an end. And that His plans for them were good, not bad. Sometimes we go through things and feel that God has abandoned us, but He is right there with them, helping them to see that “this, too, shall pass”, just like He is right there with you, in the midst of your storm, offering words of encouragement and comfort in knowing that He has a good plan for your life and even though things are not going well now, they will change. The key to all of it is keeping your eyes on the Lord, watching for His hand to move, praying and following His directions for living life to the fullest. Speak confidently and positively about the hope that is within you, for God is always working; He never sleeps or slumbers and is always working for your good.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13 AMP: Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].
Paul said he had learned the secret of how to face every situation. That secret was in drawing his strength from the Lord Jesus. It gave him the ability to stand in Christ Jesus through the storms of life. When we experience difficulties in life, what do we do? Usually, we begin to complain about how bad things are. Instead, we need to be positive about the situation, speaking the solution and not the problem. God is bigger than anything the world or the devil can throw at us! Look unto Jesus! He is the author and finisher of our faith. Paul said it is the secret of facing every situation having that inner strength that comes from Christ Jesus that got him through the difficult times. He became self-sufficient through Christ's sufficiency. In other words, he didn't depend on his own strength and abilities to see him through the rough times, but He drew on Christ's strength and ability and lived his life through His supernatural sufficiency.
I love the Amplified translation of this portion of scripture because it talks about Christ Jesus infusing us with inner strength. I often get a picture of this portrayed as a huge funnel placed above my head with Jesus pouring His strength through that funnel into me. It helps me understand what it meas to be “infused” with His strength.
Friends, regardless of what you are going through today, it will come to an end and there are better days ahead of you. When I lost my husband I was grieving one Sunday morning at church and the Pastor's message was “the best is yet to come”. After the service my late husband's doctor walked up to me and said “don't forget, the best is yet to come”. At that time it was very difficult for me to see anything good in my future as I had just lost my husband through a massive stroke. But God brought me out of bondage into a glorious future as He introduced me, within the next year, to my present husband. What I saw as devastation with no good in sight, He saw as a transition into the good plan that He had for my future. He knew that my husband would die and I would not get to live out my future with him, and He already had a plan put in motion for me to experience His goodness in my life. My friend, if God will do that for me, He will do the same for you! He is no respecter of persons according to Acts 10:34:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”
Don't waste the days of your life grieving over where you are at this very moment! It just takes one word from God to change your life forever!
Hebrews 10:35, 36 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
Keep holding on to your faith in God; be confident that He is working on your behalf to bring you into the good plan that He has for your future. Endure to the end so you can receive the promise! God is faithful to do as He has promised!
Father, I thank You for Your great love for each one of us. I know that You have a good plan for our lives. I pray for my friends today who may be caught up in the problems of life. Father, give them a renewed vision of what You are doing in their lives. Fill them with expectation of the great future that You have for them. Show them, Father, that You are bringing them out of bondage to experience a good future. Thank You for giving them strength to endure to the end that they may receive the promised blessing that You have for them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Many times we overlook the introduction to the books of the Bible as the writer introduces to whom he is writing. We have a tendency to think that it is not important to us because it was written to a people in a different time period and place. But there is a lot of valuable information in the introduction of the book that will give us a better understanding of how we should view ourselves in relation to our status as children of God.
The Bible is God's love letter to His people, so all of it, even the “Greeting” is written, not only to the ones that it was addressing in that day and age, but also to us. Paul starts a lot of his writings “to the saints” in the church. He doesn't remind the people that they were once sinners, but he addresses them as who they are in Christ Jesus, because they “were” sinners, but they are now “saints”. Do you see yourself as an old sinner saved by grace, or a saint who occasionally sins? Well, you were a sinner and if you've invited Jesus into your heart you are now a saint, but God is not in the business of reminding people of how bad they were in the past. He encourages people to be who they are in Christ Jesus and to see themselves as that “saint” that they have now become. Here are some of the New Testament “Greetings”:
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
2 Corinthians 1:1 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
Ephesians 1:1 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 1:1 PAUL and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Colossians 1:1, 2 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Romans 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Paul even identifies himself as what God has made him to be, an apostle, not what he used to be as a persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ. He knew that he was a new creation in Christ Jesus, and as such, he identified himself as what he was as that new person, not what he had been. It is important for us to see ourselves as the person that God has made us and not the sinner that we used to be. If we constantly see ourselves as an old sinner saved by grace we will live with a defeatist attitude.
If you have been born again through the blood of Jesus and received Him as your Savior and Lord, then you are beloved of God, called to be saints just as much as the Romans were, or the people of Philippi or Colosse or Ephesus or Corinth! We all have to go through the blood of Jesus to become a saint of God! It is true that we have not been perfected, but God has begun a good work in each of us and He will bring it to completion at the day of Christ's return. (Philippians 1:6)
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Have you ever thought about the fact that God chose you before the foundation of the world to be His and that through the shed blood of His Son you have been placed and accepted into the Beloved; His family? Do you understand that you are a child of the King; a royal priesthood, a holy people? And that He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places through your relationship with Christ Jesus? You are a VIP, very important person!
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
You are God's own special person! He has a plan for your life, to proclaim His praises! He has delivered you out of darkness and into His marvelous light and you are now a part of His family; His own people. He has given you mercy when you didn't have it before. He has a good plan for your life!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God has a plan for your life that is full of hope, peace and goodness! It is as we see ourselves the way that God sees us that we will live up to the standards that He has placed before us. We strive to be what is expected of us. If you have a child that is constantly belittled and criticized he will grow up with a negative attitude thinking he can't do anything right. But if you constantly praise and encourage that same child he will grow up with a positive attitude thinking he can conquer the world! We are the same way in our spiritual journeys. We live up to what we are told about ourselves. Our spirits need spiritual truth to flourish and grow. Our emotions and actions will follow what comes out of our spirits. It is important to feed your spirit man daily on the word of God to assure proper spiritual nourishment for growth.
In my younger years I suffered from low self-esteem that stemmed from an emotionally abusive past. As a part of my deliverance God had me create a list of positive confessions from His word that I used to counter the negative thoughts that would come against me. They are powerful confessions for practical living. I would like to share them with you because I feel there are others that may be suffering from that same “spiritual illness”. Please feel free to take them as you would any prescription medication; with regularity! It will help if you read them out loud to yourself so your eyes see the words and your hears hear them. That multiplies the effectiveness of the confessions.
Father, I thank You for Your word that brings life into my spirit! I ask You, Father, to open the eyes of the blind and those who are oppressed to see the freedom that they have in Christ Jesus! Father, bring them out of darkness, whatever it might be. Deliver them from the evil one and set their spirits aflame with Your love and desire. Father, I ask You to deliver them from the oppression of low self-esteem and show them who they are in Christ Jesus! Bring them out of darkness into the light of Your word! Increase their desire to be free and give them the ability and courage to speak Your word over their lives every day until their spirit man is built up and nourished! Thank You, Father, for setting them free! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
I am a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away and all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17
God made Jesus to be sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:21
I am working out my own salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phil. 2:12, 13
I am confident of this very thing, that God has begun a good work in me and He will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:6
I have the mind of Christ and He has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 1 Cor. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:7
I have an anointing from the Holy One and I know all things. And the anointing which I have received from Him abides in me, and teaches me all things that are true and not a lie. 1 John 2:20, 27
The Holy Spirit is my teacher and He guides me into all truth; He does not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears He speaks to me and tells me things to come. John 16:13
Jesus is the good shepherd and I am His sheep. he speaks and I hear His voice and the voice of another I will not follow. John 10:6, 14, 27
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want or lack for any good thing. Ps. 23:1
The Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Ps. 119:105
God's Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Him. Ps. 119:11
I delight myself in the Lord and He gives me the desires of my heart. Ps. 37:4
My steps are ordered of God because I am a good woman and the Lord delights in my way. Though I may fall, I shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds me with His hand. Ps. 37:23, 24
The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces my heart and divides between my soul and my spirit. It judges my thoughts and intentions and brings change into my life. Heb. 4:12
I can take authority over the thoughts that come into my mind because my weapons are not carnal but mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds and God has given me authority over all the power of the enemy and He cannot harm me. 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Luke 10:19
God has delivered me from the power of darkness and conveyed me into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Col. 1:13
I can submit myself to God and resist the Devil and he must flee from me. Jas. 4:7
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13
I thank God because He always leads me to triumph in Christ. 2 Cor. 2:14
I am the healed of the Lord because by His stripes I was healed. 1 Pet. 2:24
My God is my healer. He has sent His word and healed me and delivered me from all my destruction. Ex. 15:26; Ps. 107:20
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. Ps. 118:17
No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that raises up against me in judgment I shall condemn for this is my heritage as a servant of the LORD and He is my righteousness and vindication! Is. 54:17
All my children shall be taught of the LORD and great shall be their peace [their undisturbed composure]. Is. 54:13
My afflictions may be many, but the Lord delivers me out of them all. Ps. 34:19
Because I dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty, I can say of the LORD, "you are my refuge and my fortress. You are my God and it's in You that I trust. Ps. 91:1,2
Because I have made the LORD my refuge and my dwelling place, no evil shall befall me and no plague shall come near my dwelling. And He gives His angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways. They hold me in their hands so I won't stumble and fall on the rocks of life. Ps. 91:9-12
Because I have set my love upon God, He will deliver me. He sets me on high because I have known His name; I know Him personally and understand His character and nature. I call upon Him and He answers me. He is with me in trouble. He delivers me and honors me and satisfies me with long life. And He shows me His salvation. Ps. 91:14-16
When I am afraid, I trust in my God; I praise His word and trust in Him. I will not fear because my God is for me. When I cry out to Him my enemies turn back. Ps. 56:9
My soul trusts in my God and I hide in the shadow of His wings until the storm passes by. Ps. 57:1
Because my God will never leave me or forsake me, I can boldly say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear." Heb. 13:5,6
If my God is for me, who could possibly be against me? My God gave up His only Son for me and with Him He freely gives me all things. Rom. 8:31, 32
There is nothing that can separate me from God's love. And He has made me more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. Rom. 8:35, 37
My God is greater than anything the devil or the world can throw at me. He has overcome the world and He is the greater One living in me. Because I am in Him and He is in me I have overcome the world and have the victory through my faith in Him. 1 John 4:4; 5:4
Sunday, August 12, 2012
John 3:16-21 NCV God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. People who believe in God's Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God's one and only Son. They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.
God loved people so much that He gave the ultimate gift to mankind; the death of His one and only Son to pay the price for our redemption.
Redemption – Greek word apolutrosis – Strong's 629 A release secured by the payment of a ransom, deliverance, setting free. The word in secular Greek described a conqueror releasing prisoners, a master ransoming a slave, and redemption from an alien yoke. In the New Testament it designates deliverance through Christ from evil and the penalty of sin. The price paid to purchase that liberation was His shed blood.
Jesus bought us back from the kingdom of darkness with His precious blood. He purchased our redemption with His life. The only way to have eternal life is to believe in your heart that God sent Jesus to pay the price for your redemption and then confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9, 10)
Colossians 1:13, 14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Ephesians 1:7, 8 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Praise the Lord! Jesus made it possible for us to be washed clean of all our sins. He laid down His life for us that we might experience life through Him. He established peace between us and God.
Ephesians 3:14-18 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
There was a wall that stood between us and God. It separated us from the Father. Jesus broke that wall down when He sacrificed His flesh and blood for our sins. He joined us to the Father through His sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. Now we belong to the family of God.
I just feel like I need to reiterate to someone this morning that God is not mad at you. He loves you. He gave His all that you might have life. We have an enemy who is the accuser of the brethren. He will accuse you to yourself and make you feel like you are not worthy of God's love and that He is angry with you. That is not true. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He will always try to get you to believe his lies by making you feel bad, like you'll never be worthy of God's love. But God has already demonstrated His love for you by giving Jesus to die for you when you were yet a sinner.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If God gave Jesus for you while you were at your worst, a sinner, why would He be angry with you or love you any less after you received Jesus and were forgiven of your sins? There is nothing that you could do that would be any worse than what you were before you were forgiven of your sins and born again. There is nothing that you can do to make Him love you any more or any less than what He did when Jesus died for you on the Cross. The accuser of the brethren has fed you a lie. Do not believe it!
Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Condemnation does not come from God; it comes from the devil. He will try to make you feel like you do not deserve God's love. But God's Son, Jesus Christ paid the price for your righteousness. You are now worthy in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
God made Jesus to be sin for us. He traded places with us. He became our sin so that we could become His righteousness. It is a free gift with no strings attached; just believe and receive it.
John 1:12, 13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Satan will not stop trying to deceive you into believing that you are not worthy of God's love until you put your foot down on his neck and stop him from lying to you. You must resist him. He will not go until you tell him to leave.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
When you begin to take a stand on what you believe about God's word, the devil will become less able to deceive you. If you will submit yourself to God first, then resist the devil, he will have to leave you alone. Take your rightful place in Christ Jesus and stand up to the enemy and command him to leave you!
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Jesus has given you authority over the power of the enemy! He cannot harm you when you realize who you are in Christ Jesus and take your rightful place as a child of God standing against the enemy! The only ground that Satan can have is the ground that we relinquish to him. Jesus calls him the thief in John 10:10 because he comes to steal, kill and destroy. He uses illegal means to steal from people, kill their dreams and their lives if possible, and tries to destroy them.
1 Peter 5:8, 9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
The Word says we are to be on the alert for the devil because he tries to paralyze his prey by roaring at them. He tells them lies; he tries to get them to think things are worse than what they are. He constantly looks for the weak ones on the outer edges of the sheepfold that are easy prey for him to grab. But when you resist him in the faith, standing strong on God's word, his lies are subjected to the light and no longer have any power over you.
As I was praying this morning, I felt the Lord wanting to share something with me so I got out my pen and paper and began to write. I feel He has a message for someone this day, so here it is:
“My Child, I have loved you with an everlasting love. When you go through the fire of life I will be with you. The floods shall not overtake you for I am there to lift you above them. Look to Me for I am there. I will carry you through the difficult times. Do not feel as if you are forsaken, just look to Me and live. I will not fail you. I love you. You are Mine. I have called you by your name. I know everything about you. You are My 'lovely one' for I love you.”
Friends, God is not like people. He doesn't hold grudges or get mad and not speak to you.
Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
God loves you with an everlasting love. He has shown it to you this morning through His word and by His Spirit. He delights in you.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Can you see the great love that He has for you. Don't let the enemy tell you that God is mad at you or that He doesn't love you because of what you may have done. God loves you! Receive His love and forgiveness and go on and have a blessed life!
Father, I thank You for Your great love for us. You don't think like we do and you don't stay angry with us. Thank You for forgiving our sins and for blessing us with good lives. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be struggling with guilt and condemnation. I pray, Father, that You will reveal to them that You are not condemning them for what they have done, but forgiveness from You is freely given when they confess their sin to You and turn to walk with You according to Your ways. Give them peace in their hearts today, Lord, and fill them with a new sense of Your presence with them. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Psalm 23:1-6 AMP
THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
I love the way the Amplified Bible expounds on the verses of Psalm 23. It clarifies so well the role of the shepherd to the sheep. Jesus said in John 10:11: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep.
John 10:14: I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize me--
The Shepherd leads, guides, feeds and shields the sheep. He watches over them all the time to make sure that every need that they have is taken care of. He leads them to areas of nourishment where they will flourish and find peace.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, restores our souls. Through His very own life that He laid down for us, He made provision for every need that we have. He continues to watch over and provide for us. We have no lack in Him. There are times when we walk through dark times, but He is always there to lead us out into the light. His very presence assures us of His love and provision. Fear has no place in us when we realize and rely on His presence. It is only as we feel that we are in this alone that fear can take up residence within us.
The Shepherd's rod was there to drive off the wild animals that would try to attack the sheep. His staff was used to pull a wayward sheep back into the fold. The anointing oil was applied to the sheep's head so the flies couldn't lite on their heads and get up in their nose and ears to lay eggs. If the flies laid eggs in a sheep's head when the eggs hatched they would crawl up into the brain and literally eat the sheep's brain. The sheep would go crazy butting it's head on the rocks trying to get the pain to stop. The Shepherd protected the sheep however it was needed.
One of the names for Satan is Beelzebub, which means “lord of the flies”. Satan throws thoughts at people like darts that, when they have pierced the mind, bring turmoil and torment to the mental realm. It is as we are anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit that our minds are soothed and calmed. We are responsible for renewing our mind to the Word of God so we can identify the lies of the enemy and cast those thoughts down before they have time to sink in and do their damage. The mind truly is the battlefield, but if we will allow Jesus, our Good Shepherd to give us His salvation the Holy Spirit then can anoint us and help us protect our minds.
1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
The Holy Spirit helps us understand the Word; He is our teacher and through the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit we grow in spiritual understanding. It protects our minds from deception as we learn to listen and rely on the Holy Spirit and His anointing.
2 Corinthians 1:21,22: Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, but He sent His Spirit to live within each believer. As we receive Him the Holy Spirit fills the empty places within us and seals us in Him. His anointing is like the anointing oil that the Shepherd uses to ward off the flies; it protects our minds as we yield to Him. Our Good Shepherd has made provision for our whole person; spirit, soul and body. We are His; evidenced by the Holy Spirit within.
Father, I thank you for Jesus, our Good Shepherd. I thank You for sending Him to die for us; to give us new life as we give our hearts to Him. And Father, I thank You for Your Spirit that has come to live in us as we yield our lives to You. Father, fill us to overflowing today with Your Spirit that we might experience Your presence, Your power and Your anointing. I pray for my friends this morning, Father, that You would visit them in the power of Your Spirit, lifting them to new places in You, Lord. Give them revelation knowledge of Who You are and want to be in them. Show them, Father, that it is only in You that they experience life and that more abundantly. Help them to overcome by yielding to Your love, faith, hope and peace. Give them joy unspeakable and full of glory as they pray and yield to You. Thank You, Father, for touching the sick with Your healing hand, for providing for those who are experiencing lack and for visiting the lonely with Your love and presence. They need You, Lord, for only in You can we find provision for our needs. Thank You, Father. I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
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