No Fear – Part 3

Numbers 35:24 – ‘then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments. (Verse 25) ‘So the congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge where he had fled, and he shall remain there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.

When a believer falls, fails, or messes up, we can find protection in the congregation. The Bible is about relationship, and God is a God of relationship. We have a relationship with God and with people. God gave His only Son to have a relationship with us.

The Relationships Of Refuge

The way God protects us is through relationships. These cities of refuge had no walls around them, no fence, and no guards. They were protected by the people that lived there, the congregation. God implements refuge in the congregation, through HIs people.

However, there are wrong replacements for relationships: Things Things cannot be a refuge for us. Things cannot replace relationships with people. Adam and Eve had a perfect environment and a perfect relationship with God. But yet they traded all that for a piece of fruit. People do this all the time. They trade a relationship for a “thing,” something bigger or better.

Here is a huge lie from the enemy that gets people to trade off their relationship for things: “I’m going to work harder and longer than I should, so my children can have the things I never had when growing up!” All the while neglecting the personal attention their family needs. Whoever said, “More money makes for a better life?” Children need their parents time, not 14 pairs of top dollar shoes or the latest electronic device.

A better life is a father and mother that shows love to their children and spends time with them. If the mother and father are working all the time for a bigger house, a better car, expensive clothes, who is going to raise and guide them in God’s love? No one will. The world will raise them according to the ways of this world.

Isolation

When people say, “I don’t need anyone but God,” it is a person that doesn’t trust anyone and has very few if any, relationships with others. If Satan can get people to stop trusting others, he can get them to stop trusting God by making them think everyone including God is against them.

Acts 2:42 – And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Verse 43) Then fear (awe or wonder) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

They focused on doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. Focusing on God’s word and prayer is how we develop our relationship with Him. The breaking of bread is how we develop our relationship with God’s people. Summed up: Relationship with God and relationship s with people is how we develop. These people saw signs and wonders, no doubt miracles, and this is how they did it. They stayed close nit and focused on all these things listed in Acts.

Unrighteous Relationships

Satan knows we all need relationships with people, but he tries to give us the wrong ones. We need relationships with godly people, not people that do the things we used to do before we were saved. We don’t need any relationship that is going in the wrong direction from where God wants us to go.

1 Corinthians 5:11 – But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother (believer), who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person. 

Why would the Apostle Paul tell us to not even eat with such a person that calls themselves a brother that does these things? Because their behavior will influence our behavior and also they will think that you approve of that behavior!

Scripture is very clear on this: If you call yourself a believer, and truly are, we are not to keep company with people like Paul just listed. Does that narrow down the friends and relationships a Christian can have? It sure does! We certainly don’t act all rude and uppity towards them, but we do not condone their sin. If we have close friends or family that is sinning and we know about it, we are to address that situation in a loving manner and if they reject what you are saying, then walk away and let them be.

Far too many Christians overlook this Scripture because they don’t want to deal with it. They are so afraid the other person will say that they are judging them. The principles were already set by God, but we are to tell the ones we are close to stop it or we can no longer be friends.

No one is perfect, but everyone is pointed in a direction. You are either going toward God or you are going in the opposite direction. There are no grey areas! Too many Christians like to straddle the fence. None of us can find perfect friends because we are not perfect either, but we can determine which direction we are going to walk in this life. We cannot continue to walk with someone who calls himself a Christian and lives in rebellion.

Now, what about friends or partnerships in business or even marriage with unbelievers?: 2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

I don’t hear many sermons on the relationships we are to have or not have with the lost. But from this Scripture, we are not to have close relationships with unbelievers, let alone marry one. This does not mean we are not to be “light” and “salt.” We should be influencing them, not the other way around. We don’t step into their environment, we ask them to step into ours.

However, here lies the problem: If a person is only a Christian on Sunday around other Christians, they will never convince a lost person to follow Jesus. Our lifestyle has to match what we believe, every day! We need to be the same in front of all people all the time, including the workplace.

Replacing Religion for Relationship

Religion can become a replacement for relationships. There was no religion in the Garden of Eden. There were no rituals; no form; no regulation; only a relationship with God. Religion is about fulfilling requirements so a person doesn’t have to deal with their heart. Religion says, “If I fulfill these requirements, I don’t have to change on the inside!” And that is exactly what Jesus was always confronting the Pharisees about. He told them, “You fulfill all these laws and requirements, but neglect the matters of the heart!” They looked good on the outside doing all the rituals, but they were dead on the inside.

Religion tells people if they fulfill the requirements, then they are right before God. Not so, because religion doesn’t deal with the sin issue. There is no power in praying to a statue or making a sign across the chest. There is no power in holding “beads” in your hand when you pray. There’s no power in reciting prayers printed on a card. There is power in the name of Lord Jesus Christ and Him only.

The power comes from God’s Holy Spirit and a relationship with Him and His people. People are not Christians unless God has changed their heart. God doesn’t have a problem in dealing with our sin. He has a problem dealing with people who will not be honest in dealing with their own sin because the sin issue was dealt with on the cross.

When we stay close to God, He will stay close to us and that relationship will be a place of refuge and drive out any fear a person might have. We were created for a relationship with God and God’s people.

“Love the Lord thy God with all your soul, mind, and strength, love your neighbor as yourself is the whole law!”

 

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No Fear – Part 2

Any refuge that we have other than God, is a bondage and a prison. God is our only refuge and strength,…(Psalm 46:1-3) In Numbers 35, God gives the Israelites laws to live by when they enter the Promised Land. This chapter talks about “Cities of refuge” that God sets up.

Numbers 35:9 – Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (Verse 10) “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, (Verse 11) ‘then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. (Verse 12) ‘They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment. (Verse 13) ‘And of the cities which you give, you shall have six cities of refuge. 

(Verse 14) ‘You shall appoint three cities on this side of Jordan, and three cities you shall appoint in the land of Canaan, which will be cities of refuge. (Verse 15) ‘These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, that everyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there.

(Verse 16) ‘But if he strikes him with an iron implement, so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. (Verse 25) ‘So the congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge where he had fled, and he shall remain there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. (Verse 26) ‘But if the manslayer at any time goes outside the limits of the city of refuge where he fled, (Verse 27) ‘and the avenger of blood (the nearest relative of the one that was killed) kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood,…’ “

There are six cities of refuge and there were three on each side of the Jordan. Two in the north, two in the middle, and two in the south. God designed these cities so that if anyone killed someone accidentally and they could go to one of these cities in a half-days walk.

This shows that every person had equal access to a place of refuge. Every person has equal access to God. He doesn’t play favorites because all His children are His favorites. He doesn’t hear one person’s prayer over another. These cities were detailed because God wants us to know, He cares about every detail of our lives. God gave detailed laws so that sinful people could live in harmony.

Rules of Refuge

If you noticed when you read Numbers, the refuge was for those who had accidentally killed someone. The one that had intentionally killed someone was put to death. The refuge is for the righteous. God said if you want to get your prayers answered; if you want to live in peace; if you want to live in safety; if you want to live in protection, then refuge is for the righteous. Refuge is not for the person who wants to continue in their sin. So, who are the righteous?

The definition of the “righteous” from the Bible: Right standing with God. Not right acting, right standing. God by His grace causes us to be in right standing with Him if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. When we become a believer, we are in right standing with God. However, as a believer, we still sin and can run away from God. But when a person consistently persists in sin, they are leaving the city of refuge! They are going out on there own and have lost the protection of refuge.

For instance: God says that when we tithe, He will rebuke the devourer for us. So when a person doesn’t tithe, they willingly take themselves out of the city of refuge. But then when something bad happens, they want to blame God. They’ll blame God for not protecting their finances. But they are the ones that intentionally walked out of His refuge.

Satan is the devourer, not God, so don’t blame bad things that happen on God when a person intentionally walks out from under that umbrella of refuge – protection. If a person is walking in sin, they are not walking in righteousness. We have no fear when we walk with integrity and righteousness, only the one walking in sin has fear because they know they are not walking in right standing with God.

Refuge is also not for the rebellious.

Isaiah 48:22 – “There is no peace,” says the LORD,” for the wicked.” A person that walks in rebellion, even for the believer, will have no refuge, no peace for themselves!

Here’s what God said would happen if the person leaves the city of refuge. The avenger is going to catch them. Who’s the avenger? First of all, the avenger is executing righteousness and judgment. The avenger is right in the judgment he executes. So who is he? God! God says “Vengence is Mine (Deuteronomy 32:35).” This is also in Romans 12:17-19.

So when a person runs from God, outside the place of refuge, they are being chased by two people, God, and the devourer! Not a very good position to be in. God chases us as a loving Father trying to get us back in the place of refuge. Satan is after our destruction. God “acquits,” Satan “accuses (Revelation 12:10)!” Satan is the accuser of the brethren. God convicts, but Satan condemns.

Please understand: If you are running from God, He wants to catch you and bring you back under His protection before the accuser catches you! Remember this also; God is omnipresent and you can’t run from Him.

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus says the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. ” But you would not, (Verse 16) and you said, “No, for we will flee on horses” – therefore you shall flee! and, “We will ride on swift horses” – therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!

That’s rebellion! God is our refuge and strength. We have a choice when we are in trouble, either run to God or run in the opposite direction and get caught by the devourer. When we make a mistake, get to the city of refuge. Get to the throne of Grace!” People need to understand that they are open prey when they leave the city of refuge. When people run from God, they become physically, mentally, emotionally, exhausted. No rest and no peace.

Our refuge is a “high safe place.” Psalm 24:3 – Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His Holy place? (Verse4) He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. (Verse 5) He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from God of his salvation.

Clean hands refer to our relationship with other people; pure heart refers to my relationship with me. An idol and not swearing deceitfully refers to how we treat God. Clean hands refer to “there’s no blood on my hands,” not hating anyone. Not treating family or others wrong. We cannot treat people badly and still have a good relationship with God!

Pure heart refers to how I’m treating myself. Am I being honest about sin or how I treat people? Honesty with one’s self is huge! Honesty would include sin or how we treat people. Honesty will also make God our only refuge and strength.

Remember, the Avenger is God and in Hebrew, about 90% of the time the word “avenger” refers to “Redeemer,” and the Redeemer refers to the “near kinsmen.” In the book of Ruth, he’s called the “Near Kinsman Redeemer.”

God is and always will be our refuge and strength!

 

No Fear – Part 1

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Verse 2) Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

The reason we shouldn’t fear is that God is our refuge! A refuge is an “elevated fortress.” It’s a high place that is so guarded and so protected that if you go there, you are completely protected from all of your enemies. There are many synonyms for refuge; fortress, high place, tower, rock, and strong habitat. All of these refer to what God is for the Christian.

Everyone needs a refuge and everyone has a refuge. Here’s how you know: Where do you go when you’re stressed? Where do you go when you need to get away from everything? If people choose the wrong refuge, that refuge will let you down. Here are some results of choosing the wrong refuge:

Distance – If a person goes to anyone or anything before going to God for their need, more than likely, it is not going to work out. God has promised not to ever leave us, but when people put other things before Him, it causes distance. When someone goes to another to meet all their needs, we call that “Spiritual adultery.”

Disappointment – Satan is a false comforter. The Holy Spirit is the true Comforter. A depressed person is a person who’s been going to the wrong person for refuge. Most of the time, they think a “drug” can fix their emotions. They are looking for something that cannot give them strength or help.

Destruction – Eventually a person will destroy themselves and everything around them when they choose the wrong refuge. Whatever a person’s refuge is, they will serve. For instance: If money is a person’s refuge, they have to work for it, protect it, and it will never satisfy because it’s never enough. 

Now for choosing the right refuge:

Strength – God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble. God is the One that can get us through any situation. Any refuge other than God can drain our strength. I know it’s hard not to think about a situation all the time, but if we continue to dwell on it, our own minds can put us in a fit. Pray about it, and give it to God and don’t take it up again. 

Help – God is our very present help in time of trouble. Do you know why He is our help? Because: Psalm 46:7 – The LORD of host is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. God lives inside of every believer and you can’t get any closer than that! That’s how present He is.

The result in making the LORD our only hope for fear is because: “Though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar, though the mountains shake with its swelling,” ‘I shall not be moved.” ‘ No fear for Thou art with me!

Look at how sutle the enemy is: When a person goes to the wrong refuge, he whispers in their ear, “Don’t go to God, He’s mad at you and won’t help you this time.” What a lie! Don’t ever be afraid to go to God. That perfect love will cast out all fear. How? Because God is love and He loves us!

Isaiah 26:3 – You (God) will keep him (me and you) in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You! Because he trusts in You.

 

Amen!

Amen is a universal word. We’ve all said it or say it on regular bases. It is the same in every language. Amen is like another universal word which is “Haliylua.” Amen is the same in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English. This word appears in the Bible 183 times, 30 times in the Old Testament and 153 times in the New Testament.

So, what does the word “Amen” mean? What is the popular definition? “So be it!” So be it what? What is the literal definition? How does the Bible use this word?

2 Corinthians 1:20 – For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

Without Christ, there are no promises of God. We have to look at several passages to get to the meaning of the word Amen.

Amen In The Old Testament

In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 27, the word amen appears 12 times. In Chapter 27, in Deuteronomy, God actually had the Israelites say amen to affirm a curse. Deuteronomy 27:14 – And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all men of Israel: (Verse 15) ‘Cursed is the one who makes any carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, “Amen!’

(Verse 16) ‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Verse 26) ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

This is right after the Israelites go into the Promised Land. Moses had some of the Levites stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people and he had some stand on Mount Ebal to curse Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. What is odd about this is that God didn’t have them say amen after the blessings were said but only after the curses.

It’s easy to agree with the blessing. When we read where if we do this, you will be blessed, and people shout “Amen!” Then God says if you do  “this” you’ll be cursed, but the people say nothing. It’s the opposite in these Scriptures. God had them say “Amen” if they did the things that would curse them.

So what is a curse? A curse is a consequence of disobedience! God doesn’t put a curse on us, it is a “law.” If you disobey the laws of God, there are consequences. It’s too easy to remember the blessings, but seem to forget the consequences to the disobedience of God’s laws.

When God had them say, “Amen” after He told them what would happen if they did certain things and there would be consequences, He wanted them not to do them, and agree with Him. If we understand that there are consequences for disobedience, then we understand not to do it! Most of the time, more times than not, when people, especially Christians, are disobedient to God’s laws, something bad happens.

Isaiah 65:16 – So that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth, and He who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My eyes.

The Hebrew translation and meaning in this verse for “Amen” is the word “Truth.” Amen means “truth!” When it is spoken, it means “I affirm.” What you are saying is true! He who blesses himself shall bless himself by the God of “Amen.” That is Amen in the Old Testament!

Amen In The New Testament

Amen in the New Testament is used 153 times. Two-thirds of the time Jesus is the One that says it. Most of the time, the word Amen is not translated “Amen.” Twenty-four of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, end with the word “Amen.” Jesus speaks “Amen” one hundred and six times. Half of this is spoken in the gospel of John.

Jesus did something no one else had done. He moved the Amen form the end of the sentence to the beginning. When Jesus speaks “Amen, it’s not written in our English Bibles as “Amen.” Here is what Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you!” The Old King James uses “Verily, verily.”

John 3:3 (New American Standard version) – Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The Old King James version says it like this: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” ( Other versions say, “Assuredly.”)

Amen and amen, means truth! Why did Jesus put it at the first of the sentence and why did He say it twice? Jesus wanted them to know that what He is about to tell them is “Truth.” Jesus tells them that He says nothing unless He heard or sees His Father do it first. Jesus came to the earth to establish “Truth!” The spirit confirmed the Word with signs following. If you believe it, say Amen! Amen is the truth! The Father wills it, the Son words it, and the Spirit works it and that’s the creative process.

The Amen Of God

Amen is much more than just a word. Keep in mind, it means truth. Amen is a person.

Revelation 1:8 – “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 

Revelation 3:14 – “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:” ‘

The Faithful and True Witness, is the Truth, Amen! Jesus is our Amen because Jesus Christ is Truth! If you affirm that then say, “Amen!” Jesus Christ is the Son of God – Amen! Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins – Amen! Jesus Christ rose from the grave – Amen!!

Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up!

Jesus tells us who He is and what He does in God’s Word!

2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (Verse 4) For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.

“Another Jesus” – Anyone that comes preaching a different Jesus other than what is in the Bible. This goes for a different spirit, which is other than the Holy Spirit, and those who have a different gospel. Paul says that he’s concerned the people might just tolerate it.

Do you believe a different Jesus is being preached today in churches? They are preaching a Jesus as “fire insurance” but doesn’t cause you to change your life and can’t help you with problems. When someone has been told that a person doesn’t have to repent and can keep on living any way they want, that’s another Jesus. That’s not the Jesus in Scripture! Jesus tells us who He is.

Luke 4:16 – So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. (Verse 17) And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written (Isaiah 61): (Verse 18) “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. (Verse 19) To preach the acceptable year of the LORD.”

(Verse 20) Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on HIm. (Verse 21) And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

This was a very well known messianic passage that the Jews knew. They knew that this passage was about the Messiah. Jesus grew up in Nazareth and was very well known. Until this time of reading the Scripture, He’s been only a carpenter in their eyes.

He walks right into the synagogue, reads that passage, and then looks at the crowd and says, “I’m the Messiah!” If we read on down to verses 28 and 29, those who had heard Jesus say that He was the Messiah, were filled with wrath and took Him outside the city to throw Him over a cliff. His first sermon at His own church didn’t go very well. However, in verse 30, Jesus just passed through the midst of them and went His way.

In the passage that Jesus read from Isaiah, we find the five foundational ministries of Jesus:

Salvation

Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor… (Verse 19) to preach or proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” This is Salvation!

2 Corinthians 6:2 – For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Jesus is saying, “Because of what I’m going to do for you, now you can be accepted.” He came to preach the gospel, the “good news” to the poor. The word “poor” doesn’t mean “financially” poor. This is talking about being poor in spirit, bankrupt.

There are two main Greek words for the word poor: “penes” designates the working poor. They have little in material goods. But Jesus didn’t use that word. The word Jesus used is “Ptochos”, and that means the poor that are not able to work. They can’t provide for themselves. They might have been lame or sick. They sat in dark corners and put a cup out in front of them to beg. People who passed by could see the cup but not the person. Jesus used that Greek word for the word “poor” because He wanted them to know, “You can’t work for your salvation!” If God doesn’t have mercy on people then they are not going to make it. So, Jesus first ministry is to save us because we can’t save ourselves.

Inner Healing

Luke 4:18 – “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

He came to heal people’s heart, the seat of their emotions, shattered hearts. This is more than good advice, this is the good news of the gospel. Jesus can not only save us for the next life, but He can also heal our heart while in this life here on earth, and set free those who have been bruised or oppressed. A bruise is internal, and that bruise can actually hold a person in bondage. They can’t get past something. He is the one that can set free these people who have been hurt by the enemy. He can heal all hurts.

Freedom

Luke 4:18 – “to proclaim or preach liberty to the captives.” Jesus is also our deliverer. Christians can be in bondage. You can be saved and still be in bondage in an area. When a person is in bondage, the best way to tell is, they can’t control it. In any area that a person has, whether anger or lust or whatever and they can’t control it, they are in bondage. That spirit can be cast out by Jesus!

Healing

Physical healing: Luke 4:18 – “and recovery of sight to the blind.”

Matthew 8:16, 17 – When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, (Verse 17) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

1 Peter 2:24 – who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree… Did Jesus bear our sins on the cross? Yes, so why can’t people believe He bore our sicknesses when Scripture says so? Do you remember the lame man that was lowered through the roof because they couldn’t get through the crowd? Jesus tells the man his sins are forgiven. But the scribes and the Pharisees started debating who is this that can forgive sin. And Jesus replies: Luke 5:23 – “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?

So, which is easier for Jesus? Neither one is hard for Him. He does both! How did we receive forgiveness of our sins? By grace through faith. Grace first because its a free gift of God, but we received this grace by faith. God’s grace healed us from our sins.

So people ask, “How do we get healed? By grace through faith! The same way. People try to make this so hard to understand, but it’s not hard at all. Receive His grace and believe through faith in Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The Anointing Of The Holy Spirit

Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me”

Acts 10:38 – “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with HIm.” 

We know from Scripture that God anointed Him, but one of His ministries is to anoint us!

John 1:33 – “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

Jesus is the One who anoints or baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. John says, “This is the One who will totally immerse us in the Holy Spirit!” Jesus does more than just save us for heaven. He can help us now in any area we need help in. Are you in a church that only preaches salvation? Jesus is and has so much more to offer His children if we would open our hearts and eyes to the full gospel of Christ.

There is a real Jesus that not only can save you but heal you physically, heal broken hearts, set us free and anoint us with the Holy Spirit. He can do it all!

 

 

True Prophecy

Proverbs 15:23 – A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season how good it is! A word of prophecy spoken will be a word we needed to hear at that time and God knew it.

1 Timothy 4:14 – Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of hands of the presbytery.

Timothy wasn’t born with the gift of prophecy. He received this gift by the laying on of hands by the “elders.” I’m sure at one time or another that you have heard bad prophecies, but the people giving them are human and make mistakes. But God has been speaking through people from Genesis through Revelation and still speaks today.

True Prophecy Is Accurate

When God speaks through a person, it has to be accurate. These next passages are when Samuel, who learned to hear God’s voice from a young age, prophecied over Saul. To set the scene, Saul had gone to look for some donkeys that had gone missing. The men with him said, “Let’s go see if the prophet knows anything.” Now watch how accurate God is about Saul’s life.

1 Samuel 10:1 – Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said. “Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance?

This was given in private, but Samuel is anointing Saul as king. Samuel does it again publicly, but in private Samuel gives Saul a prophetic word from God.

(Verse 2) “When you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys and is worrying about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?” ‘ (Verse 3) “Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine.

(Verse 4) “And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands. (Verse 5) After that, you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. (Verse 6) “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.”

How accurate and precise is that? Samuel had prophesied to the last detail. When God speaks and we agree, then God’s word has the power to change our lives and others! When God wants something, He speaks!

True Prophecy Is Encouraging

1 Samuel 10:15 – And Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, please, what Samuel said to you.” (Verse 16) So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel said. 

If we back up to Chapter 9, we read where we are first introduced to Saul: 1 Samuel 9:2 – and he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome young man. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

Then Samuel comes to town and they said they are going to cast lots to see who becomes king of Israel. 1 Samuel 10:20 – And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. (Verse 21) When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found. (Verse 22) Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, “Has the man come here yet?” And the LORD answered, “There he is, hidden among the equipment.”

Saul was insecure and God knew it. Many of us think, “Could God really use me?” What Samuel said to Saul when he anointed him and then sent him on his way, was all said to encourage him. It encouraged him with every detail of whom Saul would see and what he was to do. When someone speaks a prophecy to you it will let you know that the All Mighty is thinking about you and cares enough to let you know what He is saying to you! When God encourages us, it puts courage in us.

True Prophecy Always Comes To Pass

1 Samuel 10:9 – And so it was when he turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.

Saul didn’t end up all that great, but for many, many, years, Saul was a great king. So don’t take one failure, and write them off.

Joshua 21:45 – Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

If you need to hear from God, be still and let God speak!

 

Jesus Last 3 Days

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday

What we believe about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection make all the difference for our future. Friday begins on Thursday at sundown.

1 Corinthians 15:3 – For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (Verse 4) and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,… That’s the Gospel!

The First Day

On Thursday night Jesus eats the Passover meal with His disciples and then they go to Gethsemane where Jesus prays. Then He pulls Peter, James, and John a little way from the others, and tells them to watch and pray. Jesus comes back three times to check on them and finds them asleep, but on the third time, He says His hour has come. This very well could have been around midnight.

Then Jesus is arrested. So from around midnight to around 8:30 in the morning, Jesus went through six trials; three Jewish trials and three Roman trials. He was tried by Annas, and then taken to Caiaphas and then taken to the Sanhedrin council. Then somewhere around 6:00 AM, they took Him to Pilate, and Pilate sent Him to Herod and Herod sends Him back to Pilate and tried Him again.

In the three Jewish trials, Jesus is found guilty of blasphemy. In the three Roman trials, He’s found innocent. Pilate even said, “I find no fault in Him.” Then Jesus is blindfolded, spat upon, a crown of thorns is placed on His head, a purple robe is put on Him and then He is mocked and slapped. He was beaten by Pilate’s soldiers and Herod’s soldiers and Jewish soldiers. So He is physically beaten at least three times.

Some people don’t realize what all was done to our precious Jesus before He was even crucified. This is what our Saviour went through to die for you and me!

John 19:1 – So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. (Verse 2) And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. (Verse 3) Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. (Verse 4) Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

The scourging alone should have been enough to have killed Him. The whip had a wooden handle that had leather thongs coming out and on the ends, it had small bones and metal balls tied to it. The victim was tied to a post and flogged on their backside. This was the most feared punishment anyone could imagine. With each strike, the flesh was ripped from the body. The Romans took great pleasure in this when using it to threaten a riotous crowd if they didn’t calm down. The Romans had no limit to the number of lashes they could give a victim.

The New Testament does not tell us what Jesus looked like after He was scourged, but Isaiah does. (The Living Translation) Isaiah 52:14 – But many were amazed when they saw Him. His face was so disfigured He seemed hardly human, and from His appearance, one would scarcely know He was a man.

They took Him from the scourging and then crucified Him: John 19:31 – Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for the Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. (Verse 32) Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. (Verse 33) But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. (Verse 34) But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

John 19:36 – For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” (Also Psalm 34:20) (Verse 37) and again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” (Also Zech. 12:10; 13:6)

Isaiah 50:6 – “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.”

The Roman soldiers drove nails in His wrists and in His feet. That spike was five to seven inches long and it was nailed between two arteries in the wrist. Then they put another spike in the top of His feet, one on top of the other.

On the cross, there was no seat to sit on and no platform for His feet to push up on and take a breath. His entire weight rested on the three spikes. When a person is hanging like this, the person can inhale, but they cannot exhale. In order to exhale, they have to pull themselves up, pushing with the feet and pulling with the arms. This is why the soldiers would break their legs, so they couldn’t push up with them and they died quicker. Also, it would be too hard to pull themselves up with their arms extended out. Every time Jesus breathed, for six hours, He would have to raise His body up, all the while it was raw meat exposed on His back because of the scourging.

When the soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs, they said He was dead, so they took a spear and pierced Him. Blood and water came rushing out. The cause of the physical death of Jesus was “Cardiac rupture.” His heart burst! All of this happened on that first day, Friday.

The Second Day

Jesus was buried on that first day. That’s how we get three days. He is buried on Friday before the sun goes down. He’s in the tomb, guards are posted, and a stone is placed in front of the tomb and sealed. This was a huge boulder and took many men to move it in front of that tomb. This represents “finality.” They did all this so that no one could say, “He’s alive.” Otherwise, it sounds silly to us to place guards and seal the entrance with a huge stone to keep a dead man from escaping.

The Third Day

Resurrection! An angel shows up, right at daylight and rolls away the sealed stone. One angel! And when Satan eventually gets thrown into the bottomless pit, it’s only one angel that does that too. Angels are powerful! This angel rolls away this stone and sat on it (Matthew 28:2). The angel did this in front of the guards.

Matthew 28:4 – and the guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. These guards went back into the city and reported what had happened. Then Jesus comes out and appears to Mary, then appears to some other women that were coming to prepare His body. Then He says for them to go tell His disciples because He is coming to meet with them.

John 20:19 – Then, the same day at evening (Sunday evening), being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus had a resurrected body. It was a heavenly resurrected body. That’s why He could come through that shut door. A person either believes that Jesus died, was buried and rose again or a person cannot be saved.

Romans 10:9 – if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You must believe in the resurrection!

If you ever start to think that God doesn’t care about your situation, then you need to be reminded of what all Jesus went through to make it possible for you to have that abundant life and spend all eternity with Him. No one living or that has lived could or ever will do for you what Jesus did and is doing!