12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” 13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted,14 so ignore them. — Matt. 15:12-14a NLT
Pilate washed his hands and declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus. He could have just as easily told the crowd that he would not allow them to take Jesus because he found nothing deserving of death in the actions of Jesus. Without Pilate’s permission and without him furnishing the guard detail to carry out the crucifixion, the crowd would not have been able to crucify Jesus. The Jews had no authority to sentence anyone to death or to carry out the death sentence. Though Pilate did not participate physically in the crucifixion, neither did he stop it from happening even though he had the authority to do so. Pilate had worldly authority to do something. We have a higher authority who has authorized us to speak out when the name of Jesus is being blasphemed and God’s name is being taken in vain. Do we think that we can hide behind our fear of offending others and not speak out? Do we think Jesus is pleased when we stand by and do or say nothing when injustices are taking place before our very eyes? Jesus put His life on the line by offending the religious leaders and rulers of that day. He gave up His life so that we could have the authority to speak and act in His name. If we can trust Jesus to save us and keep our souls safe throughout eternity, surely we can trust Him to protect us when we follow His example and His commands.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
What an encouraging thought to know that God has promised to rescue those that love Him and protect those who trust in His name. No other entity of any kind can make such a brash claim and then live up to it without ever failing. There will be times in our lives when our parents can’t rescue. our friends can’t protect us but God will be there to deliver us from every evil. Nations have trusted in other so-called gods only to find that they have no power. Man-made idols have hands but they can’t touch or feel us, they have feet but they can’ run to your assistance in times of need. They have mouths but they can’t speak to us., they have ears but they can’t hear us. Only our God, the Creator of the universe and every thing in it is able to do exactly what He says He will do and nothing or nobody can stop Him from fulfilling every promise. So, let us run to Him and allow Him to protect us and provide everything we need. He is waiting with open arms.
2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money,[b] or even a change of clothes. — Luke 9:2, 3 NLT
If Jesus told us to go on a mission taking no money, food or clothes, what would our reaction be? Do we really trust God to completely supply our every need? Do we trust Him to protect us from every harm that comes our way? If not, we must ask ourselves, why not? Has He ever failed on a promise? Is our salvation not secure? If He was able to do this for the disciples, is He not able to do this for us? Every disciple came back safe and sound. God had provided their every need. We think “Oh, but society is different now, we wouldn’t be safe and people now are not as generous as they were back then.” Again, we are guilty of wrong thinkng and allowing ourselves to be decieved by satan. The right question is “Isn’t God still God, can He not do today what He did then”? And the right answer is “Yes He is and yes, He can.” If the people won’t feed us, then God can use another method, just as He did when the ravens brought meat to Elijah. Either we believe that God can and will or we don’t believe that He can and will. In a war zone, there is no neutral ground and we are living in a war zone. There is a war going on around us right now. We may not see the spiritual warriors fighting the battles, but we see the results of those battles around us every day. We see people who are deceived and refuse to believe the truth. They have eyes to see but they don’t see. They have ears to hear but they don’t hear.
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. 4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.6 In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you.–2 Thess. 1:2-6 (NLT)
Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus? Let’s look at Romans 8;10 (NCV): 10 Your body will always be dead because of sin. But if Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life, because Christ made you right with God. Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors. “19 My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I will punish those who do wrong; I will repay them,” says the Lord.–Romans 12:19 (NCV). Our part is to love and obey and leave the rest to God.
1 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT) 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. 6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Once, we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and our Lord, we are under the shelter of His wings. It is God’s power that keeps us in His hand. No matter how many times we fail and we all do fail, we are kept securely by His Spirit. God knows exactly where we are in our walk with Him. He allows us to be tested so that we know where we are. As Paul shared with us, we miss the mark but we press on toward the High Calling in Christ Jesus. In our weakest moments, God is with us and it is during these times that we are most likely to allow Him to mold us into His image. Just remember that nothing, absolutely nothing, in heaven or on earth can ever separate you from the love of God. We may fail God, but He cannot fail us. All of His promises are Yes and Amen! So praise God with hearts full of joy that no one can take you from Him or His joy from you!
Post for 9/17