Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Let the Holy Spirit Be Your Advocate Today

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;" (John 14:16)

Christians know that Jesus died for their sins.

He also died as us to grant us new life!

But we tend to forget that forevemore, we have an Advocate who pleads our case on our behalf!

The Holy Spirit, the Comforter whom Jesus promised to His disciples, and grants to us when we believe on Him!

"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:4)

He does a far better for, God's Holy Spirit within us convicts us of our righteousness in Him:

"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" (John 16:8)

Do not try to be your advocate, for you will fall back on your own efforts.

Consider the plight of the wicked servant, who plead with his master over a debt so massive that he could never pay:

"The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all." (Matthew 18:26)



Notice that when we try to be our own advocates, we fall back on our own efforts.

When the same servant demanded payment from one of his fellow servants, then threw him in prison for the debt, the same wicked servant had to appear before his lord again:

"Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?" (Matthew 18: 32-33)

The word "desiredst" is actually "Parakaleo", which means "beg, advocate", and is the root word for the Holy Spirit, which in the original Greek is "Parakletos".

The first servant wanted to defend himself, which in turn led to threatening his fellow servant to pay a debt, which he in turn could not pay.

This account of indebtedness ended with the first servant throw to torments until he paid his own insurmountable debt.

Let's face the truth:

We cannot be our own advocates.

Let the Holy Spirit be your Advocate, your Defense, Your Helper today!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jesus Over-Answers Our Prayers

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," (Ephesians 3:20)

Jesus always over-answers our prayers.

We are looking for a job. He instills in us and leads us into a career, a calling for His Kingdom.

Consider the  pleas of the nobleman whose daughter was ill:

"And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.' (John 4: 46-47)

Notice that this nobleman did not run to Jesus while He was ministering to the Samaritans.

Jews avoided the Samaritans at all costs, but Jesus came for the whole world! (John 3:16). In fact, He told his disciples that He had to go through Samaria (John 4:4)

Yet even for that, Jesus did not reject the nobleman's prayer.

Yet notice what Jesus said next:

"Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." (John 4:48)

What is belief all about? That we take God at His WORD!

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

The father believed on Jesus, even before He did any miracle:

"The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way." (John 4: 49-50)

The nobleman believed what Jesus said.



Now find out what Jesus did:

"And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee." (John 4: 51-54)

Notice that the moment the nobleman believed on Jesus, that his son was healed.

Notic also, that Jesus did more for the father than he had asked.

Recall that in another Gospel account, the synagogue leader Jairus compelled Jesus to come to his house to heal his daughter:

"Behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples." (Matthew 9: 18-19)

In the previous chapter of Matthew's Gospel, the centurion demonstrated greater faith:

"And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." (Matthew 8:7-8)

In the Gospel of John, the nobleman wanted Jesus to come to his home.

Jesus did more--he healed his daughter right then and there, and despite his fear of losing his reputation or his initial unbelief!

Whatever your need is, look at Jesus, not yourself, and believe Him to come through for you in whatever need:

And watch Him provide further than you had ever asked!

"He that spared not 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)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How Ruth Was Obedient: She Trusted in God's Favor

Ruth had everything going against her:

She was a woman.
She was a widow.
She was a Moabite, one of a select number of races cursed by God, and not open to receiving the blessings of God or entering the congregation of the Israelites until the 10th generation
She had no prospects or property
She had no family other than her mother-in-law, who had become embittered from great loss.

Yet instead of looking at what she did not have, she looked to Him who has everything:

"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" (Ruth 1:16)

Ruth had very little idea how good God would be to her!

"And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. 2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace." (Ruth 2: 1-2)

Notice that Ruth does not know about Boaz, but her loving God did!

"And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech." (Ruth 2:3)

Notice it says "her hap." She wasn't planning where to go. She had no idea that this field belong to any kind of a kinsman-redeemer.

As a Moabite, she would have no knowledge a "kinsman-redeemer" or what he is (would be?) in the first place.

Then Boaz, his kinsman-redeemer, and a picture of our Lord Jesus, said to Ruth:

"The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." (Ruth 2:12)

What was Ruth's work?

Ruth and Boaz (Credit: Walking Together Ministries)



She believed in a God in whose eyes she would find favor!

Consider what Jesus, our heavenly Kinsman-Redeemer, to the Israelites of His day:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

Today, we need to believe that because we believe in Jesus, we can trust that He covers for us, and will provide for us in every way, and exceed our asking!

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20)

Consider also that under the New Covenant, we are called on to believe Him!

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not Just Redemption, but Fulfillment in Christ Jesus

"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)

In the Bible, references to God leading the Israelites out of Egypt speak of Christ's redemption for everyone of us at the Cross.

Jesus was the Angel of the Lord who lead them out.

He is the pillar of fire and the pillar of clouds which protected the Israelites out of the land of bondage to the Promised Land.



Notice what the Psalmist connects with redemption:

"Open your mouths wide. I will fill you up."

Salvation is more than deliverance from death.

Salvation is more than being saved from hell and going to heaven

It's about God blessings  us spirit, soul, and body:

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

And

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

Remember. The Promised Land was a real place on this earth, not some far away kingdom.

Indeed we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, not the earth (Philippians 3:20), but He intends to prosper us here on earth in the meantime!

"He that spared not 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)



and

"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men." (Psalm 115:16)

We receive all things in Him, and our loving Father wants us to receive all things from Him!

Don't limit God's grace and blessings!

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:" (Psalm 103:2)

Light Came First, and The Darkness Cannot Overcome It

"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:5)

Five is the number of grace.

Let us never forget that even when sin increases, God's grace super-duper abounds (Romans 5:20)

Notice that in the beginning, it was dark and without form before God:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2)

God created the heaven and the earth--then it was without form and void.

Let's never forget that there can be no darkness without God first having created or restored something,

God always comes first.

Light has already been there.



God the Father invited His Son to come: "Let there be light."

Notice that he did not "make" the light, nor did He create it.

The Light was always with the Father at the beginning of beginnings:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

And Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12)

He has overcome the darkness, just as He was before all things with His Father, and the darkness could not last.

Rest in Jesus, the Light of your world, and know that the darkness cannot overcome you!




Sunday, January 8, 2017

Grow in Grace not Just Knowledge of the Lord Jesus

This is a new thought of sorts, if there ever was one!

I had been reading, hearing, and learning from pastors and preachers for the longest time -- you need to know the Lord, know about Him, read up and see more of Him.

Yet what did Peter exhort to His readers?

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

We are called to grow in grace first.

We need to see more of how much we have been forgiven, and how much He has blessed us!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" (Ephesians 1: 3-4)

and there's more:

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," (Ephesians 1:17-19)



We need to see how much He has blessed us, how great is His goodness toward us!

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Psalm 34:8)

and

"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)

Let us not forget that Grace is a Person, anyway! When we learn more about the abundant, unmerited favor our Jesus, we are learning about Him!

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

Bringing Every Thought into Captivity to His Obedience

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Corinthians 10:5)

We are not called to bring our thoughts into obedience to God's law.

No one can keep God's law:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

and

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

It's not about bringing out thoughts into captivity to Christ, or trying to tie everything to Him.

We are to settle every dispute and attack against our minds because of Christ's obedience!

What is this "obedience" specifically referenced by Paul?



"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)

We are to rest in the truth that all our sins are put away because of Christ's obedience to His Father at the Cross.

Any fears about the future are put away at the Cross, because Jesus shed His blood and enacted the New and everlasting covenant:

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:28)

Here are the full elements of the New Covenant:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)