Believe and Speak In Faith

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28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”  29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. — Mark 7:28-30 NLT

Hearing the words that Jesus had just spoken to her, it would have been understandable if this woman would have just crawled out of the room and left without receiving anything from Jesus.  But instead she suffered the humiliation and showed great humility by humbling herself before Jesus.  She told Jesus, I am not asking for the best, your leftovers will be more than sufficient to fulfill my needs.  Because of her humble response, Jesus answered her request and healed her daughter.  Is there a request in our lives that Jesus hasn’t fulfilled?   Is it possible that our “unanswered” prayers only appear to be unanswered because we refuse to humble ourselves before the Lord?   Is it possible that God can’t say “yes” because we refuse to say “yes” to His request?  Is it possible that we will only accept our preconceived notion as the answer and we miss what God is trying to do in our lives?  In this instance, Jesus first said “no” (which is an answer) but then because of her humbleness and persistence, He said “yes”.  God always answers every prayer, just because we don’t like the answer doesn’t mean He didn’t hear and answer us.  We need to be like the Phoenician woman, we need to be persistent but humble.  If we give God a good answer, He will give us a good answer.
 
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6, 7 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-21-2018

“I Am Watching”

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11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” — Jeremiah 1:11, 12 NLT

The almond tree is particularly significant in the Holy Scriptures.  It is a sign of hope because it blossoms in the middle of the winter on a leafless tree.  It reminds us that there is life even in our darkest hours.  It is connected with charity in the book of Numbers because Aaron’s rod was from an almond tree and it blossomed and brought forth fruit overnight.  Charity because the Levitical tribe lived on the gifts of the people, they had no earthly possessions.  In the original KJV, the branch was called a “rod” which symbolizes power or leadership.  In Old Testament times, the fruit of the almond tree was believed to be the external expression of the goodness that is in all of us.  Here in Jeremiah, the branch or “rod” of the almond tree is associated with God watching over His word and His people with power to perform.  It means that He will carry out His plans and nothing nor anyone can stop Him from doing so.  Our part is to spread His word among the people.  Just as Moses told Aaron to take the incense and go between the dead and the living to stop the plague, we are to take the Word and stand in the gap to stop the advance of sin.  We speak the Word and stand, God’s Word accomplishes and produces the fruit.
11 It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to,
 and it will prosper everywhere I send it. — Isaiah 55:11 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-20-2018

He’s Coming Back – Be Ready

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Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? – Matt. 24:3

Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven with His promise of returning, people have asked the question — When?  The disciples had even questioned Jesus about this before His death and resurrection.  Is when important and if so, why is it important?  If we knew for sure Jesus was coming back at the end of this month, would it make a difference? Would it cause us to be more diligent in witnessing to our family, friends and neighbors?  Would we be more committed to living a Holy lifestyle?  Would it change our priorities?  Would we gather our families around us and hold on to them tightly?  Would we mourn or rejoice?  Would we say. “even so, Lord, come quickly” or would we ask Him for a few more days to be sure our families were all saved?  If we are truly honest with ourselves, would it really make any difference?  If it would, then why doesn’t it make a difference even now?   Only the Father knows when Jesus will return and only the Father knows when each of us will leave here.  Since we don’t know either of these times, doesn’t it make sense to assume that it is today and live our lives accordingly?  Shouldn’t we live each day seeking first the Kingdom of God and trust God to take care of the rest?  If we could get to that point, then peace would overflow our hearts and life here on earth would be  “joy unspeakable and full of glory”!  Then “when” would become unimportant.


You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. — 1 Peter 1:8, 9 NKJV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-19-2018

“You Feed Them”

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35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”  

37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months .”— Mark 6:35-37a NLT

Jesus is still saying the same thing today — “You feed them”.  We are still doing the same thing the disciples did, we are asking –“With what?”  When we have a worldly view of things, we see the impossibilities, when we are focused on Jesus and see through His eyes we see the possibilities.  What an opportunity and what an honor it is for us to be asked to feed the multitudes.  This situation with the huge crowd and little resources was an opportunity for Jesus to teach the disciples.  Even though they had walked with Jesus for quite a while and had seen all the miracles that He performed, they still had not gotten the message. I am sure that if Jesus had said “tell them to sit down and I will feed them”, the disciples would have had little trouble believing that, but when He instructed them to feed the crowd, that was a completely different issue. We, like the disciples, sometimes hear the words but misunderstand our part.  Jesus needed their hands and feet to walk and hand out the food, He would provide the food.  When Jesus instructs us to do something, just obey and watch the miracle happen.  When you look at your resources, they may seem too little to accomplish the task, but there will be more than enough.  There were plenty of leftovers after everyone had eaten their fill and in the Old Testament, the widow’s cruse of oil did not run out, there was always plenty to fill the next vessel.  God’s Spirit will not run out, there will always be plenty to fill the next person. Our part is to be carriers, God is the supplier.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-18-2018

“Tell Your Family”

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19 But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” 20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. — Mark 5:19, 20 NLT

Do you remember the joy and the excitement that came into your life when you first accepted Jesus as your Savior?  Some of us felt great burdens lifted from us and immediately experienced freedom from some of our old habits.  Others just felt a peace that they had never had before.   Either way, most of us suddenly felt a great desire to tell somebody about what had just happened. Our lives were changed for the better.  It was the beginning of a journey with Jesus.  That journey has and will continue to take us through experiences and situations that will try us.   Each of these experiences will be an opportunity for us to grow closer to the Lord or a temptation for us to become bitter.  That choice is up to us.   If we choose correctly, we will find that we always come through those times a little stronger than we were before.  Our initial joy will be increased because of the victories that we have over these situations.  Those victories comes from Jesus Christ, just as our salvation came from His actions at Calvary.  Each of these experiences of overcoming temptation and suffering is another story we can use to tell people about Jesus.  They aren’t just for our benefit, they are to be shared so that others will come to know Jesus.  They are to be shared with those around us where we are right now.  It is not necessary to change your vocation.  When Jesus sent the disciples out, He instructed them to do tell others “as you go”.


 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.  — Matt. 10:7. 8 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 1017-2018

“Let It Be So”

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30 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? 31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, 32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” — Mark 4:30-32 NLT

Earlier in this chapter, Jesus had told His disciples that they were permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God.  He also stated that there would be some who would hear and refuse to believe (outsiders) and they would not be able to understand His teachings in the parables that He used (Mark 4:11,12).  So, if the disciples were permitted to understand the Kingdom of God, then so can we understand it.  Jesus told Nicodemus to enter the Kingdom that it was necessary for him to be born again.  So, we become a part of the Kingdom of God when we receive Christ as our Savior.  In doing so, we become eligible for all the benefits of that Kingdom here and now, not just in the future.  As the birds nest in the shade of the mustard tree, so we live under the umbrella of God’s protection now.  Right now, it is a spiritual Kingdom inside of us.  When Jesus comes back, He will establish a Kingdom here on earth that will encompass all of His creation and creatures except those that refuse to hear and believe (Daniel 2:44, Rev.11:15).  We are preparing to live in that Kingdom in our present life and one day that process will be completed when we are changed into immortal beings (1 Cor 15:50-53).  Jesus taught us to pray “may Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven”.   So, while we are preparing for eternity, we live with the assurance that the hope that we have will one day be fulfilled. And it will be so — His will “will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  That is why we end our prayers with “Amen” which means “let it be so”.   Partially now and completely in the future.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-16-2018

Divine Assignments

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47 All the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle and for its transportation 48 numbered 8,580. 49 When their names were recorded, as the Lord had commanded through Moses, each man was assigned his task and told what to carry. — Numbers 4:47-49 NLT

When it was time for the Israelis to leave a place in the desert and move forward, the Tabernacle had to be completely disassembled.  Moses and Aaron would assign each member of the Levite tribe a particular task to achieve this,   The things that were in the Holy of Holies could not be touched by anyone but Aaron and his sons.  If anyone else touched these things or even looked at them for a moment they would die or be put to death.  Each person had a specific job to do and a specific way to do it.  Some carried the Holy objects and others carried the poles and skin coverings.  Aaron and his family were chosen by God to be the priests and the Levite tribe was chosen by God to be their helpers.  If the move was to be successful, each person chosen by God must accomplish his task in the manner prescribed by God.  God never changes.  He has the same plan in place today and if the Church, His body, is going to move forward, each of us must do our job.  Just as Israel was called out of Egypt and Aaron was chosen to be the priest and the Levites were chosen to carry the Tabernacle, we are called out of darkness and chosen to be priests and a holy nation.  We may not feel a calling to be pastors, missionaries, choir directors or teachers in the congregation where we worship God.  But in the Church, the body of Christ, each of us has a specific task to do.  Just as the Levites were chosen to help Aaron and Moses, we have been chosen to help our local pastors and the Church staff.  God has a specific plan and purpose for our lives.  The Holy Spirit abides in each of us so we are not restricted as the Levites were.  We can touch every area of our world with the Word of God.  Ask the Holy Spirit what task God has assigned you and do it diligently.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-15-2018

Family

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34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV

Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation.  This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing.  This fact has an upside and a downside.  The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel.  Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans.  His travels in one lifetime would have been impossible a few generation earlier.  For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel.  Now we know that that could be done with one message broadcast on satellite TV.  Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well.  The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family.  We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives.  That fact contributes to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means.  But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves.  Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family.  Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family.  Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family.  If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ.  There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family.  And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-14-2018

Store Up Riches in Heaven

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20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God. — Luke 12:20, 21 NIV

Riches are neutral, being neither good nor evil.  It is our attitude about those riches that causes us problems.  In the parable of the “certain rich man”,  Jesus shows us the real issue with riches.  When we have the wrong attitude about money and possessions, we spend too much time and money in trying to obtain more of each. The rich man decided to build more barns which would require more of his money and time, so more possessions and money causes us to spend more time and money protecting what we have bought.  It  becomes a vicious circle that destroys relationships and eventually destroys us.  God blesses us so that we can bless others.  If we hold onto those blessings too tightly and don’t use them for His work, they can become our god.  We become dependent on them for our self-worth and happiness.  When we have the right attitude about riches, we use those things to advance God’s Kingdom here on earth and to lay up rewards for ourselves in heaven.  Jesus did not instruct the disciples to pray for riches, but rather to ask just for what they needed today.  

11  Give us today our daily bread. — Matt 6:11 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-13-2018

“The Lord God Is My Strength”

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17 Even though the fig tree does not blossom, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even if the olive harvest fails,
    and the fields produce nothing edible;
even if the flock is snatched from the sheepfold,
    and there is no herd in the stalls—
18 as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will find my joy in the God who delivers me.
19 The Lord God is my strength—  he will make my feet like those of a deer,
        equipping me to tread on my mountain heights.  
– Habakkuk 3:17-19​
 

Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances.  They are fleeting and temporary.  But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us.  It is dependent on our internal attitudes.  It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy.  If we lose it, it is because we give it away.  It is our strength that gets us through every day.  There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus.  When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”?  When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers.  When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph.  Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”.   All day, every day, all our life long.

Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-12-2018