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You Are Not Alone

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Some of us are like Martha. She received Jesus into her home. We received the gift of salvation. We asked him to come into our hearts. Our bodies became His home, but then we stopped right there.

We received him as our Savior, but we never received him as our Friend, Deliverer, Shepherd or Healer. We never learned how to trust or depend on him because for most of our lives we’ve been trying to ‘fix it’ in our own strength. What are some of the things we were trying to fix? The people that we hurt. The past that we couldn’t let go of. Or we tried to fix or fill the emptiness and loneliness we feel at times.

Martha was in the kitchen one day trying to fix some things and the more she tried, the more troubled and worried she became. She was trying to please Jesus with her works, but all he wanted to see was her faith.

Like Martha, we have either blamed God or blamed people when things didn’t go the way that we thought they should. She was upset because she thought Jesus didn’t care and she was upset that Mary left her to serve alone.

Martha was burdened, anxious and troubled because of Who she left, not because of who she thought left her. This is exactly what happens when we spend less and less time with God through prayer and reading of His word. She invited Jesus into her home, yet she never spent any time with him and when she finally spoke to him, it was only because she had had enough, she was frustrated, and she wanted help. Tell her to help me (Luke 10:40). But what Martha tried to get from her hand, Mary got at Jesus’ feet.

The areas where Martha felt ‘alone’ were the areas that she refused to give to God. Those are the areas that we refuse to trust God with. Those are the areas that we don’t allow God to fill with His Spirit.  She didn’t understand it then and sometimes we miss it too, but what we do FOR God, can only be done WITH God.

You are not alone.  

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Make Me

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make: to prepare; to cause a person or thing to become something

Caleb was 40 years old when God made a promise that he and Joshua would possess the land. The ten spies, whose report caused all of the congregation to complain against God, died immediately, but He let Caleb and Joshua live (Numbers 14:36-38).

It had been forty five years since the promise was made, but Caleb held fast all those years. He didn’t let go and he didn’t give up until Joshua blessed him. At the age of 85, he reminded Joshua of what the Lord promised him through Moses. But my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went and his seed shall possess it (Numbers 14:24). He reminded Joshua how he followed the Lord, how his faith pleased the Lord. Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it (Numbers 13:30).

And when he was finish presenting his case, he told Joshua, Give me this mountain that the Lord spoke of on that day. He didn’t beg Joshua for it because he knew that what he was asking for belonged to him. So, Joshua blessed him and gave him his inheritance.

When was the last time you put God in remembrance of His word? When was the last time you proved Him? When was the last time you presented your case to Him? When was the last time you pleased Him? But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

God didn’t keep and preserve Caleb all those years for nothing. He was still alive because the promise was still alive. But just like Caleb knew what God said, we must know what God said through His word.  He also knew that the word he heard was for him and his seed and he believed.

An heir is one who receives what is allotted to him through sonship. The word, child, comes from the greek word, nepios, which means an immature Christian, one who is untaught or haven’t grown in spiritual understanding and power. Caleb had the attitude and character of an heir, not a child.

Maybe the reason why some of us haven’t received what has been promised to us yet is because although we are heirs, we are still a child in certain areas (Galatians 4:1). As parents, there are certain things that we would never entrust to our children until they were mature enough for it. And as the children of God, many of us are asking for things, but we aren’t ready for the things we are asking for.

When the younger son asked his father for the portion of goods that belonged to him, the father gave it to him only for him to squander it foolishly. But he learned through what he went through that he should have said, Make me (Luke 15:19) before he said, Give me (Luke 15:12).

We’re asking God to give us things (and that’s fine), but let us ask God to make us for what He wants to give us.

Deliver Us

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The children of Israel cried to God because they were tired of their condition. They cried because they wanted to be free. All they knew was sorrow, but they longed to know joy. They wanted to be delivered, but the thing they wanted to be free from would not let them go.

When God sent Moses to deliver His people, Moses didn’t address Pharaoh one time and then they were set free. He had to keep speaking and commanding Pharaoh to let them go before deliverance took place. No, it wasn’t easy, but just because something seems hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible.

Pharaoh knew that his time was up so he used tactics such as not supplying the straw Israel needed to build bricks, but still expecting them to make the same number of bricks. He wanted to discourage them. He wanted them to give up because he knew their deliverance was near.

Israel is my son, even my firstborn. Let my son go that he may serve Me (Exodus 4:22). When God had enough, He had enough. Because Pharaoh refused to let His firstborn go, God took his firstborn son. What held Israel in bondage for over 400 years finally let them go, but it took a strong hand (Deuteronomy 26:8).

As long as the children of Israel did what he wanted them to do, it was fine, but the moment they decided they no longer wanted to serve him, Pharaoh wanted to destroy them. So, Pharaoh gathered his army and chased them. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust be satisfied upon them. I will draw my sword. My hand shall destroy them (Exodus15:9).

The Lord divided the sea with His strength (Psalm 74:13). The waters were a wall to Israel on the right and on the left so that they could walk on dry ground. But when the Egyptians went after them, those same walls fell on them. He took the wheels off their chariots and destroyed Pharaoh’s chariots, horseman and all of his army. Not one of them survived.

The reason why Pharaoh wanted to keep Israel in bondage was because he was afraid of them. He knew what they would do to him if they were free. And he (Pharaoh) said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them lest they multiply and it come to pass when there fall out any war, they join also unto our enemies and fight against us and so get them up out of the land (Exodus 1:9-10).

Today, God calls you what he called the children of Israel. You are His son, you are His daughter and enough is enough. Some say they’ve been called to preach, some say they’ve been called to teach, but we have all been called to freedom (Galatians 5:13). God just doesn’t want us to be saved, but He wants us to be free so that we may serve Him with our whole heart. He wants you to be free from sin, fear, shame and free to worship, praise, laugh.

Your adversary is afraid of you because you are a threat to him. He sets traps and builds strongholds to keep you distracted, to keep you from becoming who God called you to be. He wants you to serve sin and to please your flesh so that you will never please God. He knows he has lost, but he wants you to think he’s winning.

It will take a strong hand, but he will let you go and every spirit that should not be in you, will come out of you and will enter you no more (Mark 9:25). Nothing could hold Jesus in the grave and nothing will be able to hold you – not past hurts, disappointment, shame, unforgiveness, or past sins. God wants us to be free from every weight, distraction, hindrance and from the sin that easily trips us up so that we not only run the race, but we finish the race.

Deliver us, Lord.

Who Cares?

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care: look after and provide for the needs of others; to be concerned; to make provision

As I watched TV over the weekend, I saw people being saved and rescued during Hurricane Florence. Everyone made themselves available. These were different groups of people. Rescue teams. Police officers. EMS. Volunteers. Hospital employees. Line crew. Some of the people who came to help those in the Carolinas were from different states. Neighbors checked on one another (and I don’t mean the person who lives near you). Shelter, food and clothing were provided.

Everyone didn’t know each other, but they helped one another. No one cared about their race, education or religion. No one cared if they were a Republican or a Democrat. They thought more of others than they did themselves. They gave their time. They put themselves in danger to save someone else from danger.

I read where sixteen people – strangers – across the United States donated money to help a woman from South Carolina evacuate with her seven rescue dogs. Even though this woman already has a vehicle with over 200,000 miles on it, she feared breaking down on the side of the road. The initial plan was to purchase a vehicle for this woman, but when that fell through, someone suggested renting a van. Because they came together with a common goal without strife or division, this woman was able to evacuate to her family in Tennessee and not abandon her dogs.

It made me think about the early church in Acts 2:45 and how believers should be today. They didn’t look at the things they possessed as being their own, but they knew it belonged to God. They had what others needed. No one said, ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours’. Because they shared and gave what they had, no one had need of anything because their needs were met.

Some years ago, I quit my job without having another job to go to. I was unemployed for seven months. And one day, each member of the church I attend, became a blessing to me – a financial blessing. It wasn’t just adults. Children gave, too. And no one made me feel bad or ashamed about the poor choice I made. I wasn’t overlooked. I wasn’t forgotten. God saw me and He showed me (through them) how much He loved me – mistakes and all. What a display of love and compassion!

That’s what the world needs. Not everyone needs our money. Some people just need to be shown love. Some people need to know that God does care.  Some people just need to see this Jesus that we preach.

Who cares?

We should.

Be Real

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real: genuine, true, not pretending

And they that passed by reviled (taunted) him, wagging their heads and saying, You that destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself. If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him with the scribes and elders said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God. Let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God (Matthew 27:39-43).

Do you know what they were really saying to Jesus?

You’re not real. You are not who you say you are.

But that’s not true.

When Jesus told them that he came to save that which was lost, he did what he came to do (Matthew 18:10). Had he saved himself, you and I would have never been saved.

Jesus taught them about love and forgiveness. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). But he just didn’t teach with words. He also taught by example. During his crucifixion, they spat on him, hit him in the head with a reed and slapped him with the palms of their hands, but even while he was on the cross, he displayed love and forgiveness. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Matthew 26:67, Matthew 27:30-31, Luke 23:34).

He is not a fake, a hypocrite or a liar. He is the Truth (John 14:6). He isn’t like the scribes and Pharisees who said things, but didn’t do them (Matthew 23:3). Whatever Jesus told others to do, He did also. Whatever he preached, he practiced.

The world is tired of false prophets/teachers, counterfeits and fakes. They desire real and they are waiting on the ‘real’ you (and me). Jesus knew who He was/is. I am the Son of God. He knew why he was sent and he finished the work that his Father gave him to do.

May we desire to be real.

May we also discover who we are in Christ and not only do the works he did, but greater.

 

Get Rid of It

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I’ll admit it. I like nice things so if someone wants to buy me something nice, I’ll take it.

Well…

The Lord wanted me to get rid of it – not because of what it was, but because of who it came from. I’ll give you a good example of what I mean. If a married man buys a single woman a gift without his wife having knowledge of it, that’s wrong and God is not pleased. In fact, God doesn’t have brides. He has one bride – the church and he’s faithful and true to His bride.

I’m not saying that the Lord doesn’t use people to bless us, but He doesn’t hide or lie about what He does. His blessing makes one rich and there is no sorrow added to it. When the enemy gives you something, sorrow comes with it. Maybe not immediately, but it will come. Also, what he gives comes with strings attached. All these things I will give you IF you will fall down and worship me (Matthew 4:9). There is something he expects in return and the thing he wants is more valuable than things. It is so valuable that it could not be purchased with money, but only with Jesus’ blood. And that’s you and your soul.

I wasn’t battling with obeying God. My mind was made up. As soon as I got home, those gifts were leaving my house, but then I realized I didn’t have the money to buy it myself.

Then the Lord said, I can afford you.

I laughed so hard and I felt so silly.

Of course, He can afford me. He made me and He is able take care of me.

So, yeah. I got rid of the gifts and I’m happy – because I obeyed God.

He Would Never Hurt You

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I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Some years ago, I asked God, Why?

Why did YOU allow this? Why didn’t YOU stop it?

Not only did I blame God for the things that people did to me, but I blamed him for the things that I did to myself. I thought that this shouldn’t have happened and that shouldn’t have happened. I was upset and hurting.

And when I was finished speaking, God spoke.  

I would never hurt you.

I was reminded of the man who was blind from birth. It would have been one thing if he had been born with sight and then one day he lost it, but he entered the world in that condition. Sounds unfair, huh? The scriptures didn’t mention his age, but he wasn’t a child anymore.  He was now a man. Therefore, he had been in this state for a long time. I’m sure he probably thought that because he was born this way that he would always be that way.

He didn’t see Jesus, but Jesus saw him (probably begging). And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth (John 9:1). The disciples immediately thought that either the man did something bad or his parents did. Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? They were looking for someone to blame because it had to have been someone’s fault.

But Jesus told his disciples that the man nor his parents sinned, but this was allowed so that the works of God and the power of God could be displayed. God wanted to show others what He can do. He wanted to show others what it looked like to be free.

I’m not telling you that I understand everything, or that I have things figured out, but I do know this. Even if it was my parents’ fault or my fault, God is still going to get the glory out of what I’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what that woman did or what that man did because there is a man called Jesus.

In the very near future, God is going to show others (through you and me) that what they thought was impossible is possible.  It is possible to be free from habits, addictions, sicknesses, wrong thinking and even people that you thought you could never get free from. God’s plan for you is good and people will know His goodness by what they see Him do in you. It is going to build their faith. It is going to give them hope. Some won’t believe, but some will and they are going to ask, How did it happen? And then they will know that they can be made whole, too.

The neighbors and they who before had seen him that he was blind said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he. Others said, He is like him. But he said, I am he. Therefore, they said to him, How were your eyes opened?

He answered and said, A man called Jesus.

 

[Scripture reference: John 9:1-11]