April 1, 2021 – Mark 11:24 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 20 – believe that ye receive them
When we pray out our desires before the Lord, what happens next? Do we speak against the very thing we prayed for, doubting the likelihood of it happening? Does fear creep in because we have taken a bold step, and now uncertainty is robbing us of the joy of casting our desires before the Lord? Do we consider it done the minute we prayed it? What happens after we pray plays a role into whether our prayers are answered, and it is not God’s fault when our desires don’t come to pass because our faith wavers. We have to be bold enough to bring our petitions before the Lord, and then be bold enough to stand upon God’s faithfulness after we pray. Faith doesn’t work too well if there is no belief that God will answer our prayers. This is us once again calling God a liar if we pray, but don’t believe in our prayer getting answered. Today, we will look at Mark 11:24, receiving our desires by faith.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
The word “therefore” connects two or more points. “Therefore” is meant to usher in a course of action to validate the truth of Mark 11:23. The truth in verse 23 is connected to the point made in Mark 11:22, which says, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” Faith is the foundation of these three verses, but faith has to be applied correctly in order to be effective. In Matthew 17:19-20, the Bible says, “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” God knows our hearts, those praying and operating in faith and those who aren’t. When we don’t get what we asked for, there are two reasons: unbelief and asking for something that is outside of God’s will for our lives. In Psalm 37:4, the Bible says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” When we allow ourselves to be formed by God into the people He created us to be, what we desire is going to be in line with what He desires, and we will be able to receive the things of God we ask for. See, faith is attached to the Word of God, so until we become a people who have faith according to the Word of God, our faith will continue to be fruitless.
The word “desire” means simply “to ask”. In Matthew 7:8, Jesus says, “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” God desires for His children to receive what we ask for but we have to ask according to His word. In John 15:7, Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” This is where we as believers tend to fall short in our faith. We don’t abide in God, and God’s word doesn’t abide in us. How can we expect anything from God when we are disconnected from Him? Sin separates us, unbelief separates us, a carnal mind separates us, but it is NOT God’s design for us to be disconnected from Him. The word “pray” means “to supplicate or worship”. This is the act of acknowledging that we are incapable and our God is fully capable, where we cast our cares upon the Lord, where we decrease and allow Him to increase, bringing what we pray from to pass. The act of prayer is us positioning ourselves to have the right mind, heart, and attitude towards God and in towards what we pray for. The verse says, “WHEN ye pray”. There is no “IFS” when it comes to prayer. Prayer is just as essential of the process to applying faith as belief. In James 5:16, the Bible says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” A praying believer will see things done a lot faster than a wisher or thinker.
“Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Let’s forget about believing in the “stuff” we ask God for. Before we get to the “stuff” GOD must be believed in first! Mark 10:27, “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” We tend to believe in people a lot faster than we do God, and we find ourselves disappointed when the people we believe in can’t fulfill our joy. We must place our confidence in God, and entrust our lives to His will. We must ask of our God in expectancy that what we pray for, as long as it lines up with Scripture and God’s will for our lives personally, will be so! We can’t ask and NOT place an expectation upon God to answer. Our God can not lie!
May our prayers of faith translate into promises fulfilled.
Apr 2, 2021 – Acts 26:18 – The Fearlessness of Faith – Part 21 – that they may receive forgiveness of sins
Our faith is supposed to DO something! Our faith has power, and that power has the full capability to cause miracles to happen. It’s a beautiful thing for the world to know we are Christians by our love, but it is an explosive thing when the world can identify us by our faith! Our churches are supposed to be places of freedom, where the sick are healed, the blind are made to see, the irreparably broken are full restored by the power of God. Faith is designed to bring an atmosphere completely under the authority and power of God, but it all begins with the Word of God. The Bible shows us who we are, whose we are, the purpose God has for His children, what we are capable of and what the Word of God does in this world we live in. It is our job to entrust our confidence to the Word of God and perform the things God commands us to. Today, we are going to look at Acts 26:18, faith activated!
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
The phrase “open their eyes” refers to spiritual sight. When we walked without salvation, we were spiritually blind, unable to see our God and the direction He has ordained for His children. In Isaiah 35:5, the Bible says, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” Even before we knew we needed it, God provided us the opportunity to see. What caused our blindness in the first place? In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, the Bible says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The “god of this world” is Satan, and he has no desire for us to see the Lord! In Matthew 11:4-6, the Bible says, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Christ sent word back to John the Baptist about the power of God at work in the lives of God’s people. John the Baptist heard about the works of Christ from prison! The fruits of our faith are supposed to spread into the darkest places, but if we don’t exercise our faith, how can the people hear?
“And to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”
The word “turn” implies a conversion, turning the believer to the service and worship of the true God. “Darkness” pertains to “moral darkness, the absence of spiritual light and truth, the presence of sinfulness and calamity”. “Light” means “the true knowledge of God and spiritual things, Christian piety”. The “power” spoken of here is “the dominion, authority, or rule over a person or thing”. In Ephesians 5:8, the Bible says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light”. We have to understand what we have been delivered from, and what power we now have access to because of our deliverance. In John 12:35-36, the Bible says, “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” We have to walk in our light, in the true knowledge of God and spiritual things, because the enemy desires to place us back into darkness. Walking in the light allows us to ability to exercise our faith in the Word of God, and in that faith comes power! What type of parent doesn’t want their children to walk in the fullness of their power and abilities? God is no different!
“That they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me”.
Our faith in Christ alone gives us salvation, and salvation gives of the forgiveness of sins. Salvation gives us an identity as children of God, and with this identity comes power! In Colossians 1:10 the Bible says, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”. God turns us from the power of Satan to the power of God, that, by faith in Christ, we can bear fruit in every good work, and also know our God even more! What separates the faithful believers from the “church goers” lies in our ability to put the Word of God into use, and when the Word of God is in use in us, the world around us is transformed!
“According to your faith be it unto you.” Christ’s words. What will our faith produce?
Apr 3, 2021 – Daniel 10:12 – thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words
Sometimes, there is a wait when it comes to our prayers, and that wait can be very agonizing! It is a natural reaction to feel uncertain as we wait, and that uncertainty can produce fear, if left unchecked. At those times we are uncertain is where we should cleave even more to the Word of God. Instead of “waiting anxiously” on the answer to manifest itself, we should continue to press forward, attending to the things God has for us today. Never allow our minds to shift from uncertainty, to fear, to doubt, all because we feel the answer to our prayer isn’t coming fast enough. God is very precise with His plan, and very diligent in answering our prayers at the perfect time. Trusting in the Lord when it grows “quiet” is vital to our faith, because there is movement by God when we pray. We have to humble ourselves before the Lord until the answer comes, because the right mind, heart, and spirit ushers in the presence of the Lord. Today, we will look at Daniel 10:12, a prayer offered and a prayer answered.
“Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”
The word “fear” means “to be afraid, to be frightened”. There is nothing for a believer to fear in this presence of the Lord, or in the presence of His angels, especially if we are living for the Lord. I love how God gives us this amazing assurance in the midst of His presence. In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Fright doesn’t come from the Lord, and it is not a spirit He gives. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him. He desires for us to reverence Him with deep, moral respect, done out of love and a willing heart. In Isaiah 41:10, the Bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” This is what the presence of our Lord does in the life of a believer, and with such great promises, there is no reason to be frightened. A vision was revealed to Daniel, which made him afraid for what would happen to Israel. In Daniel 9:22-23, and the Bible says, “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” God wants to give us skill and understanding, so we know how to operate according to His will. He answers our prayers because He loves us and desires us to know His will. With a report like this, there shouldn’t be anything to fear.
“For from the first day that thou first set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God”
The first day! We tend to think that, because the answer doesn’t come right away, that God somehow doesn’t hear us. In John 9:31, the Bible says, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” When we “set our hearts to understand”, this implies we empty our cup before the Lord so He can fill it with what we need to understand. “Worshipping” God means we “depress ourselves, make ourselves low before Him”. The act of worship is giving God the green light to come dwell within us and over our lives. The word “set” suggests we fix our positions, our minds, and our hearts. In Colossians 3:2, the Bible says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” If our attention is on Christ, then we make ourselves available to receive His will. This is an intentional act on our part, and it positions us exactly where we need to be spiritually, to “understand”, or “separate thoroughly and rightly”. The word “chasten” means “to browbeat, look down upon, or depress”. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” We have to scrutinize ourselves before the Lord, to clear our anything that need not be there.
“Thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words”
The word “heard” means “to listen intelligently, or discern the meaning of”. In Acts 10:3-4, the Bible says, “He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” When we pray to our God and humble ourselves before the Lord, He responds!!! It is not an “if” when it comes to God responding, but a “when”!
Are we positioned to hear from the Lord?
Apr 4, 2021 – Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword
The Bible is more than just a book. It is much more than a bunch of old men telling us about God. Do we really understand that the Word of God is alive and powerful, transforming lives, saving souls, setting standards in our hearts that mature us in this process of sanctification. The road to God began with the Word, the road that leads us to repentance begins with the Word, and the road to salvation lies in the Word. There is not a problem the Word of God can’t solve, a question the Word of God can’t lead us to the answer of. The ability to live an abundant life of favor and peace lies within the Word of God. The Word of God knows us inside and outside, and if we surrender, the Word of God can lead us safely into our purpose. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 4:12, the very capable Word of God.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The word “quick” means “living, alive, active”. In 1 Peter 1:23, the Bible says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” We are born again by the Word of God, a seed that cannot die or be brought to shame, something that will endure forever. In 1 Peter 1:25, the Bible says, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” The first thing we must understand is the Word of God is living, which means it still works just as strongly as it did before. We tend to only pay attention when something applies to us, so if we don’t think the Word of God applies to us, then we will never be able to activate its power! The word “powerful” means “effectual, operative”. Do we as believers really have faith that Scripture works? In Isaiah 55:11, the Bible says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” When God spoke, creation came to be accordingly to what God spoke, exactly how He ordained for it to be. If we don’t believe the Word of God works, then we won’t use it. In Mark 12:24, the Bible says, “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” We have to know the Scriptures to know the power of God, and we also have to know the Word of God to know what power we have as well. In Luke 10:19, Jesus says, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” If we don’t ever come to know our power, then how can we effectively operate according to God’s will, also understanding the power we have over the enemy?
“Sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow.”
The word “sharper” means “more keen”. Being keen requires depth of perspective, the ability to look beyond normal vision. Eagles have keen vision, allowing them to see prey from long distances. In 1 Corinthians 2:10, the Bible says, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” God desires to reveal His will to us, so He looks deep within us, understanding when the right time will come for us to experience more revelation from Him. The word “piercing” means “to reach through, to penetrate”. The phrase “dividing asunder” means “to separate into parts”. In 2 Timothy 2:15, the Bible says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” By studying the Word of God, it reaches through our soul and spirit, identifies the difference between the two, and separates them, so the Word of God can affect them both. When the spirit, soul, and body are in agreement according to the Word of God, we become living testimonies of God’s power resting in mankind.
“And is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”
The word “discerner” means “able to decided correctly, or be skilled in judgement”. In 1 Corinthians 14:25, the Bible says, “And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” The Word of God is designed to pull what’s inside of us to the outside of us, but the Word doesn’t reveal all of the good and hide the evil. The Word of God is there to establish truth, to weigh up our deliberations and mentalities against It. The Word of God knows all things about us, including things we haven’t discovered yet!
Is the Word of God this powerful in our lives? It should be!
Apr 5, 2021 – Acts 28:27 – For the heart of this people is waxed gross
I watch the news now with great sadness, having a real picture as to what society as a whole is encountering on a daily basis. News reports of back to back mass shootings, reckless parties with huge crowds while we are trying to get a pandemic under control, constant warfare in the Middle East, and an overall Godlessness is present for every viewer to see. ABC World News does an “American Strong” segment at the end of its shows, to change the tone of our countenances, to give us something positive to walk away with. Sadly, the reality of a Godless society reappears with even more vigor and the positive takeaway is soon forgotten. This world is sick and broken without Christ as head, and until this world turns their hearts to the Lord for salvation and healing, we will continue to be saddened by the depressing news reports we see. Today, we are going to look at Acts 28:27, a world in need of conversion and healing.
“For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
The world “heart” means “the center of our innermost being, the seat of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, and impulses”. The heart is extremely important for any believer. In Proverbs 4:23, the Bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We have to guard our hearts because this place can become a playground for the enemy if we allow him access. In Romans 1:24, the Bible says, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” God will continue to lead us to Him, but eventually He will see that our hearts are centered on our desires and not Him and He will say, “You want to live that way? Go for it.” The phrase “waxed gross” means to “render callous”. Callousness isn’t an instantaneous process. It starts small and becomes something that can’t be managed. In James 3:5, it says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” In Romans 1:26-27, the Bible says, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” This world is filled with violence, homosexuality, godlessness, atheism, because the small sparks that started these behaviors blazed into wildfires for the whole world to see. Sin is sin, and in God’s sight, me taking a life and a person’s homosexuality is at even keel, with us both needing healing and salvation by Christ, but God isn’t going to force us to open our ears and eyes. That is our job!
“And their ears dull of hearing, and their eyes have closed”
People as a whole a hard headed! God knew it way before we were born. In Exodus 33:3, it says, “Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.” In Romans 10:21, the Bible says, “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” All day long? God is very persistent, and that is why 2 Peter 3:9 says, “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.” The call is there, but do people want to see and hear it?
“Lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
The word “hear” means “to give audience to, to pay attention”. The word “understand” means “to comprehend”. The phrase “should be converted” means “return to good, return to God, repent”. The word “heal” means “to cure, to make whole”. In 1 Peter 2:10, it says, “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” When our hearts became callous, preventing us from receiving the Word of God, we had no identity, and therefore we weren’t a people. When we opened our eyes, ears and heart to the Word of God, we became THE people of God, obtaining mercy where mercy wasn’t available. The Word of God received begins the process of conversion and healing, and in it, lies the ability for God’s power to work through us. The gift of salvation is available to us all, and it doesn’t matter what we’ve done and where we’ve been. If God changed me, then there is no doubt He can change you as well!
Apr 6, 2021 – Hosea 4:6 – because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee
Our world suffers, and it is heartbreaking to see how many people are lost without any sense of direction. As I sit in prison, I watch so many lost brothers, without a clue as to how to begin to rebuild their lives. So many are disconnected from God, and rebellion is secondary. I have come to discover that what we don’t know contributes to our misfortune, and what we choose not to know leads us into a blindness that can be destructive. God wants His children to know Him and know His will for our lives, all of which can be found in the word of God. We when reject the Word of God, we are essentially accepting destruction as an inevitable reality. What we don’t consider is that the generations under us suffer as well, because they enter a world unequipped to live abundantly in it. Today, we will look at Hosea 4:6, the necessity of true knowledge in the world.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
The word “destroyed” means “to be cut off, to fail or perish due to silence”. In Proverbs 1:7, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The first problem in our world is the world doesn’t fear God, meaning having that deep reverence for the Lord our God. If we don’t fear God, then we aren’t going to care to know Him and what pleases him. Knowledge is so important to a believer’s life, but we’re not talking about book knowledge or world knowledge. We’re talking about the knowledge of the Word of God, the knowledge only God can give. In Proverbs 1:2-4, the Bible says, “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” Knowledge has a huge purpose; to understand God’s word and will for our lives, so we can know what is right for the world we live in, and to teach what we know in the Lord to people who don’t know. Our society has become more Godless because parents aren’t seeking knowledge of and from God, so they have nothing to teach their children but carnality and idolatry. The generations only teach what they know and God becomes nothing to people because they’ve never been taught otherwise. In Isaiah 5:13, the Bible says, “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Bondage is second nature to someone who doesn’t know the Lord, and the sad thing about it is they don’t KNOW they are in bondage! The word “knowledge” means “discernment or sight into how to please God”. This knowledge is us coming into a full and interactive relationship with our God, learning what He requires from us for ourselves.
“because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee”
The word “rejected” means “to despise, to refuse”. In 2 Peter 3:3-4, the Bible says, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” There will not only be people that flat out reject the knowledge of God, but they will mock God at the same time, testing His patience and restraint. Just because the world rejects the knowledge of God, doesn’t mean God has lost power. In Matthew 21:42-43, the Bible says, “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” God isn’t going to force anyone to accept Him as King, nor is He going to force anyone to be His children. He has opened His loving arms to whoever seeks salvation, and those will be the ones God accepts. People rejected Christ and still do, but He is still the most important Person to our faith!
“That thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children “
The word “forgotten” means “to mislay from lack of attention or memory”. In Psalm 1:2, the Bible says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” When are we going to be a people who don’t let the Word of God fall by the wayside? According to Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 20:6, we are destined to be priests of the Lord. Yeah, US! It is time for us to begin studying the Word of God, meditating on the Word so we are not of the ones cut off for our lack of knowledge.
Apr 7, 2021 – Hosea 6:6 – For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice
Do we have the right heart for worship? Are our attitudes consistent with our love for God and for others, and do people clearly experience our love when they experience our service? If our hearts aren’t right, and our attitudes don’t reflect the love that God has placed in our hearts, then no matter how we try to mask it, it will eventually show and destroy our witness in the process. Our service works to effectively point people to the God we serve when it is done with an attitude of love and graciousness, but if the heart isn’t right, it can serve to turn people away from the faith. If we ever listen to the reasons people have for not attending church or experiencing salvation, their experience with other believers would near the top of the list. That shouldn’t be! Christ can to fulfill the law, simplifying it in the process, making it more mentally attainable for us. We must do the same! Today, we are going to look at Hosea 6:6, having the proper attitude for service.
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
The word “desired” means “to incline or bend towards, to take pleasure in”. The word “mercy” means “lovingkindness and faithfulness to others”. Mercy also implies us foregoing inflicting judgement upon someone who has offended us. In Ephesians 2:4-6, the Bible says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. God sets the example for mercy being shown to us, by loving us when we were unlovable and paving the way for our salvation even though we didn’t deserve it. In Matthew 18:25-27, Jesus says, “But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” Mercy requires compassion, and compassion requires love. God cleared our debts when we asked for mercy, knowing we were unable to pay. We must do the same with others.
“Sacrifice” implies the slaughtering of an animals as an offering to the Lord. God isn’t saying that He doesn’t honor our sacrifices, because the Bible says in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Our sacrifice has to be pleasing to the Lord, but all the sacrifice in the world means nothing without a heart of mercy, love, and compassion. In 1 Corinthians 13:3, the Bible says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” The act of faith and worship means nothing without the right attitude and heart. It doesn’t profit the kingdom of God at all. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, the Bible says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” When we are cheerful givers, God sees us as the reflection of Him, doing exactly what He would do, and it makes God proud.
“And knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”
The word “knowledge” here implies knowing God as a result of experience, relationship, or encounter with God and His Word. Knowing also implies intimacy, two separate parts becoming one. It is just as important for us to know God as it is for Him to know us. In John 10:14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” Good shepherding paves the way for people know God and them to be known by God. Our service opens a door and presents God in both Word and by the fruit of our hearts, so our testimony will reflect who God is accurately. In Ephesians 3:19, the Bible says, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Knowing the love of Christ gives us a clear roadmap on how to love at this level as well. In 2 Peter 3:18, the Bible says, “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.” This is something we have to grow into. Relationships are built over time by constant communication, and in a relationship, especially one with God, we will begin to become more like Him.
God desires that we know Him through relationship, and exercise what we know in this world. Love, mercy, and compassion should flow from us, and in service, these should be the lasting impressions people are left with.
What does God see in our hearts as we serve others?
Apr 8, 2021 – Hebrews 5:12 – ye have need that one teach you again
Growth should be mandatory in the Church in my opinion, but the rate of our growth God leaves up to us. God is not going to force us to seek His face, to embrace His teachings, submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, or grow as believers. God positions us to experience all of these things, and He doesn’t deny a believer who seeks Him with their entire heart. We are not supposed to be the same believers, having the same faith, knowing the same amount of Scripture and experiencing the same level of God’s presence five years from now as we do today. Sadly, that isn’t the case, and there are churches with members who have been there for 20 years but don’t know the true meaning of baptism, what the atoning sacrifice does, what salvation is versus sanctification, and what faith is. Today, we will look at Hebrews 5:12, the expectation of growth in the faith.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”
The word “time” perceives time quantitatively as a period measured by the succession of objects and events, denoting the passing of moments. So this means a series of events transpiring in a space of time which should invoke growth as an end result. The word “ought” means “to be under obligation”. The word “teachers” means “instructors”. Don’t think we as new believers aren’t supposed to grow into instructors of the Word of God! In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching 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.” So, when Christ declared that “all power” was given to Him, His first instruction to us was to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of Jesus Christ, THEN teach them to practice what we ourselves were taught. Christ even promised that He would always be there with us. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Word of God is meant for a believer to be taught by it and then be able to use it to teach others, being positioned to perform God’s purposes for us. In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Bible says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” How can we provoke each other unto love and good works without instructing them in some way? How can we exhort someone absent instructing them in the Word?
“Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.”
So instead of being teachers by now, we haven’t learned the first things a believer should’ve learned. This is a very unfruitful walk in the Lord, something we all must avoid. The phrase “first principles” speaks of elementary instructions, the first things in a row we have to learn. In Hebrews 6:1-2, the Bible says, ” Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” These are the levels of our instruction that we should have learned well enough to advance into the deeper things of God. If we have advanced from this level, then we should be able to teach these things. Imagine with me an electrician, who, five years into his apprenticeship, still only knows how to wire up an electrical outlet, and nothing else. It would be a shame to the profession! Well, the same rules apply in the faith.
“And are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat”
The word “milk” means “the first elements of Christian instructions.” To still have “need” for milk suggests stagnancy in the faith, where nothing is being learned. How can this be? In 1 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” If a person is still “carnal” in their nature and thinking, then they won’t be able to grow spiritually to receive the things God has for them that will cause them to grow. A person can be saved and still be carnally minded. “Strong meat” is solid doctrine that builds upon the foundation of Christ.
Are we good stewards of God’s word? How has our knowledge and faith grown since we first believed?
Apr 9, 2021 – Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love
Nothing we do for the Lord and on the Lord’s behalf is in vain. God not only sees everything we do for the building of His kingdom, but He is there to dote on His children affectionately. Remember, in Job 1:8, when it said, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” God is making an open display of Job’s stance of faith and attitude towards God’s word to Satan, even allowing Satan to test him! The enemy rails accusations while God supplies praise for His children living and operating according to His will. Sometimes, ministry can feel like a “thankless job” that goes unacknowledged, but God sees our work for Him and He is so proud of us for living our lives for Him. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 6:10, a word on having a ministry worth acknowledging.
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
The word “unrighteous” means “unjust”. The word “forget” means “to lose out of mind, to neglect”. Let’s put this together. God declares it would be unfair to not see, not remember, or fail to acknowledge our work for Him. In Isaiah 49:15-16, the Bible says, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Let us first understand that God sees everything we do, good or bad, edifying or destructive, and He is not the type of Father that neglects His children. The word “work” means “works of faith”. In Proverbs 14:31, the Bible says, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” God not only sees what we do, but He distinguishes our work and takes a stance for or against it! In Matthew 24:45-47, Jesus says, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” We have to understand that we didn’t place ourselves in this position of ministry and service. God placed us in these positions, and in these offices, and gave us everything we need to perform what He ordained us to. We are faithful when we do what God commands us to do. God is going to “peek in” and see what we are doing with what He has entrusted to us. He wants to see love there in our work, because without love the work serves no divine purpose. “Love” here is “agapē”, spoken especially of goodwill towards others, the love of our neighbor, brotherly affection, which the Lord both commands and inspires. God gives us the love and we give that same love to others.
“which ye have shewed toward His name”
In Colossians 3:17, the Bible says, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” When we minister to the needs of saints and unbelievers as well, we represent the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is authority in the name, but it also means this is the example we are to follow. In 1 Corinthians 10:33, the Bible says, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” In ministry, we are the last person to be considered. We desire our service to bring people into a knowledge of God and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, also partaking in a person’s spiritual maturity as well. So we serve God first, serve people next, and then we think of ourselves. The beauty about it is we won’t ever have to think of ourselves because God will do that for us. In Matthew 10:42, Jesus says, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Because this is true, just think of the reward for doing things in the Name of Jesus!
“In that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister”
The word “ministered” means “to be an attendant, to wait upon, to serve as a deacon”. In 2 Corinthians 3:6, the Bible says, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Able ministers! God has made us able to serve the people He has ordained us to serve. In this verse it speaks of the “saints”, which are “those who are purified and sanctified by the influences of the Holy Spirit, those who profess His name.”
We are to use what God has given us to edify the body of Christ, which is His Church. God won’t ever forget our service!
Apr 10, 2021 – Hebrews 3:5 – And Moses verily was faithful in all his house
What will be spoken of our ministry after we leave this world? Our faithful service to the Most High God will always bear a record and that record will serve as a testimony of God’s presence, favor, and movement in our lives. People as a whole desire to leave something of impact to the world, a legacy to speak for our time here on earth, our means to essentially “live forever”. We should desire to help make this world a better place, but are we trying to be the focal point of the testimony or is Christ the focal point? Believe it or not, what’s behind our service will surface and that will bear testimony as well. It is not designed for a believer to seek His own glory, to seek the praise of men, to leave behind a testimony that doesn’t point the way to Christ. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 3:5, a legacy of Christ left behind
“And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after”
The word “verily” means “truly, most assuredly”. The word “faithful” here means “trustworthy”. This suggests that a person’s body of work is consistent with obeying the Word of the Lord. In Hebrews 3:2, the Bible says, “Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.” Our faithfulness should be towards the Person who appointed us, and that is God. In this society, we are seeing more and more people being faithful to people who are enemies to the cross! This shouldn’t be. In Luke 19:12-13, the Bible says speaking of Jesus, “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” No one in their right mind will entrust something of extraordinary value to someone who isn’t capable of being trustworthy, and God is no different. If He appointed us to serve Him, then He has already equipped us to perform whatever is required. Then in verses 16-17 Jesus, “Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been FAITHFUL in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” The nobleman’s instructions were simple, and he found his servant faithful who multiplied what He was given. He called him a “good servant”, “good” pertaining to something (or someone) operating according to the intended purpose from the beginning. Because the servant was faithful in “very little” he was given authority over ten cities. What we do with a little will tell the story on what we will do with a lot.
The word “servant” means “attendant”. It is interesting that the Greek word for servant is “therapōn”. Doesn’t it appear that the word therapist derives from this? In Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” We have to not only be people who serve the Lord, but our house as well. What good is our ministry if the only people affected by the hand of God is us? In Exodus 14:31, the Bible says, “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.” This verse shows that we as servants of God are just as vessels that the Lord chooses to use to facilitate His Word and His will through. He doesn’t need our help at all, but He desires for us, as children of God, to usher in His presence through our service. In 1 Corinthians 7:22-23, the Bible says, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” Being servants of the Lord produces freedom that we cannot experience any other way, because there is no ceiling to what we can do for the kingdom of God!
“For a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after”
The word “testimony” means “something evidential, a witness”. One of the most available things we have in our ministry is our testimony. In Mark 5:19-20, the Bible says, “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” Christ freed the demon possessed man, and the people asked Christ to leave their coasts. The man wanted to go with Christ, but Christ told him to go home and spread the word. He spread the word to ten cities!!
We are still talking about his testimony today! May our faithful service provide a great testimony for others to know the Lord!
Apr 11. 2021 – Hebrews 10:25 – but exhorting one another
We are created to be a part of a body, that body being the Church. Together, we are at our greatest strength, because the strong can account for the weak, and all are covered. When a lion hunts they attempt to scatter the herd, catching one who has drifted away from the group, or couldn’t keep up. Apart from the group, the lone animal doesn’t stand a chance, and is quickly devoured. When a weak link is surrounded by strength, they begin to pick up the characteristics of the strong, and little by little they become stronger. The strength rubs off! Well, the same rules apply with believers, where, when we come together, the power of God rubs off, the anointing of God rubs off, the knowledge of the Word of God rubs off, making us all stronger believers. The Church exploded in Acts because they came together with one accord and the Spirit moved through the Church with power. Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 10:25, the power experienced when believers come together.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
The word “forsaking” means “to leave behind, to desert”. Sadly, there are tons of believers who don’t feel going to church services is necessary to the faith. While going to church isn’t a requirement for salvation, it is truly something God desires from His children. In Genesis 2:18, the Bible says, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” From the beginning, it was never God’s intention for man to be alone, so God created a helpmeet for him. What does marriage have to do with us going to church? In 1 Corinthians 15:45, the Bible says, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” Christ is the last Adam! In 1 Corinthians 15:47, “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” Now, Christ came to fulfill the law, not to destroy the law, so His presence didn’t change the rules from creation! If Christ is the “last Adam”, then God HAD to look at Christ the same way He did Adam, believing it is not good for Him to be alone, so He created a helpmeet for Him too! Who is the helpmeet of Christ?
In John 3:29, the Bible says, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”
It brought John the Baptist joy knowing that Christ and His Church would form an unbreakable marriage. Even though He wouldn’t be physically there when the Day of Pentecost took place and when the Church began, he saw it and it made him glad. It should make us even more glad to be a part of the marriage, to be one with Christ!
The phrase “assembling of ourselves together” means “to gather together for a Church meeting or service”. In Psalm 133:1, the Bible says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” God finds the gathering together of believers to be good, which signifies God’s intended purpose from the beginning fulfilled, and pleasant, which just makes our God feel good! Imagine how proud we would be as parents looking at our children working together in unity to accomplish something we’ve asked them to. Wouldn’t that be an awesome sight? That is what God feels when He sees His children gathering together as one. In Romans 12:4-5, the Bible says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” The reason people don’t see the importance of gathering together for service is because they haven’t accepted that we are members of one another. There is no unity because the Word of God is not being accepted as truth. The truth is, we should want to run to a gathering of believers, to reconnect with the body!
“As the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
The word “exhorting” means “to call upon someone to encourage, comfort, admonish, or strengthen”. In Proverbs 27:17, the Bible says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” The coming together is vital to the growth of the body of Christ! In Hebrews 3:12-13, the Bible says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” When unbelief sprouts in the church, it causes division and people to be led astray. We have a lot of “lone wolves”, believing that assembling together is pointless, and that is a major lie! In Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Unity in the body helps us all prevail against the lies of the enemy, and disunity is one of the lies keeping believers out of the Church, and from experiencing the full power of the Holy Spirit in our lives together. Let’s break Satan’s power over the body by coming together!
Apr 12, 2021 – Hebrews 12:1 – let us run with patience the race that is set before us
As believers, God provides us with suitable examples of the faith people have, who have overcome great odds and faced impossible situations, yet stood on the promises of God’s word and prevailed. In life we are constantly surrounded by examples, ones that lead us toward the will of God and examples that lead us away. In our own lives, do we live lives that become an example that leads people towards God or away? The beauty about God is He creates an excuse free environment, equipping us with everything we need to run the race that God ordained us to run, but it is still our job to run the race. When we look at the company we keep, what manner of people are they? When we look at our role models, what qualities do they embody? Today, we will look at Hebrews 12:1, the witnesses of faith that make our race easier to run.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
The word “seeing” suggests that “we take notice or give attention to”. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. We have to pay attention to everything around us because there is an enemy around hoping to catch us by surprise. In 1 Peter 2:21-22, the Bible says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth”. Not only should we take notice of the enemy that is lurking all about, but we should also take notice of Christ, how He lived under the same type of circumstances but He still overcame the world. The phrase “compassed about” means “to lie all around, to enclose, to encircle”. We are NEVER alone when we do the will of God, and we never will be the only ones going through hardship. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Common to man! So there is always someone facing what we are, which means enough examples are present of people who are mastering the faith in their daily lives.
The word “witnesses” means “people who testify to the truth of what they see, hear, and know”. In Acts 23:11, the Bible says, “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Our walks with the Lord will always bear witness to who we are and who God is everywhere we go. The phrase “let us lay aside every weight” means “let’s cast away all burdens and hindrances “. In Colossians 3:8-9 the Bible says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;” We have people around us that have cast away the deeds of the old man and so must we! They show us it can be done. The word “sin” here means “defection from the gospel”. Ouch!! The word “besets” means “thwarts”, suggesting we are easily tricked and beaten by this weight and sin in our lives, and it causes us to stumble. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the Bible says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We have to keep ourselves from falling by leaning on and living out the Word of God. In it we have the chance to become witnesses as well.
“And let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
The word “run” means “to move hastily”. The word “patience” means “endurance, constant under suffering in faith and duty.” The word “race” means “a course of life full of toil and conflict”. None of this suggests that we will have an easy ride as believers, but God will allow us to be constant in Him no matter what comes our way. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, the Bible says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We are to run our race in the Lord to receive the prize, and that prize is the approval of our God for running a great race in faith. The phrase “set before us” suggests that God gave us the race to run. In Acts 9:15, The Bible says, “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”. If God chooses us to run our race, then He has already ensured us the victory!
May we always pay attention to the witnesses before us, who showed us that we can win the race we run if we remain in Christ.
Apr 13, 2021 – Hosea 13:14 – I will redeem them from death
We were bought, purchased by the blood of Christ, redeeming us from the penalty of death. It was a death we deserved, because our sin and our sin nature would’ve meant permanent separation from our God. Praise be to God, who loved us so deeply that He provided a sacrifice that would bring His children back into His presence. Hosea was given a “horrible” task of marrying a harlot, witnessing her leave him no matter how hard he loved her, and then having to go and get her, despite all she has done, and restore her back as his wife. God did this to illustrate what Israel was doing to Him, what we are doing to Him by going astray, but He still receives us back unto Himself, offering salvation and restoration to all who have faith in Jesus Christ. Today, we will look at Hosea 13:14, a ransom paid and redemption given by Christ’s shed blood for us.
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
The word “ransom” means “to redeem, to release, to deliver “. The Israelites needed deliverance from turning their backs on God, and serving other gods, living a lifestyle that greatly displeased our God. The ransom is the price tag, and we were unable to pay it. In Psalm 49:6-8, the Bible says, “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)” Please understand with me that we were in an impossible situation, deliberately turning our backs on a loving God, and nothing we have gained on our journey could ever pay for the certainty to death that was sure to come. In Psalm 49:15, the Bible says, “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” Only God could provide the means to pay such an outstanding debt, so He sent Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, to redeem us from the grave. The word “power” means, “hand or strength”. The word “grave” means “hell, the world of the dead, the pit”. We are dealing with a spiritual state, not a physical one. In Isaiah 25:8, the Bible says, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” God wants to take death away. He wants to take away the grief from our hearts, and take the stench from our sin off us, so that we can experience all things new in Him.
The word “redeem” means to “buy back from spiritual death and bondage”. Kinda makes us think about the phrase “selling our souls to the devil”, doesn’t it? In Ezekiel 37:13-14, the Bible says, “And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.” See, God doesn’t want to just rescue us from death! He desires to give us life, to live with His Spirit within us, restoring us back to how He intended us from creation. In Genesis 2:7, the Bible says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” God is breathing His breath, but instead of just air, it’s His Holy Spirit, into us, making us completely alive in Him. In John 20:22, the Bible says, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”. Do we really embrace the fact that we are born again when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and we are new creations requiring “breath” to live? In John 10:10, the Bible says, “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.” Christ’s death had a purpose, just as our redemption does, and it is to give us abundant life in Christ, a life that is full of the breath of God, which is the Holy Spirit”.
“O death, I will be thy plagues; O graves, I will by thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes”.
The word “plagues” means “pestilence, threat of destroying”. The word “destruction” means “extermination”. The word “repentance” means “sorrow, compassion”. Instead of inflicting wrath upon us, God turned His wrath upon death and the grave! In Hebrews 2:14, it says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”. Christ’s death not only destroyed the power of death, but the person in power as well!
When God destroys death, it will be forever. God is the only Person that can stop death from being destroyed. In Isaiah 55:6, the Bible says, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near”, so this shows that there will be a time when repentance will no longer be available. The premise of repentance being “hid” means that there will be no more access. In Matthew 25:10-12, the Bible says, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” Christ will have a time where repentance will run out, and there will be people left out of the wedding banquet. In Revelation 20:14, the Bible says, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” This aspect of repentance still follows the same meaning, “the changing of the mind and direction”. So God is saying the idea of Him changing His mind on destroying death and the grave will never happen because death and hell will be destroyed.
O death, where is thy sting! We are redeemed!
Apr 14, 2021 – Psalm 139:23 – know my heart
How intimate do we want to be with our God? How much of Him do we want Him to know about us? How much are we willing to share, or are we just content with God yanking it out of our minds? A relationship is built and strengthened by the information entrusted to each other. You want to see a strong couple? It is one where they know each other’s secrets, and there is nothing hidden between them. This disclosure doesn’t come by one trying to pry the information out of the other, but it comes when a person desires to pour out their innermost thoughts, feelings, and longings. God wants the type of relationship with us as His children where we are willing to come to Him with everything concerning us, including the things that bring us shame to speak of. In this phase of my life right now, I am asking God to invade my heart and mind and pull anything that is hindering my relationship with Him to the surface, so we can cast it in the fire. I want our God to search me and see a vessel prepared for His habitation, because I want to be everything He has called me to be. Most of all, I want to lay myself bare before the Lord, so He sees me as I am, not as I want Him to see me. Today we are going to look at Psalm 139:23, allowing God the privilege of searching His children.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”
The word “search” means “to penetrate, to examine intimately”. This is a bold request, because it requires God to see exactly what is there, whether we like what it is or not. If we invite a friend to our home, we will tidy up as much as humanly possible to make a good visual presentation, but in this case, we are inviting a friend over to see our home as is. Ouch! In Job 31:4-6, the Bible says, “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.” See, God knows what is there already, but He is not going to force us to reveal ourselves to Him. This type of intimate examination is designed for people who desire God to “weed their gardens”, to identity things in there that don’t fit the picture God has for us. It is almost as if we are asking God, “Please, get in our business and show us our faults so we can remove them from our path.” In 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, the Bible says, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” We want God to examine us intimately to weed out what’s not supposed to be there, but also so God can see His Spirit at work within us. God wants to search us and see our desire for His presence.
“And know my heart”
The word “know” is a term of intimacy, becoming “one flesh” with what we know. In this case, we are to desire that God becomes one with our hearts. The word “heart” is “the inner person, the seat of our emotions”. In Psalm 26:2-3, the Bible says, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.” This examination is also to assure ourselves to God that our hearts are the way He desires. We want to have hearts that please the Lord, and we want our God to know us as deeply as possible. In John 10:14, the Bible says, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” God knows us but there is something beautiful when we His children open our hearts to God, and desire Him to know us. In Revelation 3:20, the Bible says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The door is to our hearts, and God will never force Himself inside. If we open the door, He will come and become one with us.
“Try me, and know my thoughts”
The word “try” means “to test or investigate”. In Proverbs 17:3, the Bible says, “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.” Refinement burns off the impurities that taint our value and hinder our growth. Not only do we want God to intimately examine us, and become one with us, but we also want God take anything that’s not of Him and burn it away. The word “thoughts” means “anxieties, disquieting ideations”. In Psalm 55:22, the Bible says, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” When we allow God access to that unsightly stuff inside of us, we are giving to Someone who is beyond capable of replacing it with something spiritually healthy, something that will allow us to grow beyond our wildest imagination.
What will God see if He intimately examines us? What things within us need a one way trip to the fire?
Apr 15, 2021 – James 1:4 – but let patience have her perfect work
A process is defined as “continued development involving many changes”. Those changes can be pleasant and some can be unpleasant, but the process has a design to make the person going through it stronger. Our faith walk is one huge process, where we face different variables, different tests, and it is all designed to make us stronger believers, wiser believers, more complete believers. The key is seeing the process all the way through, which is extremely hard to do. How many of us have given up right before our breakthrough would’ve come for us? How many of us have wanted the reward without the process it takes to obtain it? God wants His children to trust in Him to see us through everything we face without choosing a way out when it gets rough. Patience is definitely a virtue, and it is not a quality for the weak. He wants us to rely on His strength and His direction when we are uncertain, and know that we will be rewarded for our endurance. Today, we will look at James 1:4, the completion of patience.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
The word “patience” means “endurance, perseverance, and constancy under suffering in faith and duty”. We are to “LET patience”, which means we have to surrender our desires to control everything that comes our way. This requires trust, and God wants us to trust Him in the face of all circumstance. In Isaiah 26:3-4, the Bible says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength”. We need peace to remain still in the faith of a test of patience. A storm was raging and Christ was asleep on a pillow, but the disciples were panic-stricken, and fearful of death. If they would’ve trusted the word Christ gave them in Mark 4:35, which says, “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side”, they would have allowed fear to have reign over their faith. I love the word “constancy” in the definition of patience because a person who is constant in the Lord is someone who cleaves to the Word of God no matter how it looks. In Jeremiah 17:7-8, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” A tree planted means that we are there to stay, and a tree planted by the waters means we don’t have to rely on rain or any outside elements because where we are planted will naturally sustain us. God wants believers rooted and planted in Him, people who only see Him in the face of challenge and not the challenge.
The phrase “perfect work” means “a completed process”. This means we have to see it all the way through! There are no short cuts in the kingdom of God. In Philippians 1:6, the Bible says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” We have to place our confidence in the Lord that He will finish the work He began in us. We make the mistake in actually thinking we are the ones working the process, but we aren’t. God is working the process in us! We just have to continue seeking Him, seeking to plant His Word in our hearts, and be prepared to learn what we need to glean from the process. That is why we have to LET patience complete the process, or mature completely, because it is our God at work within us!
“The ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”
There are rewards for letting patience have its perfect work. The word “entire” means “whole in a spiritual and moral sense”. In Colossians 1:10-11, the Bible says, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”. God wants us to endure the tests to our patience because He desires for us to bear fruitful in all we do, to know Him and His word more, and receive strength to face any level of opposition we may face. “Wanting nothing”, means “lacking nothing”. In 2 Timothy 3:17, the Bible says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” God desires for His children to have everything we need to live for Him. In Luke 22:35, the Bible says, “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.” There is no place the Lord will send us, no thing the Lord will allow us to go through, where we would lack what we needed to overcome. It’s our job to see the whole process through!