Thursday, August 15, 2019

Peter Wanted to Build Tabernacles -- Jesus is Our Tabernacle

"Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." (Matthew 17:4)

Peter wanted to put Moses, Elijah, and Jesus on the same plane.

The Law-Giver and the Law-Restorer, however, do not compare with the one the Law-Writer, and the Law-Fulfiller, Jesus!

God the Father responded to this unthinking suggestion from Peter:

"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." (Matthew 17:5)



Not the Law, not the Prophets, but the Man and the Glory Jesus Christ -- We are called to hear Him!

And what was the first thing that Jesus said after His transfiguration?

"Arise, and be not afraid." (Matthew 17:7)

This point is really touching, because the very "arise" is literally "be risen."

Jesus brought them up!

While so many of us want to do something for Jesus, like Peter who wanted to build tabernacles, the truth is that Jesus wants to serve us.

In fact, He came to tabernacle over us!

John writes:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, ) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)



"Dwelt among us" is literally "tabernacled among us."

Jesus is our covering, and He wants to dwell with us.

For those who believe on Him, He also dwells within us!

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." (John 15:4)

and then

" For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Jesus is our tabernacle. Let Him cover you. Let Him protect you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

God Mourns Even More When the Evil Perish

"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11)



Throughout the Bible, in the Old Testament and certainly in the New, God is presented as one who is slow to anger:

"The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." (Psalm 145:8)

God does not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked, of the evil people in the world who defy His love and reject His grace.



"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

There is great sorrow in the destruction of His creation, who reject His will, who spurn his love.

The contrast cannot be better seen than in David's response to the death of two sons.

The first, born out of wedlock to Bathsheba, begins with David's determined prayers to for his young life:

"And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. 16David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.  ...  (2 Samuel 12: 15-16

Despite his most fervent prayers, the baby died. David learned that his child had died, and this is how he responded:

"20Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat." (2 Samuel 12:20)

Unsurprisingly, his servants were surprised at his calm, restored demeanor.

David answered:

"22And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23)

Even though David had fasted, prayed, begged for God to deliver his child, and even though God ultimately did not restore the child but allowed the child to die, David could be restored to a sense of peace. Why? "I shall go to him."

David knew that he would see his son again.

But what about with the death of Absalom?

This son, who had betrayed, slandered, and rebelled against his own father, enough that he would have happily slayed him in the fields of battle, the same son who would rape David's concubines before all the nation of Israel; iof this same son David would say:

"Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom." (2 Samuel 18:5)

Such grace David had accorded to his son, who did not deserve it in the least.

When he learned of his death, at the hands of the very mighty men to whom he had order not to kill his son, David mourned with great outcry:

"33And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Samuel 18:33)

The mourning was loud, unrelenting for David. Why? Because his son was not only dead, but lost forever, damned. Such a loss could never be recovered.

Indeed, our Beloved Jesus died for all the sins of the world (1 John 2:1-2).

He died for us while we were still sinners, lost creatures who did not know where we had come from, nor who realized how much God so loved us (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:11).

God mourns when the evil perish, for they, part of His glorious creation, will never be able to repent.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Jesus Desires Us!

"I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." (Songs 7:10)



Many Christians know "God loves me."

But do you really know?

Paul never claimed to have claimed a full understanding of God's love for him.

He deliberately corrects himself in a number of his epistles.

Consider this example:

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4:9)

It's not about knowing God, but rather about knowing that He knows you!

Check out what Paul had written prior in the same epistle:

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

Notice that the Son, Jesus gave Himself for Paul, and in turn He gave Himself for us.

Yes, indeed, we belong to Jesus, those who believe on Him, and He desires us!

He longs for us! He has set His love on us.

This revelation is part of the crucial growing in grace, growing in knowledge of the LORD!

Paul wisely prayed this fundamental understanding for all of us!



"14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Make this prayer your prayer today! Jesus desires you!

Monday, August 12, 2019

God Doesn't Just Pardon, He Abundantly Pardons

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

This is one powerful passage!



Many of us, even those who are saved, seem to think that God is stingy when it comes to grace.

He forgives us a few times, but then when we cross that line of transgressing against Him, then He's going to whack us!

But the verse makes it clear that God keeps showing favor, blessings, pardon upon us.

The original Hebrew for "abundantly pardon" includes the word "rabah"

The word means "very much". but it also means "multiply".

He pardons on top of pardoning!

Here's the breakdown of the word in Strong's Concordance:

Strong's Concordance
rabah: multiply
Original Word: רָבָה
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: rabah
Phonetic Spelling: (raw-baw')
Definition: to be or become much, many or great

Here is the first mention of the word in the Bible:

"And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." (Genesis 1:22)

The word "multiply" in the above verse, both times, is "rabah."

The last mention of "rabah" in the Old Testament occurs below:

"I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased." (Zechariah 10:8)

Just like in the first mention of the verb, "rabah" appears twice as "increase".

Isn't that like our wonderful, loving Father?

He does not just pardon, but His pardoning increases, multiplies!

And why? Because of everything that Jesus did for us at the Cross!

This verse provides fully how God's grace multiplies in our lives, even when we sin, fall, fail:

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" (Romans 5:20)

God doesn't just pardon ... He abundantly pardons!

The Youngs Literal Translation brings it out beautifully!

"Forsake doth the wicked his way, And the man of iniquity his thoughts, And he returneth to Jehovah, and He pitieth him, And unto our God for He multiplieth to pardon."


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Why Do We Face Trials? So That The World Can See His Spirit in Us

"And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?" (Genesis 41:38)

Joseph went through untold, incredible trials.

His brothers betrayed him.

They sold him into slavery.

He was stripped naked and sold as a slave to Potiphar

Yet through all the trials, from the outset, the Lord was with Joseph, and everything he touched prospered. (Genesis 39:2)

Potiphar made Joseph lord of his house, so that Potiphar was only aware of the food in front of him. Then Potiphar's wife made perverse designs on Joseph. He righteously refused, and yet was punished as though he had done her wrong.

In the king's prison, Joseph continued to receive favor:

"But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison." (Genesis 39:21)

From the prison, he interpreted dreams, and the butler who was restored forgot to tell Pharoah and others about his trial.

Then came the moment, two years later, when the butler remembered Joseph, not just a dreamer now but an interpreter of dreams, and brought his fame to Pharoah's attention.

Pharoah summoned Joseph, who interpreted Pharoah's dreams and advised him about how to deal with the coming famine upon the earth.

And there, Pharoah then declared: "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is."

Of himself, Joseph was nothing, and he even declared that he himself did not interpret dreams:

"And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace." (Genesis 41:16)

Not just the answer ot the dreams, Joseph gave Pharoah an answer of Shalom, of consummate peace.

Joseph had experienced God's favor in spite of all the hardships, hardships which no one could have overcome on their own in their own efforts.

It was clear that God had been with Joseph, and this witness was unmistakable for Pharoah, that he could declare: "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?"

Are you going through trials now? Are you facing challenges which are not of your making? Have you been wronged, and therefore you are suffering accordingly?

Realize that God is setting you up. He is positioning you so that the world will know that God is with you, that He is blessing you. In fact, you cannot help but be blessed and be a blessing, because Christ is in you, your hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)

Don't feel lost or abandoned because of trials you face now. Now that He is working in you so that the world can see His spirit in you.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

For Victory Over Sexual Immorality, Let the Love of the Father Inside You

Sexual immorality is a problem in the world, and even in the Body of Christ.

This matter needs to be confronted with the grace and truth of Christ Jesus.

Interestingly enough, Pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore released the entire video for one of his sermons:




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vx3AgKmlQE

I have watched this video a few times. I wanted to break free of internal sexual demands.

The sexual issues I struggled with, however, were not taken care of very well. They did not go away, as I had hoped they would, from watching the particular sermon above. It's interesting, too, because in this sermon I find that the pastor does not stress the power and glory of God's grace to help us all overcome these failings which all of us fall into.

I suppose that it is just as well that I differ with Pastor Prince on this matter. No one should be so keenly attached to one pastor and everything that he preaches. All of us have to grow in grace, even those who preach God's Word, especially those who preach God's Word quite well.

Pastor Joseph Prince makes a lot of comparisons and discusses sexual dynamics. He praises women and denigrates men sometimes--jokingly, of course, but sometimes it irritates me.

He also stesses extensively that single people should seek the blessing of getting married. That really bothers me--and that imposition is not scriptural. There is no reason for anyone to feel inadequate, lacking, or "less than" if they remain single.

Paul the Apostle said it best:

"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." (1 Corinthians 7:1)

and also

"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." (1 Corinthians 7:27)

It's beautiful to be celibate. It is beautiful to be single! I wish that Pastor Prince and other ministers around the world understood this revelation. I am not sure why so many do not convey this truth.

At any rate ...

In his sermon about Victory Over Sexual Immorality, he does not talk about "The Love of the Father." Yet those who struggle with temptations: pornography, masturbation (self-starting), fornication, multiple partners, adultery--fall into one of the three categories outlined by John the Beloved:

"15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:15-17)

They are indulged, engaged in "lust of the flesh". They go for the lust of the eyes, and they have this pride of life, to feel like big shots in a world full of small people seeking to make others smaller.

Also, Pastor Prince's preaching in the above, to abstain from sexual immorality, stresses the following points:

1. Restraining yourself for sexual pleasure in the confines of marriage, which is more pleasurable
2. Avoiding fornication will make you smarter and sharper
3. Refraining from sexual immorality will give you greater spiritual expression --- Here, Pastor Prince wisely, wonderfully points out that Joseph, the son of Jacob and savior of his brethren and the Israelite nation, started interpreting his dreams after he refused Potiphar's wife and her perverse advances.

These are all great points.

However, these incentives do not entice or motivate people to abstain from fleshly lusts. If people think they can't have something better, they will settle for what is available. 

Let's return to what John the Beloved, the Disciple whom Jesus Loved, had to say in his First Epistle.

Why do people seek the lust of the flesh?

"The lover of the Father is not in him."

It's worth pointing out that Joseph the patriarch knew his Father's love--both his earthly as well as his heavenly Father.

He experienced God's favor throughout his life, especially when he was reduced to nothing, stripped naked, and sold into slavery:

"1And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmealites, which had brought him down thither. 2And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian." (Genesis 39:1-2)

Now that's AWESOME! That is God's love!

Joseph knew and believed in God's love for him.

Therefore, he could reject Potiphar's wife:

"There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)

God the Father was blessing and fulfilling Joseph in so many ways long before all of this!

God was good to Joseph! 

God was blessing Joseph, watching out for him the whole time!

It's the goodness of God, the grace of God that leads us more into His holiness, and away from the world's sinfulness:

"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" (Titus 2:11-12)

This is the grace that sent God's Son to die for us, to be punished for all our sins, to take us from death to life, His life (Colossians 3:4)

Grace, God's unmerited favor helps us to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts"!

When we know the love of the Father, when we allow His love to overflow into us, all that dead, boring, ugly, destructive stuff falls away.

Imagine what would happen if we started telling young people: "Daddy God is madly in love with you. He is madly in love with you, declaring your righteous, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:3-6)

He is in love with you, even if you engage in some strange sexual perversities. The more that you see how much he warmly, richly loves you--the less you will engage in other perversions, whether sexual or otherwise.

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

When boys know that they are prized and loved by their Heavenly father, they won't try to find that love and acceptance in one-night stands. The same is true for girls.

They need to know the love of the Father, and they need to know that that warm, rich, satisfying love is already waiting for them. They just need to allow that love in!

Pastor Prince's most important revelation in the midst of these very personal, difficult, painfully intimate struggles?

"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)

and

"10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (1 Timothy 6:10-11)

So what is going on for those caught in a cycle of sexual sin?

Pastor Prince delivers the problem perfectly!



If you do fail?


"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1)

There is no condemnation! Jesus took all the condemnation for us! Therefore, even when we sin, fall, or fail, God's love does not go away! His grace never stops flowing into our lives. When we start relying on our efforts--whether to fulfill lusts or to abstain--we are set free!

No condemnation! We are accepted, fully loved and embraced in the Beloved!

There you have it.

The more that people understand how loved they are by God, why would they settle for the petty, temporal trash of one-night stands, empty sexual escapades, and shameful loss?

Final Reflection

The answer to sexual morality is not found in telling young people "Wait for marriage. It will be worth it." That does not work.

Why do these lusts in our flesh continue to tug at us, draq us into their net, whether we are young or old?

We do not know the Love of the Father. We have not allowed the Father's love into us.

Why do we not know the love of the Father?

We do not understand the Finished Work of the Son.

The answer to sexual immorality is divine intimacy. The answer to unhealthy desires is to know how much God the Father desires you.

If you feel like you are lacking something, look and see how much you Daddy God supplies to you--freely! (Romans 8:32)

If you think that your sins, your lusts and pride have separated you from the Father, consider that nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39)

Don't focus on overcoming the sin. Be overcome by the Father's love for you!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Not Sexual Needs, But the Need for God's Unconditional, Everlasting Love

Psychiatrists often talk to patients about their "Sexual needs."

Something is really wrong here.

People do not need to have sex. Men and women can live highly functional, fulfilling lives without jumping on someone.

Of all the creatures on earth, human beings can choose not to have sex. They can refrain from reproducing.

Man's greatest need is unconditional love. Not sex, but love!

Consider what John said to his readers in His First Epistle:



"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

What is of the world, according to John?

16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:16-17)

What the world has to offer, the pleasures, the contentments which we seek from the world, are simply not enough!

They don't last. We need something eternal, for that is what we were made for!

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world [lit. eternity] in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

So, we need God's eternal LOVE!

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Jeremiah 31:3)

and

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

and therefore:

"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Now, what is God's love, precisely? How does the Bible define it?



"9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)

Love is about God sending his Beloved Son to the world. We live because of Him, and we love through Him!

Then the definition becomes clearer:

"10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

God sent His Son to be our Mercy Seat, where our sins are paid for forever!

Because of Jesus' Finished Work on the Cross, we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:21)

This righteousness, this blessed status of being fully and forever justified before God, means that we can know and believe in God's love for us.

Because of this righteousness, we can rest assured that God will never be made at us again (Isaiah 54:9)

This is what man needs.

He does not have sexual needs. He needs unconditional love, and that love can only be provided by God through His Son JESUS!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Our Flesh Does Not Block Us From the Love of the Father

The matter of "sin in the flesh" is hard for people to accept, even Christians.

Whether we like it or not, sin still abides in everyone, even in those who are saved.

Now, Jesus has redeemed us in our spirit.

Our minds still need to be renewed to the truth of God's Word:

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

In our bodies, there still abides sin in the flesh.

Thankfully, Christ Jesus dealt with this problem within us handily at the Cross:

"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8:1-3)



Jesus came in the likeness of sin flesh. He had no sin in His flesh, no sin in Him at all:

"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5)

Let's never forget: Jesus, the Son of God, was--IS--sinless. He cannot sin, He could not sin while on earth during His earthly minister, and by His death He has put away sin forever!

Now, this same wonderful Jesus, He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. God the Father sent His Beloved Son to take on His full wrath against sin, and thus in Jesus' perfect, sinless body---condemned sin in the flesh!

So, let's get real, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Even when you have been saved, you will still sense these negative tendencies. You may find yourself next to a guard rail near a cliff, and something in you says "Jump off!"

You may find yourself feelings of lust around people. Like me, you may find yourself remembering bad things that bad people have done to you, and you get MAD!

Hey, it's part of the Christian walk--we are called to rest and recognize that those feelings, bare manifestations of "sin in the flesh" have all been condemned.

Now comes more that I can share with you.

I struggled with the negative feelings of past hurts. Those sentiments would well up inside of me. Just today, I was thinking about--all of a sudden, mind you--these painful sentiments.

Today, I recognize how much bondage I found myself in. I was convinced that the only way that God could work through me was that I had to be free, to be rid of these painful feelings, the rush of anger, the rush of lusts--I had to get rid of them.

THAT'S NOT TRUE!

Our flesh--my flesh--does not block me from my Father. NOT AT ALL!

YES! YES! YES!

I still remember Pastor Prince rejoicing when he shared this in his sermon:

Image result for "Joseph Prince" "God has condemned sin in the flesh"
"YES! I LOVE MY JOB!"

For the longest time, I feared bad sentiments suddenly rising up in my mind, in my body.

I would struggle so hard against them, whether to stop bad thoughts, or bad feelings.

When I would get really angry about someone or something, this feeling that I had to "do something" about it was just so strong, that it just overwhelmed me.

Whenever I felt bad, felt sad, felt guilty, felt anything, I felt that I had to get rid of that feeling.

It took me so long, and the revelations have gotten deeper, I realize now that all of that was merely "sin in the flesh", all of which has been condemned at the Cross!

Nothing can separate me from my Father. His love is real, robust, roundabout, and nothing can break it away from me. Nothing.

Paul the Apostle could not have made it clearer:



"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

For the longest time, I was looking at myself, my skin, my sin, the struggles within.



All of that is gone, useless, unimportant today. I know that my Daddy loves me, and that He will never leave me nor forsake me! (Hebrews 13:5)

I do not have to worry about doing something about thoughts and feelings that bother me, because His love for me, His blessings in and around me have nothing to do with me.

THANK YOU, JESUS!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Sacrifce for God? He Sacrificed for Us!

Here are the full remarks from Bishop Macedo regarding his view that we must sacrifice for God, that we must give things up for Him.

Those who believe that it is possible to be a Christian and not sacrifice are highly mistaken. From Genesis to Revelation, sacrifice is the foundation of Christian life as well as the foundation of walking with God. However, many religious people who have their hearts set on the gold and not the Altar use biblical passages out of context to affirm that we should not sacrifice. But each of these passages, in their proper context, reinforce the need for sacrifice. 

I would ask the Bishop to produce the examples of this sacrifice.

When I look at the Word, I do not see people who give up something, as much as they realize their need to receive from Him.

Adam certainly did not sacrifice anything. He received all things, especially since he was the last creation. This is essential, because God did not make man to live in a void, where there was no earth to reign over. Also, he was created last in order to realize that everything was given to him to enjoy, and also so that he could not take credit for anything that was in his life.

Adam could only receive.

There's the example of Abram, who would leave country, kith, and kin to a new country.

But that was not a sacrifice in the final sense, since God wanted to give him so much more!

"1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

"2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

"3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3)

The Bishop does provide an example:

Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15.22

Obedience, not a burnt sacrifice. That says it all, doesn't it?

Then the Bishop continues:

Do you know why God is more pleased with obedience than sacrifice? Because obedience is a true sacrifice. There is nothing tougher for man to do than deny the will to do things his way. It pains him more than having to surrender something of value.

It's not hard to deny your will when God's will is so much better.

And what is God's will, anyway?

"Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." (Hebrews 10:9)



It's all about living under grace, no longer living under law!

I am all for receiving more and more of God's grace!

Consider John's prayer, and God's heartbeat, for all of us:

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

Jesus outlined clearly what is the work that He wants us to work, too:

"28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:28-29)

Man wants to do, but the Gospel is all about "Done."

Man’s will is what drives him. The heart shows him the way to go, and he goes. He depends on his will to make decisions. People are so used to living by their desires that many can’t even imagine how to do things differently.

We have gone from "Sacrifice" to "surrender". This makes sense, but most people think of sacrifice as something that we are doing for God.

To surrender your will to do the will of God is to recognize that He knows much more than you could ever know.

There is no way for God to be the Lord of someone that is still the lord of himself. You cannot serve two masters. When you obey God, you disobey yourself. And when you obey yourself, you disobey God. What pleases God bores the heart. There is no middle ground. God does not share His throne with anyone.

This kind of discussion is a little frustrating, too. All this focus on "self-denial" and "self-disregard" is still caught up in .... self!

We are called to look at Jesus, to set our hearts on Him!

"1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4)

Set your thoughts, your feelings on Christ Jesus. We have risen with Him, and we are seated together with God our Father in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).

Why are you looking at yourself! Look at Him who has been from the beginning! (1 John 2:13)

By the way, I stopped being lord of myself when I accepted His life.

For this reason, sacrifice is necessary. It removes our will from the throne and gives control of our lives to God. Sacrifice puts things in their proper place. To Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. To God the things that are God’s.

Again, the whole discussion between sacrifice and surrender is a little muddled. Most people think of sacrifice as something that you and I must give up. Giving in is easy when you know who the Giver is!

Giving is easy when you know that you have received all things from the Giver, too.

When you surrender your life to God, you surrender everything. If you haven’t surrendered everything, you haven’t surrendered your life.

One more time: since we as human beings dead in Adam have nothing of ourselves anyway, this idea of "surrender everything" just rings hollow.

Sacrifice for God? He sacrificed everything for us!

"5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)

and

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12)


Sacrifice for God? He sacrificed for us!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Why God Does Not Answer The Prayer to "Pray the Gay (Or Any Other Sin) Away"

I have listened to a number of compelling accounts from people who struggled with same-sex desires and other temptations. They often mention that would pray to God to "take the gay away". They wanted those feelings removed from them. They didn't want to struggle with same-sex desires and temptations.

And yet, those feelings remained, despite their best efforts to put them away from them.

This is a concern. God wants to us to have life and that more abundantly, does He not?

Why does He not take away these desires?

The fact is that every person in the world, on the earth, has been and will be born in sin, born dead in their trespasses (Ephesians 2:1)

When we are born again, we still have sin in the flesh. Paul the Apostle writes:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." (Romans 7:18)



The more that Paul wants to do good, the more that bad, that sin manifests itself:

"19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." (Romans 7:19-20)

Notice that Paul writes that this sin principle is in his flesh.

When we are born again, our spirit is brought back to life, and our minds are slowly renewed, but we still inhabit this body, which has sin in it.

When Jesus died on the Cross, our sins were all paid for, but also sin in the flesh was condemned!

"3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8:3)

Now, sin has not be removed from us, for we are still in the flesh, that is in our earthen bodies.

Our bodies will be redeemed one day:

"20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Philippians 3:20-21)

We are citizens of heaven, but we still reside in these earthen bodies. One day, there will be the full redemption of our bodies:

"53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:53-54)

Now, let's look at this "pray the gay away" plea from those who still struggle.

Let's face it. If God were to "take the gay away", we would have to be taken off the earth, taken home. We would have to be fully liberated from our flesh, and that means "Dead."

Really, we should thank God that He does not answer our prayers when we pray "God, take away my temper problem", or "God, please remove these lustful feelings from me."

We have sin in our flesh, but it has been condemned. We are called to identify with Christ Jesus, for we have received His standing, His life!

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)



He is our life! Why look at our flesh and ask God to remove the sin in our flesh?

Let's consider the full consequence of God answering this prayer: God woiuld have to remove us from this earth. Even if we would receive our newly-redeemed body later on, we would become literally no earthly good. God wants to minister to the world through us, by the power of His Holy Spirit. The light affliction of sin in our flesh is nothing compared with the glory of God's grace working in our lives, granting us power to reign in life and reign over sin, even in our flesh.

God wants to save more of His creation, and He chooses to do so through us! Imagine if God had answered our prayers, and we would be removed from the earth for good. How sad that would be.

The second response to this "Pray the Gay Away" problem.

When we face a problem, a challenge, a struggle, God's way is not to take something away, but to add something more, something better.

Consider the Israelites, when they prayed for help following the snakebites they suffered in the wildnerness, because the complained about God's manna from heaven:

"7Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us." (Numbers 21:7)

Notice that after they were bitten by the fiery serpents, the Israelites begged Moses to take away the snakes. But think about it--taking away the snakes would not have healed them from the poison running their bodies.

Taking away the problem would not have helped them, who would not have set them free. 

Read what happened next:

"And Moses prayed for the people. 8And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21:7-9)

Consider this account during the ministry of Elisha the Prophet:

"38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.

40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.

41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot." (2 Kings 4:38-41)

Notice that one of the prophets in training but a wild (literally, glittering) vine into the pot of food, which ruined it.

Elisha did not fix this problem by taking out the glittering vine, but by putting meal, or fine flour into the pot. The fine flour speaks of our Lord Jesus! Allow more of Jesus into your situation. 

Consider also Jesus' High Priestly prayer before His death on the Cross:

"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." (John 17:15)

God wants us to rule in the midst of our enemies, whether internal or external (Psalm 110:2), and we reign in His Life! (Romans 5:17)

The answer our problems, our challenges, the sin in our flesh is not "Take away the problem."

The answer is "Show me more of the Cross. Explain to me further what Jesus has done and is doing for me and in me."

In other words, as Peter wrote to his fellow believers:

"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)

It's not about trying to remove something bad, but to keep receiving more of His favor, more of God's grace in our lives.

We don't need God to take away the sinful desires in our flesh. We need to see more of Jesus taking care of us, and recognize that the sins, the lustful feelings, the bankrupted thoughts have all been paid for and condemned. They are no longer part of us!

Consider what Paul writes to the Romans:

"11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:11)

and

"14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14)

We are not striving in our efforts, but living by His grace, His favor, His love!

Final Reflection

Recently, I spoke with another man who was struggling with these issues. He was very heartful about breaking free, and he even told me that he had been praying for a long time to be set free from these same-sex desires.

I told him plainly that if God answered that prayer, He would have to take him home. Then I told him that the sin in our flesh has been condemned, and that therefore there is no further reason to pray that prayer. Why identify with something that is not you?

That was one of the most moving times I had in ministering to a fellow brother in Christ. I thank God that He worked with me at great length through all those trying times. We are not separated from God when sin in our flesh flares up. Let's us rather recognize that those sins are condemned, they are no longer part of who we are.

We are now in Christ, and so let us grow in grace and reign with Him! Let's set our affections abovm at the Father's right hand -- for that is where we are now!

Monday, August 5, 2019

It's About The Love of the FATHER (Not Husband, Friend, or Neighbor)

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)



I have been learning to see Jesus, the beautiful Son of God, as my husband, too.

And yes, we are married to Christ. The Holy Spirit has joined us and made us one with Him.

Yet we will still struggle in our flesh, we will still look at the world as though it can supply whatever we need if we neglect the love that is truly needed in us.

John did not write about "The love of the Husband", or "The Love of the Lover."

He wrote about "the love of the Father".

Jesus came to reveal that name above all other names to us.

"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17)

What is the difference between the Love of the Father, and not the Love of Jesus as Husband, Lover, etc.?

First of all, it was God the Father's love for us that sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us and to live through us:

"9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10)

And of course:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

It's the Love of the Father which made all other things come to pass. It was God the FATHER's idea to send His Son to die for us, to rise again on our behalf, and to live through us.

We have been adopted, brought into new standing before God!

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)

and also

"6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." (Galatians 4:6-7)

It's all about the Spirit of Sonship. God sent His Son, so that we could be His sons, too!

"12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:12)

Yes, Christ is our brother, and He is also our husband.

Yet the love that delivers us from the love of the world is the love of the FATHER!


Sunday, August 4, 2019

For Victory Over Sexual Immorality, Let the Love of the Father Inside You

The topic of sexual morality and immorality can be very trying, painful, difficult to touch.

And yet God's Word, His Beloved Wisdom can help us oin this!

Interestingly enough, Pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore released the entire video for one of his sermons on this very issue:




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vx3AgKmlQE

I have watched this video a few times. I wanted to break free of internal sexual demands.

The sexual issues I struggled with, however, were not taken care of very well. They did not go away, as I had hoped they would, from watching the particular sermon above. It's interesting, too, because in this sermon I find that the pastor does not stress the power and glory of God's grace to help us all overcome these failings which all of us fall into.

I suppose that it is just as well that I differ with Pastor Prince on this matter. No one should be so keenly attached to one pastor and everything that he preaches. All of us have to grow in grace, even those who preach God's Word, and who do so quite well.

Pastor Joseph Prince makes a lot of comparisons and discusses sexual dynamics. He praises women and denigrates men sometimes--jokingly, of course, but sometimes it irritates me.

He also stesses extensively that single people should seek the blessing of getting married. That really bothers me--and that imposition is not scriptural. There is no reason for anyone to feel inadequate, lacking, or "less than" if they remain single.

Paul the Apostle said it best:

"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman." (1 Corinthians 7:1)

and also

"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." (1 Corinthians 7:27)

It's beautiful to be celibate. It is beautiful to be single! I wish that Pastor Prince and other ministers around the world understood this revelation. I am not sure why so many do not convey this truth.

At any rate ...

In his sermon about Victory Over Sexual Immorality, he does not talk about "The Love of the Father." Yet those who struggle with temptations: pornography, masturbation (self-starting), fornication, multiple partners, adultery--fall into one of the three categories outlined by John the Beloved:

"15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:15-17)

They are indulged, engaged in "lust of the flesh". They go for the lust of the eyes, and they have this pride of life, to feel like big shots in a world full of small people seeking to make others smaller.

Also, Pastor Prince's preaching in the above, to abstain from sexual immorality, stresses the following points:

1. Restraining yourself for sexual pleasure in the confines of marriage, which is more pleasurable
2. Avoiding fornication will make you smarter and sharper
3. Refraining from sexual immorality will give you greater spiritual expression --- Here, Pastor Prince wisely, wonderfully points out that Joseph, the son of Jacob and savior of his brethren and the Israelite nation, started interpreting his dreams after he refused Potiphar's wife and her perverse advances.

These are all great points.

However, these incentives do not entice or motivate people to abstain from fleshly lusts. If people think they can't have something better, they will settle for what is available. 

Let's return to what John the Beloved, the Disciple whom Jesus Loved, had to say in his First Epistle.

Why do people seek the lust of the flesh?

"The lover of the Father is not in him."

It's worth pointing out that Joseph the patriarch knew his Father's love--both his earthly as well as his heavenly Father.

He experienced God's favor throughout his life, especially when he was reduced to nothing, stripped naked, and sold into slavery:

"1And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmealites, which had brought him down thither. 2And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian." (Genesis 39:1-2)

Now that's AWESOME! That is love!

Joseph knew and believed in God's love for him.

Therefore, he could reject Potiphar's wife:

"There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)

God the Father was blessing and fulfilling Joseph in so many ways long before all of this!

God was good to Joseph! 

God was blessing Joseph, watching out for him the whole time!

It's the goodness of God, the grace of God that leads us more into His holiness, and away from the world's sinfulness:

"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" (Titus 2:11-12)

Grace, God's unmerited favor helps us to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts"!

When we know the love of the Father, when we allow His love into us, all that dead, boring, ugly, destructive stuff falls away.

Imagine what would happen if we started telling young people: "Daddy God is madly in love with you. He is madly in love with you, declaring your righteous, blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:3-6)

He is in love with you, even if you engage in some strange sexual perversities. The more that you see how much he warmly, richly loves you--the less you will engage in other perversions, whether sexual or otherwise.

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

When boys know that they are prized and loved by their Heavenly father, they won't try to find that love and acceptance in one-night stands. The same is true for girls.

They need to know the love of the Father, and they need to know that that warm, rich, satisfying love is already waiting for them. They just need to allow that love in!

Pastor Prince's most important revelation in the midst of these very personal, difficult, painfully intimate struggles?

"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)

and

"10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (1 Timothy 6:10-11)

So what is going on for those caught in a cycle of sexual sin?

Pastor Prince delivers the problem perfectly!



If you do fail?


"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1)

There is no condemnation! God's love does not go away! His grace never stops flowing into our lives. When we start relying on our efforts--whether to fulfill lusts or to abstain--we are set free!

No condemnation -- we are accepted, fully loved and embraced in the Beloved!

There you have it.

The more that people understand how loved they are by God, why would they settle for the petty, temporal trash of one-night stands, empty sexual escapades, and shameful loss?

Final Reflection

The answer to sexual morality is not found in telling young people "Wait for marriage. It will be worth it." That does not work.

Why do these lusts in our flesh continue to tug at us, draq us into their net, whether we are young or old?

We do not know the Love of the Father. We have not allowed the Father's love into us.

Why do we not know the love of the Father?

We do not understand the Finished Work of the Son.

The answer to sexual immorality is divine intimacy. The answer to unhealthy desires is to know how much God the Father desires you.

If you feel like you are lacking something, look and see how much you Daddy God supplies to you--freely! (Romans 8:32)

If you think that your sins, your lusts and pride have separated you from the Father, consider that nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39)

Don't focus on overcoming the sin. Be overcome by the Father's love for you!



Jesus Sacrificed for Us -- Our Only "Sacrifice" is Praise, and To Keep Receiving From Him

This statement from Bishop Macedo is making the rounds on social media.

I have printed the first part of his statement below:

Those who believe that it is possible to be a Christian and not sacrifice are highly mistaken. From Genesis to Revelation, sacrifice is the foundation of Christian life as well as the foundation of walking with God. However, many religious people who have their hearts set on the gold and not the Altar use biblical passages out of context to affirm that we should not sacrifice. But each of these passages, in their proper context, reinforce the need for sacrifice. For example:

I am going to comment on the surface about this statement: "Christians need to sacrifice, give their lives to God."

First of all, we do not really have lives to give God.

We are the ones who need life.

Jesus did not mince words on our need for life:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

Jesus came that we might have life. That means we have to accept the corrolary behind it: we don't have life.

John was crystal clear on this in his First Epistle, too:

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (1 John 5:12)

When we came to Jesus, when we receive His Sonship before God as Father, we had nothing.

Consider the prodigal son when he returned to his loving Father.

He was destitute. He was reeking of pigs. He was emaciated. He had nothing. He had been reduced to nothing.

And how did the Father respond to Him?

"20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)

Is there ultimate a sacrifice that we make to God, our Loving Father?

In a sense, yes:

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." (Hebrews 13:15)



Notice that even when we offer the sacrifice of praise to God, we are doing so through Jesus!

There is nothing that we do, that we have, that we give, that we are apart of Christ Jesus.

It's time for us to give up this idea that we have the opportunity, the resources to give something to God.

He gives us everything, and in return we can only release what He has already given us.

Consider what David the Beloved King shared:

"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." (1 Chronicles 29:14)

David asked this question, too:

"What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?" (Psalm 116:12)

Here's the answer:

"I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD." (Psalm 116:13)

The answer to God's Goodness?

Say "Thank You!" and take more!

That's what pleases God, and it's hard for our human pride, our flesh. We want to "pay back", we want to have some part in giving back.

Yet the truth is that there is no other sacrifice we can offer. Let's give up this idea that we need to "sacrifice for God."

He had to offer the sacrifice for us in the first place: His Own Son!

"11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool." (Hebrews 10:11-13)

Let's stop trying to "sacrifice everything for God." In and of ourselves, we have nothing to give. Whatever we have, He gave to us first. Let us receive from Him all the more, and offer our praise for how good God our Father is!


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Jesus Calls Us to Teach All Nations, not Make Disciples

"19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)



There is a contention in Christendom over discipleship.

The truth is that we are called to sonship, more than mere "discipleship."

Yes, there is teaching, there is training, there is transforming.

All of this springs from our becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We receive the adoption of sons, we become children, sons of God, and He is our ABBA! (Romans 8:15)

Jesus did not come to be our teacher. He is our Savior.

He continues to be our Savior, the mercy seat for our sins (1 John 2:2), whose blood cleanses all our sins (1 John 1:7)

We are not called to be his fans, to be his followers.

We are invited to join His Family:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)

Jesus is the Firstborn, and we are his many brethren.

Jesus did not call for us to make disciples before He ascended into heaven. He called for us to "disciple", to teach others.

We need to teach the world that their sins are forgiven.

We need to teach them that they receive life in Christ Jesus.

We need to teach them that we are now sons of the Living God, those who believe on Jesus (John 1:12).

This is what the Great Commission is all about!

Furthermore, how does one directly "disciple" another?

By baptizing him in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There is no greater "Teaching" than to be baptized in Christ Jesus, taken from sin and death, to righteousness and eternal life!

Friday, August 2, 2019

How Do You Follow Jesus? Know His Love for You

"And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

"20Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?" (John  21:19-20)



Jesus has risen.

He is in His glorified body.

He restored Peter privately (1 Corinthians 15:5), then Jesus restored this leader of the early church publicly.

Jesus then exhorted him "Follow me."

Now, you will notice that Peter stopped looking at Jesus and started looking at John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

What was John doing? He was following Jesus!

Among some Christians, I hear a great deal of emphasis on the fact that we need to follow Jesus. They usually indicate with this statement that we need to do more for Him, that we need to strive to be like Him.

Yet we see in John, the Beloved disciple, that he simply practiced Jesus' love for him. He knew, He grew in his knowledge of Jeuss' love for him!

The very prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians, the same church which had the greatest revelation of God's love out of all the churches whom Paul had written to.

If we really want to follow Jesus, we need to practice Jesus' love for us.

The more that we understand how much He loves us, the more that we will want to be with Him, to go where He wants us to go, to do the things that He wants us to do!

Do you want to follow Jesus? Know more and more about how much He loves you!