Still or Moving (Part Two)

Hope is good; faith is better.  Hope feels good.  Faith pleases God.  You choose.

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John 5:2 – Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

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In the passage around our Text for Today, those needing healing would be brought to the pool of Bethesda to await the coming of an angel in a certain season to trouble, or as some would say, to move upon the water.  Whenever that happened, the first person who got in the water after it was troubled received his/her healing.  But the second person just got wet.   Now while those who stayed around the pool of Bethesda were healed ONLY if they were first into the water when it was troubled, and that only as an angel would come in a certain season, there were many other healings taking place in Israel, especially anywhere Jesus was found.  And in those places where Jesus was found, we often read, NOT that He only healed the first person who came to Him, but that Jesus “healed them all.”  It made no difference what the season was, or how many there were, or the order in which they came, Jesus “healed them all.”

Sadly, there are still many people who yet today believe that healing is just for a select few, and that is as the Lord wills, when He wills, and where He wills.  Oh that their eyes would be opened wide to the truth of the New Covenant!  Folks like those I’ve mentioned don’t really believe they have anything to do with healing being manifest in their lives.  Oh that they could see!  Are you a child of God?  If you are, Jesus is with you, for He has promised to never leave nor forsake you.  If Jesus is with you, so is the Word that Father sent to heal you and deliver you from your destructions, for Jesus is the Word made flesh.  And Jesus is NOT waiting to heal you at a certain season.  In fact, the season for healing for all people began at the cross where Jesus bore our sins in His body, and by Whose stripes we WERE (that’s past tense; it’s already done) HEALED.  We do not follow after a Lord Who only heals a few folks of certain ailments at certain times, but we should bless the Lord with all our soul, for He heals ALL OUR DISEASES.  So my dear friend, you can wait for some “special event” to come, POSSIBLY bringing your healing, or you can call on the Name of the Lord Who is worthy to be praised, Who ALWAYS has healing in His wings, ALLthe time, in ALL places, for ALL diseases/sicknesses, for ALL who call upon His Name. 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; John 8:29; Hebrews 11:6; John 1:1-14; 1 John 5:7; Psalm 23;          John 7:38-39; Psalm 107:20; 1 Peter 2:24; Psalm 103:1-4

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Still or Moving

The Healing Waters of the Lord work, whether still or moving.

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John 5:2 – Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

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Our Text for Today is part of a very familiar event in the life of Jesus in which He healed a cripple man at the pool of Bethesda near the sheep market.  In my lifetime and history in the church, I have heard all kinds of surmisings around this event, but I choose to keep it as simple as possible.  But in that simplicity, there are some constraints that I apply.  I believe that EVERYTHING Jesus did had a message in it; a point of truth that Father desires to reveal through the actions of Jesus and the outcome of those actions.  That is one of my strongest reasons for believing it is ALWAYS the will of God to heal everyone at all times.  Sadly, the will of the Lord is NOT always accomplished, for it is the will of God that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  Yet multitudes fall into hell each and every day.

Let’s look today at two plain elements pertaining to the will of God.  The pool of Bethesda represents “still waters” by which the good Shepherd leads His sheep to a safe place to drink of the good Word of God.   Remember, Jesus was the Word made flesh, and as He came walking by that day, He came as Moving Water of the Word of God that cleanses and makes whole.  Now with that in mind, consider the scenario as Jesus came to the pool of Bethesda that day.  You know the story.

At the pool of Bethesda, healing only took place when the pool waters were “troubled,” and only the first person into the pool was healed.  The still waters may have been beautiful, soothing, even cooling to many on a hot day, but until the waters were disturbed, there was not healing.  Jesus, the Word made flesh, the Moving Water, moved in on this man’s life and brought healing to him rather that forcing him to get to the moving water of the pool.  That’s the picture.  Now ask yourself this question.  Are you a pool, or are you a stream?  Do you sit and wait for those in need to get to you on those rare occasions when you are spiritually stirred, or do you move under the unction and leadership of Holy Ghost to deliver healing to those in need?  Which is it?  Don’t you think it’s time we followed Jesus’ example instead of waiting for something to follow us?  Oh yes, good things follow us, but only as we follow Jesus.   Take a walk today in your pre-ordained good works and deliver healing, especially when you come to Bethesda. 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; John 8:29; Hebrews 11:6; John 1:1 & 14; 1 John 5:7; Psalm 23;      John 7:38-39

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Directed

Jesus learned how to be led by Holy Spirit, and He lived by it.

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John 5:2 – Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

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I am continually amazed by the number of Christians I encounter who believe Jesus, in His earthly ministry, while He could not be omnipresent, still walked in omnipotence and omniscience.  Please don’t be disappointed or misdirected by my following statements.  Such thinking is erroneous.  When Jesus served in His earthly ministry, He did so as a prophet under the Old Covenant.  Yes, He was perfect, sinless, blameless, and always did those things that pleased His Father (Jesus was a faith man).  The Apostle Paul indicates in Philippians that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation.”  One translation reads that Jesus “emptied Himself of divine privilege.”  Consider His life as recorded in the Gospels.  Jesus did NOT know the fig tree had no figs on it, or the name of the possessing demon in the Gadarene.  Yes, there were things that He DID know, but supernaturally by the gifts of Holy Spirit when needed.  Examples off this; the woman at the well of Samaria, the foal tied for His triumphal entry, His disciples in distress, what He would do in feeding the 5,000, and more.

An accurate study of the life of Jesus would reveal to us specific, understandable, and doable guidelines to living a life of victory in Him.  Jesus was a man of the Word, speaking ONLY what pleased Father.  He was a man of prayer, often rising early, going off privately, and even spending whole nights in prayer.  He was a man living day to day, and on each of those days, seeking the will of His Father to perfectly please Him.  He was a man completely led by Holy Spirit.

Our Text for Today is glowing example of sensitivity to Holy Spirit.  The Jews were having a feast celebration.  People would be coming in multitudes to Jerusalem, ascending the hill to the city, singing songs of ascent as they entered by the main gates.  So why would Jesus leave that great company of believers to travel over rough terrain to enter by the sheep gate at the pool of Bethesda, just to get to one man?  He was led by Holy Spirit.  And it was His obedience to Holy Spirit that made the miracle the man’s healing at Bethesda a reality, and not just a good thought.  Oh how many good thoughts have we had that could have become reality if we were completely led by Holy Spirit?  We MUST BE DIRECTED. 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; John 8:29; Hebrews 11:6

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Make A Feast

It is only RIGHT for the HOST of an event to be PRESENT.  So it is with the HOST of hosts.

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John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

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In my lifetime, I have had the privilege to attend many social events.  Though on rare occasions, a host could not be present due to circumstances, when it was within his/her control, the host has ALWAYS been present.  Now while the host is usually very aware of his/her guests, and as a rule, does what he/she can to see to the comfort and satisfaction of the guests, the position, desires, requests, and needs of the host are ALWAYS considered.  Only ONCE in eternity has the Host totally set aside His Own desires.  Jesus, our Host for eternity, emptied Himself of divine privilege, made Himself of no reputation, took upon Himself the likeness of man for whom He died, set aside His will, became obedient unto the death of the cross.  But NOW, that same Lord and Savior, is alive again.  He has been resurrected, and as risen Lord has received all power in heaven and in earth.  He is now King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is not only Lord of the harvest, but Lord of the feast as well.  And He still attends feasts that are set in His Name, for His glory, according to His will.  In such feasts, His plan, purpose, position, and will become paramount above all else.

In our Text for Today, Jesus, operating under the Old Covenant, honored a feast established by His Father with His presence.  Jesus, Who never changes, still honors feasts established for His honor with His presence.  It is to that end I exhort you to make today a feast day to honor Him.  Prepare your house (your body), make it clean, and establish it for His honored presence.  Prepare the table (that “wine, milk, bread, and meat of life which you will serve to your guests).  Make sure the meal is clean, well prepared, and sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.  Invite your guests (those to whom you will minister today).  Become their servant, blessing them with your presence.  But in all you do, never, Never, NEVER fail to bring the Host of your feast to the focus of attention of your guest.  Failure to focus on the Host robs the guest of the blessing.  And when Jesus is present, the supernatural is available.  So make a feast with Jesus as the Host.  Those who attend will come again. 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17; Luke 5:17; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 13:8

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Life In the Word

If Jesus says it, that settles it!   Receive it!  Believe it!  Act on it! 

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John 4:53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

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Generally speaking, the average person can live about 40 days without food, about three days without water, and about three minutes without air.  However, from the standpoint of actually living life, one can live only seconds without hope.  They may continue to exist, but without hope, living ceases.  You see, real life has hope within it.  From a Biblical perspective, since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and since true hope and faith are inextricably conjoined, then one also requires faith to truly live.  Once again, how does faith come?  By hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  In short, the Word of God produces life in the believer; not just the existence of life-signs (breath, heart-beat, etc.).  I write of the life from which springs hope, dreams, vision, passion, and drive.  There is NOTHING else within the universal existence that can bring forth life as can the Word of God.  Since God and His Word are One, and since Jesus IS the Word made flesh, and since Holy Spirit is the Inspirer OF the written and spoken Word, we cannot separate between them.  They ARE ONE!

We are born again by the incorruptible seed of God’s Word.   God sent His Word and healed us and delivered us from our destructions.  The entrance of the Word brings light.  The Word is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet.  The Word of God is the very wisdom of God released in the earth by Holy Spirit as a guideline for living, and that Word in our mouth makes alive the truth that death and life are in the power of the tongue.  The Word of God is our washing to sanctification.  The Word of God is the seed to our life in faith, and being obedient to the Word of God is the love walk made alive that activates to the maximum our faith life.  In God’s Word is the Life of God, for His Word IS His Life.  Read it, study it, meditate upon it, speak it into every situation of life you encounter, embrace it, hold fast to is, obey it, feed your spirit man upon feast-levels of the Word every day of your life, pray the Word, and always act upon the Word as though your life depends upon it.  IT DOES! 

Manna for Today – John 4:46-54; Matthew 8:5-13; Psalm 107:20; Isaiah 55:11; Joshua 1:6-9; John 6:63

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Give Thanks

I am so thankful for what others have built, especially when I get to live in it.

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John 4:37-38 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.  I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.

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Though I did some construction work as a younger man, I am not a builder of houses.  Someone else built the house in which I live, and I am so thankful for it.  I am certainly not an engineer, so I don’t build automobiles.  Someone else built the automobile I drive, and I am so thankful for it.  I am not a mechanic, so I don’t service my automobile.  Someone else does that and I am so thankful for it.  I am not a doctor, an attorney, a policeman, or a firefighter.  Someone else fills those roles in my life, and I am so thankful for each of them.  I have had the joy of leading people to Jesus, of leading people to the baptism in Holy Ghost, of ministering healing, and even engaging in the working of miracles by the hands of Holy Spirit.  And for each of those treasured actions, I am eternally thankful.  In almost every instance in life in which I have been honored to serve the Lord, much of what was accomplished can be attributed to the labors of others who have both preceded or followed where I have been.  For each of those individuals, most of whom I have never met, and will likely never meet in this life, I am deeply thankful.

I witness daily some evidence to the great truth that the kingdom of God, the work of the kingdom, the sowing, tending, and harvesting in the kingdom is something far greater than I.  And for all that I am deeply thankful.  What am I saying?  It’s really quite simple.  While I have endeavored to remain faithful to the Lord and His kingdom, to the labors of that kingdom, and to the principles and doctrines of that kingdom, I fully realize that of the multitude of blessings that have come to me through that kingdom, many, if not most of them have come to me, not of my own doing or earning, but also through the faithfulness, obedience, and doing of so many others, far too many to name, and once again, many or most of whom I have never met.  And for that I remain daily thankful.  The never-ending mercies, the compassions that are new every morning, and the grace that has filled my life through the faith of the Lord Jesus abound to me.  And for that I am so thankful.  Where I sow, another reaps.  Where another has sown, I may reap.  I me be the privileged vessel through whom a miracle comes, while the seed that birthed that miracle may have been sown in generations past.  Oh how thankful I am!  I am sure your life resembles mine in many ways.  Give thanks, for so much that is in your life has come to your life, not by your own labors or wit, but by others who have preceded you, and by others who build on a foundation you may have laid.  Enjoy the blessings, and give thanks! 

Manna for Today – John 4:1-45; 1 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12; Genesis 22:17; Hebrews 6:14

 

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Do Your Job

Why would you ask the bass singer to sing tenor?  That’s the tenor’s job.

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John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

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Could it be that the harvest of souls we should be seeing in our churches is hindered by our own failure to not only fill the place Father has given us to fill, but in our failure to believe, to truly trust the Father to fulfill His Word as it relates to what He has sent us to do?  Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Does everyone prophesy?  Does everyone have the gifts of healings?  And of course, the answer to all those questions is a resounding “NO!”  Jesus certainly understood that not all of us are called upon the Lord to function in the same way.  If the entire body was an eye, how would we hear?  If the entire body was a hand, how would we walk?  Each of us has a place in the body of Christ, and it is in that place that we should abide and function.  It is there that we are anointed to function.  It is there that we are designed to function.  How much better would the body of Christ operate if we all simply functioned fully in the role to which we are called?

Think of Paul’s words on this topic.  He said, “I (Paul) planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase.”  In all probability, and likely certainty, there were multitudes of people who came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus and were born again from Paul’s teaching that he (Paul) never met, and certainly never saw them come to Christ.  When we consider the lifespan of the church, it is a certainty.  How many believers have come into the body of Christ since Paul’s death that came because someone else proclaimed God’s message based on the revelation Paul gave us?  Only a miniscule percentage of believers throughout the church age ever heard Paul speak, but we have all likely read his epistles.  So hear me, man or woman of God.  Though you may never have seen many people come to the new birth through your earthly ministry, do not disparage yourself.  Have you sown the seed of God’s Word wherever you have gone?  Have you been faithful in proclaiming the message of the risen Lord?  Continue faithful in your work, trusting the Lord for the outcome.  His Word WILL NOT return void.  It was sent to save, heal, and deliver.  You’re not the Savior, Healer, or Deliverer.  You are the messenger of that message.  Keep delivering the mail, stay strong in faith, trusting the Lord to honor His Word, and rejoice when you hear the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

Manna for Today – John 4:1-45; 1 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12; Hebrews 11:1-6; Isaiah 55:8-13

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Look and See

How often do we look at something and not see clearly what is before us?

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John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

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Please consider the words I write you today.  What good is sowing if there is no harvest?  What good is building a house if there is no one to occupy it?  Think about it.  In the writing of the Scriptures, it is evident that our Lord places great store in planting (sowing).  We must not deceive ourselves; whatever we sow, we shall reap, whether we like it or not.  The principle of the Lord can be seen in His miracle of the loaves and fish; “let nothing be lost.”  It is not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Yet many die without Christ daily and find themselves awakening in the torments of hell.  In the broader scheme of things, how many of them go there purely by choice because they heard the Word, had opportunity to turn, and yet rejected both the Lord and those He sent to them?  On the other hand, how many people are in hell today because someone with the divine assignment to go to that person refused the assignment to go to that lost person?  Oh, my friend, surely over that shall be much weeping when we stand before our Lord.

Almost everywhere I go, I hear believers raising their voices in discussion, and even in sermons from the pulpit, about the extreme corruption of today’s society and the world about us.  And yet so few hearers seem to busy themselves with the assignment given here by our Lord.  Are we looking and NOT seeing?  As I wrote earlier, surely the Lord places great store in sowing.  But He places, if not greater, at least equal emphasis on reaping (harvesting).  Oh how sad it is to sow the Word of God into the lives of unbelievers, and then leave that person without the influence of a harvester (reaper).  Consider once again the words of our Lord.  “Lift up your eyes.” (open your eyes for the purpose of seeing, not just looking).  “Look on the fields.” (we are told precisely where to look for what we need to see.)  “They (the fields) are white already to harvest.” (we are told what it is we are to see when we look on the fields.)  we’ve much work to do.  Never,NEVER stop sowing.  At the same time, we must increase our labor, intensity, and volume of work toward the harvest.  We must not only LOOK, but we MUST ALSO SEE! 

Manna for Today – John 4:1-38; Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2

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Manna for Today – John 4:1-38; Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2

EAT OFF YOUR OWN PLATE

Are you minding your own ministry business, or that of someone else?

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John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.

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How many Christians today busy themselves with the personal assignment of looking after the ministry of someone else?  Consider Jesus.  When He heard of someone else doing the true work of the kingdom of God, He was known to adopt the position that those who are not against you are for you, and so, He would leave them alone.

Now look closely at our Text for Today.  In the context of Jesus’ statement, His disciples had gone into a Samaritan town to buy food in their journey.  While they were gone, He was ministering, and when they returned, He said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish He work.”  Notice that it was a very personal statement, “My meat…”  Just as it was personal for Him, it should be personal for us.  YOUR MEAT is to do the will of the Lord Jesus Who has sent you just as the Father sent Him.  MY MEAT is to do the will of the Lord Jesus Who has sent me in the same manner.  I have NOT been sent to be a watch-dog over your ministry.  I don’t do it for you, and you don’t do it for me.  Why can we not simply learn to eat off our own plates?

Now I’m not talking about issues of accountability.  None of us can force accountability.  If a minister wants to hide and lie about his ministry, he will; but it will be discovered, now or later.  However, as a man of God, I choose to make myself accountable to my peers, my family, those over me in the Lord, and to my ministry.  And there are ministers who have chosen to make themselves accountable to me.  There is great safety in such a practice, and it should not be limited only to the five-fold ministry.  None of us, five-fold minister or layman, should be in the practice of judging the ministry/life of another while your own ministry/life goes undone or ill-done.  At issue here is an all-to-common practice among believers of going to judgment before going to prayer.  The Lord will direct you in your personal life and ministry decisions.  Focus on keeping your own house in order, and if the Lord will have you engage in helping another, He will open the door for it.  In the meantime, eat off your own plate. 

Manna for Today – John 4:1-38; Mark 9:40; John 14:12-14; John 17:18; John 20:21; Matthew 7:1-6

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WELL FED

As a true servant of the Lord, you’ll NEVER need to beg for food.

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John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

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I cannot tell you the number of times in my life I have been hungry, but I CAN tell you the number of times in my life when I have been forced to remain hungry because I had nothing to eat.  0; that’s ZERO.  You see, I believe the Bible, the Word of my Lord, and He has said through the Psalmist, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging for bread.”  Do with that what you will, but it has been a great source of comfort to me throughout my life, regardless of where I have traveled and ministered.  My God takes wonderful care of me, and because He is no respecter of persons, He will do the same for you.

Consider the words of our Lord in our Text for Today.  He was ministering to an adulterous woman who had five broken marriages.  He had sent His disciples away to buy food.  I can tell you, ministry takes energy, and yet, being physically hungry, He ministered to a woman in need while He waited on His disciples to return with food.  Yet when they returned to Him with food and bade Him eat, His response seemed to indicate a lack of hunger (see our Text for Today).

There is something in the presence of God in pleasing Him that can take the place of natural things, including food.  This is not to say one could live and never eat by engaging in ministry, but I am saying that doing the will of God can and will take care of many perceived needs in our life, if we will but give ourselves to the work at hand.  And if need be, our God will use supernatural means to sustain you physically.  He can turn stones to bread, water to wine, multiply small portions into feast quantities, cause fish to swim into nets and bite hooks, send quail, rain down manna, send ravens to feed you, and even have angels cook for you.  And of course, let us not forget the widows of Zarephath we encounter in life, and the homes of Mary’s and Martha’s along the way.  If ANYONE in this life should be well fed, it should be the child of God.  How about you, my friend?  Are you well fed?  If not, get to work.

 Manna for Today – John 4:1-38; John 5:1-14; Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 10:46-52; Hebrews 5:12-14; Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:25-34; 2 Thessalonians 3:10

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