“I AM the Messiah”

26 Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah! — John 4:26 NLT

John 4:21-30 NLT

The trip from Judea to Galilee took Jesus through Samaria.  It was a rough journey and Jesus, in His human form, was subject to becoming tired and weary, just as we are.  The Samaritans and the Jews were not on the best of terms and rarely, if ever, spoke to each other.  Yet, Jesus began to talk to this Samaritan woman and tell her things about her past and her present situation. She realized that He was a prophet and began to question Him about the difference in the traditions of how the Samaritans and the Jews worshiped God.   Jesus began to explain these things to her and tells her that was the way things were but those things were changing.  The Samaritan woman says that she knows things will change when the Messiah comes.  It is then that Jesus reveals to her that He is the Messiah for whom she has been waiting.  Jesus uses the words “I AM”.  The same words that God had used when Moses asked God, “who shall I say is sending me?”  Hearing these words, she immediately becomes a missionary and runs to tell the whole town about Jesus.  When Jesus touches us, we have to tell somebody.  Do we still have that burning desire to tell people about Jesus, the Messiah, the great “I AM” or has the fire gone out?  If we no longer have that desire to tell others about Jesus, perhaps it is time to ask God to light the fires again.

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

“Baptizing Them in the Name of…”

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT

The Great Commission

In yesterday’s reading, we thought about how we might have reacted to the instructions of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all the nations”.  The important part for us in any work in which God asks us to participate is to agree and believe.  How do we get to that point?  We start by remembering that God never asks us to do anything that He has not prepared us to do and that He is ready to provide everything we need to complete the work. Look at the training that Jesus had given the disciples.  They had had three years of walking and talking with Him on a daily basis, observing Him as He interacted with people on all levels of society and healing them.  In today’s society, that would probably qualify them for a doctorate degree in Christianity.  God had used the evil Romans to build the roads necessary and to make the country safe enough to travel.  He had sent the disciples out once before with absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet.  They had passed the survival test then and they would again.  When God calls us to participate in His Kingdom work, He just wants us to agree and be available,  He provides everything else.  So when you feel that little nudge, don’t doubt, don’t fear, don’t be a Zechariah and get struck dumb for nine months, be a Mary and become “blessed above all”

Luke 1:39-42 NLT

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

“Go and Make Disciples”

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT

Matthew 28:16-20 NLT 

We are all very familiar with the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples.  Luke tells us that shortly after this, Jesus ascends leaving the disciples without the only leader they had ever known. If we had been there and been one of the disciples of Jesus, what would our initial response have been?  If it were anything similar to what I believe mine would have been, it would have caused me to ask a lot of questions.  Where do I start, which direction do I go, who is going to support me as I make the trip and who is going to take care of my family while I am gone?  I don’t have any speeches prepared to present to the people, what will I say?  I’m not prepared to go on some long journey to some place I have never been and I haven’t prepared my family for such a venture.  I would not only be doubting my abilities to carry out this mission (which is totally true}, I would be doubting God’s ability to enable me to carry out His mission (which is totally wrong and therefore sinful).  I would be doubting His ability to provide for me and to take care of me.  I would be saying “God is able” but my thoughts and my actions would be saying “I don’t really believe that”.  As true believers, our response should not be one of worry and doubt but of agreement, just as Isaiah said when God asked Him “who shall we send?” and Isaiah answers “Here am I, Lord, send me.”.

Isaiah 6:5-8 NLT

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

“Get Up and Eat…”

7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”— 1 Kings 19:7 NLT

1 KIngs 19:1-8 NLT

God had just used Elijah to defeat the 400 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, after that, God had given Elijah supernatural physical strength so that Elijah could catch and outrun Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel.  Now, Jezebel had threatened his life.  She promised to kill him before twenty-four hours had passed.  After seeing the miracles God had just performed, how could any human being think that they could do anything to one of God’s chosen people?  Even worse, after all Elijah had experienced, how could he possibly believe that God could not protect him from the threats of Jezebel?  Is the God on the mountain not still God in the valley?  Yes, He is!  We want to spend our lives living mountain top experiences.  We should take notice that there is very little life on the mountains above the timberline.  The view is great and the atmosphere is exhilarating, but there is not enough dirt or oxygen to sustain life.  The life-giving elements are down in the valley and we need to spend some time there as well.  Elijah was having his valley experience, wallowing in self-pity, as we so often do.  God said “get up and eat”.   He was preparing Elijah for a journey that would take all of his strength.  When God calls us to do a work, He always provides everything we need to accomplish the task.  It is up to us to decide whether or not we are going to “eat” the spiritual food that will prepare us for the trip through the valley and to the next mountaintop.  If  we don’t eat the spiritual food God provides, the road will be rough and the journey will be miserable.  But if we do eat and prepare, the road will seem to be smooth and the journey will be a joy as we experience the presence of Jesus leading us home.

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

“But They Are Merely Men…”

8 He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.— 2 Chronicles 32:8 NLT

2 Chronicles 32:1-8 NLT

 When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he tore down a false idol and restored the Temple.  He brought back the priests and the Levites and re-established the worship services according to the words that Moses had recorded.  The people had joined in and given their tithes and gift offerings with joy and celebration.  It was a time of restoration in the land of Judah. Hezekiah had faithfully carried out his work.  As we know, satan does not like to see the work of God carried out successfully.  The only plan satan has is to see what God is doing and react to it.  So, God allows him to bring Sennacherib and the Assyrian army to attack Judah and Jerusalem.  Sennacherib had been successful in taking some of the walled cities of Judah and now his army had arrived at Jerusalem.  Hezekiah continued his work of restoration by completing the walls of Jerusalem and building an outer wall as well. He encouraged all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to continue in their work and worship of the true God of Israel.  Hezekiah had faith that God would deliver the city from danger.  He understood that it was God that had made his efforts successful and not the power of man.  So, when he saw a great army of “mere men” arrayed against him, he trusted his God to deliver him and he was right in doing so.  Hezekiah and the priests cried out to God and God delivered them by sending an angel to destroy the Assyrian army. When we are obedient to God we do not have to fear regardless of what the situation looks like from a human standpoint.  “Trust and obey, there’s no other way”.

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

“Let Our Children See Your Glory”

16   Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. — Psalm 90:16 NLT

 Psalm 90:13-17 NLT

This Psalm is a prayer that Moses prayed to the Lord after God had given Israel the 40 year sentence in the desert for their disobedience.  In it, Moses acknowledges that God is the Creator of all things and is still in control of all things.  Moses understands that God not only created all things but that God has every right to give and take away as God sees fit.  Just as Moses did, we must always acknowledge that whatever God chooses to do is just and right.  His answers to our prayers are not always what we want to hear, but we can be sure that He always hears and answers in His own way and in His own time.  After we have done that, we can present our requests to Him. Moses wanted God to show that generation and their children His power and glory once again.  God chose not to relent until the 40 years had passed.  During that time Moses passed away and Joshua became the leader of the children of Israel.  It was then that God answered Moses’ prayer in the affirmative.  He parted the waters of Jordan and gave the Israelis’ victory after victory against superior foes.  He made their efforts successful.  He is still doing the same things today in His own way and in His own time.  “Ask and you shall receive”  has not been removed from the Bible.  Continue to walk in obedience, thanking God for His answer and when the time is right, we will see Him work and our children will see His glory.

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

“By This We Believe…”

30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” – John 16:30 NKJV

John 16:25-33 NCV

If Jesus asked us that question today, could we truthfully answer “Yes, Lord, I truly believe.”?  The disciples had spent the better part of three years with Jesus. They walked with Him, talked with Him, ate with Him and yet, it is only now that they confess that they believe that Jesus came from God. We might think this to be very strange.  Yet, how many times did we hear the story of Jesus from people that we believed and respected, yet we did not accept Him as our Savior?  In my teenage years, I went to the altar and had a very real emotional experience while I was kneeling there.  Yet, when I left that building, my thought patterns and lifestyle were unchanged.   Looking back at that experience years later, I realized that I had not truly accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord.  It would be years later before I truly repented and turned to Jesus with all my heart.  True repentance will make a change in our thinking and in our lifestyle.  Will it keep us from ever sinning again?  No, the flesh will win some battles, but our response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit  will always be to turn back to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness.  And He will always be there with open arms, waiting to forgive us and restore to our salvation and His peace and joy.  

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

“Give Thanks to the Lord”

21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord;  his faithful love endures forever!”  — 2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT

2 Chronicles :20:17-24 NLT

When we look around us and we see that we are facing troubles and trials above and beyond that which we are capable of handling because of our human weaknesses and frailties, that is the time that we must muster all of our faith and courage and trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and minds. God has a reason for every trouble that He allows satan to bring into our lives.  Sometimes it is to bring us closer to Him, to increase our faith in Him and to teach us that we can never live independently from Him.  Sometimes, it is discipline for bad decisions we have made either in our speech and/or in our actions.  Either way, our response should be the same as the people of Judah here in this passage.  When the circumstances and situations say there is no hope,  we must turn to our Hope.  The times that we don’t “feel” like praying, praising and singing are the very times that we need to pray, praise and sing the loudest.   This lets us, satan and the world know that we have placed our faith in the one and only true Living God and that we know He will deliver us.  Our part in the battle is to be obedient and praise the Lord, He will win the battles for us.  Fighting with satan is a battle that we can’t win, but we serve a Lord who can’t lose.  So, when satan comes against us, we need to stand, sing, shout and watch as Jesus wins the complete victory.

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

“Because Rehoboam Humbled Himself…”

12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and he did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah.— 2 Chronicles 12:12 NLT

2 Chronicles 12:5-12 NLT

God is so good and merciful.  He gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent and return to worshiping Him and Him alone.  He had blessed all of Israel with forty years of peace and wealth beyond measure.  Yet, here they were, back to worshiping idols.  God had split the kingdom into Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah, the southern kingdom because of the iniquities of the people.  Rehoboam, the son of Solomon was the king of the southern kingdom and reigned in Judah from Jerusalem.  For a while, he was faithful to God, but then, he returned to idol worship and God sent Shishak and the Egyptian army to destroy Judah.  After Shishak had taken the fortified towns in Judah, he advanced on Jerusalem.  The king and the leaders of the people in Jerusalem humbled themselves so God did not allow Shishak to destroy Jerusalem, but He did allow Shishak to take all the wealth from Jerusalem and made the inhabitants his servants.  God saw that there were still some good things in the land of Judah, so He relented.  We need to pray that God will see that there are still some good things in our country and not destroy us yet.  We need to pray that we and our leaders will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the one true and Almighty God.  We have had our warnings, let us pray fervently that God continues to show His great mercy and compassion on this nation.

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

“God Defeated Jeroboam”

15 and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah.–2 Chronicles 13:15 NLT

2 Chronicles 13:10-15 NLT

After Israel was divided, the northern and the southern kingdoms were often at war with each other.   On this occasion, Abijah, king of Judah had amassed 400,000 select troops and Jeroboam, king of Israel, had gathered 800,000 select warriors.  From the human viewpoint, it was fairly easy to see who would win the war, but God had other plans.  Judah had the original powerful weapon of mass destruction on their side.  They trusted in God. They still worshiped God as they were supposed to but Israel had polluted their worship service with false prophets and false priests.  God only accepts purity, He will not accept being one of many gods, when He is the only true and living God.  Even though Judah had enemy troops behind them and in front of them and they were outnumbered two to one, they showed no fear, but trusted God to do what He promised to do.  This obedience and trust in God resulted in God winning the battle for them. “God defeated Jeroboam and all of Israel”.  All Judah had to do was the “mopping up” and retrieve the bounty.  If we refuse to accept God’s gift of salvation and love, then we will have to face His wrath.  No one can stand against the wrath of God.  The only time satan thought He had defeated God, he soon learned that was his worst defeat.  Do not be deceived by appearances and false claims, there is only ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD!  He is the Victor and only through Him will we obtain the victory!

“This gospel has come ​to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous