Progressive Revealing

The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.  So I keep striving to learn.

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John 12:16 – These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

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The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.  But I am so thankful to the Lord, for despite may lack of knowing about so much, I have total confidence in His willingness and ability to teach me the things I need to know.  That creates a wonderful sense of peace for me about the future.  I may not always be satisfied about what I know at this moment, but I am totally content in the knowledge that Father knows.  I could state in the words that were the title of an old black-and-white television show of an era gone by, “Father Knows Best.”  And in the case of our heavenly Father, that is absolutely true in all things at all times.  And in that should be great peace for anyone who is a child of God.

In the understanding I have just shared is a truth that every believer should embrace.  None of us knows at any given moment all that needs to be known.  In fact, all of us together, collectively do not know at any given moment all that needs to be known.  But the longer we live, the more we learn.  And that is true as it applies to revelation knowledge of God’s Word just as it is about any other knowledge.  None of us know it all, but each of us should be pursuing a relationship with the Lord that takes us daily to richer, deeper, broader, more enlightening knowledge. I am writing about a progressive revealing of God’s Word.

Consider for a moment that Jesus Himself “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  I often find it interesting that He spent the first 30-years of His life, not just growing to manhood through His teen years, but growing in wisdom, which would be insights, knowledge, understanding, and revelation of the Word, and in favor with God, which would mean He grew in faith, for it is faith that pleases Father.  And having grown in such a manner, He was able to carry out and completely fulfill His earthly ministry in 3 ½ years.  I offer you one thoughtful suggestion here.  Is it possible that we would see much greater success in our lives and ministry if we first gave ourselves to diligence in the pursuit of growing in wisdom and favor with God BEFORE jumping into so many things we call ministry?  Just a thought.  Allow me a point of encouragement, too.  The longer you live as a believer, the greater the contribution you should be able to make in the church and lives of others around you.  You may not run as fast or jump as high as you once did, but lifelong growth in godly wisdom, knowledge, and strength makes you a greater asset than in your early life, SO DON’T QUIT in your service to the kingdom.  Keep growing, keep serving, keep loving, PROGRESSIVELY. 

Manna for Today – John 12:12-19; Luke 2:52; Hebrews 5:8; Ephesians 4:11-32; Hebrews 11:6; Galatians 5:6

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As It Is Written

If God says it, that settles it……whether anyone believes it or not.

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John 12:14-15 – And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.

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Take a moment today and do a bit of Scriptural research for yourself.  Our Text for Todaycan be seen in a greater fullness by looking at it as it is recorded in the other Gospels.  Take the time to find those passages and read them, and see a wonderful revelation of the supernatural working of Holy Spirit’s revelation in this event.  You will be blessed.  You see, Jesus sent two of His disciples to find the colt on which He rode, and as Jesus told it to them is the precise manner in which they both found and delivered the colt for Jesus’ use at His entry to Jerusalem.  It is powerful indeed.  And this can also be referenced to Jesus’ words when He said WE shall do the works He did, and even greater.  Think of that, dear reader.

The events of what we call Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem had already been spoken and written by the prophets of old.  God was revealing His plan for that day long before that day arrived.  Then, upon the arrival of that day, Jesus drew from the well of God’s Word as it applied to Himself, and acted upon what that Word said, believing it, and relying upon Holy Spirit to confirm it.  And that is precisely what happened.

Today I pray you receive that which I write, and that you also act upon it.  Whatever the Word of God has declared shall happen SHALL HAPPEN.  There can be no turning from that.  Believe it, receive it, and act upon it.  Study God’s Word, rightly divide (discern) it, and apply it to your own life accurately.  That which can be rightly applied to your life WILLhappen in your life IF you will believe it, receive it, and act upon it as Jesus did.  It is not likely that you would enter Jerusalem upon a donkey colt, but it IS not only likely, but absolutely assured that you will be healed, abundantly provisioned, delivered, saved, and made free in this life IF you will believe, receive, and act upon the Word of God as it concerns you.  These are covenant promises to all God’s children.  I have often said, every word in the Bible is truly recorded, but not every word is true.  The lies men told, the deceptions in which they engaged, their failures and short-comings are all recorded for us to see.  God that which Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has spoken concerning you and me SHALL COME TO PASS IF WE WILL BELIEVE ITRECEIVE IT, and ACT UPON ITAS IT IS WRITTEN. So, have you read or heard it?  Do you believe it?  Have your received it?  If so, it’s time to act upon it, today, right now, in the Name of Jesus. 

Manna for Today – John 12:9-19; Psalm 119:89; Luke 1:37 (the Amplified Bible); Romans 3:4;          John 14:12-14

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Who’s On the Guest List?

 There’s a great party coming.  Are you on the list of attendees?

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John 12:12-13 – On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

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Have you ever had a party at your home?  Did you have an open invitation to anyone who wanted to come, or did you have some sort of guest list?  We’ve done that in our house on occasion, and we always had a guest list.  The reason is simple.  We have limited capacity, and if we just projected a general invitation, we could easily have more people come than we could park, seat, feed, or even get into our house.  However, with the feast that was about to occur in the city of Jerusalem, that was not the case.  People came from many parts of the known world, wherever, in fact, Jewish people had gone to settle, live, and do business.  So the guest list was open to any and all Jews.  But something very unique happened at this feast.  When people who arrived early at the feast learned that Jesus, the One Who had raised Lazarus from the dead, was coming to the feast, something unique happened.  They took palm branches, laid them in the path by which Jesus should come, and waited along the way to meet Him.  According to the other Gospels, they did even more than that.  Many of them even laid their garments on the donkey He rode, and some even placed their garments on the ground along with the palm branches.

Now for just a moment, let’s discuss the guest list.  Imagine that a great social event is being planned, and there’s room for everyone.  The invitations are sent out well in advance, and in order to attend, an invitee must RSVP. (Répondez s’il vous plaît, or reply if you please).  This is the Invitee List.  After the time for the RSVP to expire, a second list is made, especially if it is a formal event.  This will be called the Guest List.  Not everyone on the Invitee List is on the Guest List; only those who responded that they would be attending.  If you arrive at the event and your name is NOT on the Guest List, you will be turned away.  It’s that simple.  If it is truly a formal event, there are no second chances at this point.  Preparation has been made for every RSVP, and anyone else cannot enter upon the festivities.  In our Text for Today, it became known the Jesus would attend, and many were the preparations for His presence.  Is it known in heaven that you will be attending the festivities to come?  If so, know that many preparations are being made for your attendance.  If not, then at least at this writing, you have time to RSVP.  Do it today; do it now!  Call on the Name of the Lord and be saved, and make sure you name is on The Guest List. 

Manna for Today – John 12:9-19; Romans 10:6-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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Targeting the Blessed

 

“When God opens heaven’s windows to bless you, Satan open hell’s gates to blast you.” – L. Ravenhill

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John 12:10-11 – But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;  Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

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A simple reading of John 11 & 12 indicates clearly that Lazarus was a blessed man.  Jesus loved him; Lazarus was blessed (and Jesus loves you, too.).  Jesus came to his home to raise him from the dead; Lazarus was blessed.  Jesus came to his home for fellowship; Lazarus was blessed.  Jesus brought His ministry staff to the home of Lazarus for a meal; Lazarus was blessed.  Mary, Martha, and Lazarus made a supper for Jesus, and Jesus came as the honored guest; Lazarus was blessed.  There can be no doubt; Lazarus was blessed.  But pay close attention to our Text for Today.  It was precisely because Lazarus was so blessed that the same chief priests who sought to put Jesus to death also sought to put Lazarus to death.  In John 15, Jesus warned of this attitude.  He said that we should not be surprised that we are hated, and that without cause.  After all, they hated Jesus before they hated us, and that without cause.

But know this, my dear fellow believer.  If you live your life as a true witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, if you walk in obedience to His Word, if you give honor and glory to the King of kings, and if you live to please the Lord of lords, whatever was designed to be done to Jesus is being designed by someone to be done to you.  It may be a religious sect from some other part of the world, or someone convicted by your righteous life right in your own community.  It may be a politician who feels their unrighteous life would be exposed by the light of your life, or even someone who calls him/herself a Christian, but is really filled with venom towards anyone who doesn’t fit the mold they have designed for what they believe to be a Christian.  Regardless of the point from which hatred toward you flows, it is always from Satan, and it is always, ALWAYS, I say, intended to be fatal, lethal, deadly to you, the child of God.  This is not a message to cause fear, but one that should provoke you to “STEEL” yourself against his devices.  Jesus is Lord; He is your Covenant Protector.  Holy Ghost is your Rear Guard.  Stand in faith and walk in your divine covenant protection.  You are more than a conqueror in Jesus; you are an overcomer through Christ.  Live free and serve your God in victory.  Yes, you’re a target, but no weapon formed against you shall prosper.  You can live in Psalm 91 supernatural protection.  Enjoy it every day. 

Manna for Today – John 12:1-11; John 15:18-25; 1 John 3:15; John 10:10; Isaiah 54:17; Psalm 91

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Attraction

 

Have you been so dramatically changed by the Lord that people want to see you?

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John 12:9 – Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

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Take a moment or two and re-read our Text for Today.  I find it intriguing.  Jesus was, without a doubt, the most amazing human being who ever walked on the planet.  He healed the sick, opened blind eyes, opened deaf ears, cleansed lepers, fed multitudes, walked on water, turned water to wine, and even raised the dead.  Multitudes wanted to see Him, and many of them wanted to touch Him, be touched by Him, hear Him teach, and see Him perform miracles, and do signs and wonders.  But in our Text for Today we see even more.  There were many people who wanted to see those upon whom the Lord had manifest His great power.  In this case, they wanted to see Lazarus who had died, been buried, and had now been raised from the dead.  All that power that had been released upon and manifest in Lazarus was a great attractant, and the people wanted to see him with their own eyes.

In our world today, there are multitudes that will stand in line to see a famous person.  I understand that.  But where are the lines of people who want to see the person in whom the power of God is so greatly manifest.  Yes, there are multitudes that will come to see a famous minister, but once again, that is the person THROUGH whom the Lord should be working.  Who is coming out to see those ON whom the Lord has worked?  I know there are many, perhaps great multitudes of people on whom the Lord has done marvelous works.  But it seems to me, at least from personal observations, that more people are interested in being in the limelight themselves for how the Lord has used them than are interested in allowing those ON whom the Lord has worked to be that great visible testimony.

I fully realize that that are many kind, gracious, and loving men/women of God who are NOTseeking notoriety for themselves, while being fully aware that their obedience and yieldedness to the Lord has been, is now, and will be seen.  But I know many of them who seek those ON whom the Lord has worked for the purpose of allowing them to be effective witnesses of God’s power through their own testimony.  Thank God for every true man/woman of God who is being faithful to his/her calling.  May the great grace and power of God shine through them.  But may we also find the means by which the great grace and power of God can be seen through the testimony of those ON whom the Lord has worked.  Let us not miss that powerful attraction to the Kingdom. 

Manna for Today – John 12:1-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 12:1-2; Revelation 12:11

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The Value of Your Sacrifice

 How highly do you value what you are doing for the Lord and His Kingdom?

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John 12:3 & 5 – Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. – Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

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In the year 2016, the average salary for a full-time worker in the USA was just over $44,000.  In 1½ years, that would be $66,000.  That is approximately 300 working days.  Jesus once told the parable of workers being hired for one pence per day.  Based on that example, 300 pence (300 days wages) would be comparable to $66,000 (or more) today.  In our Text for Today, we read that the spikenard was one pound in weight.  That is equivalent to approximately $4,125 per ounce….more precious than gold.

This is NOT an attempt to put a market or dollar value on one’s sacrifice and service to the Lord, His kingdom, or His Church.  It IS, however, an attempt to draw our attention to the great truth that our God places GREAT VALUE on our love, sacrifice, service, and witness of and for Him.  He is faithful, indeed, to not forget your labor of love.  Take a moment and reflect on the story set forth in our Text for Today.  And after that reflection, I have some questions I pray will provoke serious thought for you.

Do you have a relationship with the Lord?  Is it one that has covenant basis, and are you working to strengthen, improve, and develop that relationship to new levels?  Remember, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the opening two words, “Our Father,” clearly indicate an established relationship.

Do you value the sacrifice you are making to the Lord, His work, His kingdom, and/or His call on your life?  The simple truth surrounding this question is that the Lord values the worth of your sacrifice in the manner and measure that you value it.  If you don’t value it highly, then neither will the Lord.  Remember, it is the measure with which you give that determines the measure of the return, and the measure with which you give is determined by you.

Does the measure with which you give carry with it a sweet-smelling savor of faith that works by love being released to Father; an aroma pleasing to the Lord?  Remember, faith works by love, and without faith it is impossible to please the Lord.

Whatever your sacrifice is to the Lord and His Kingdom, be sure of your relationship with Him, value what you are giving highly enough to make it worthy of keeping for yourself, and when you offer it, do so with a heart of love in the spirit of faith.  You could be setting the stage for a mighty move of God. 

Manna for Today – John 12:1-11; Hebrews 6:10; Luke 6:38; Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 11:6

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Honor the Servant

Is it possible that many in the Church have forgotten, or never learned, how to demonstrate true honor?

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John 12:2a – There they made him a supper . . . . .

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It would be good if the church did those things that attracts Father’s attention in positive ways.  One of those things is giving honor to whom honor is due; children to parents, citizens to them who have authority, students to teachers, and followers to leaders.  But there is one arena that I believe is too often viewed from a wrong perspective.  While those who have authority over us, especially in the Lord, should be honored, too often honor is shown only from the direction of those UNDER authority to those IN authority.  But Jesus had a perspective of these leaders that is too often overlooked.  Jesus called those in authority “servants.”

Our Text for Today is a foreshadowing of such action.  Jesus, the Son of God, had come to earth, not to rule as a king, but to minister to the people as a servant.  Jesus taught that the person who would be a ruler must first show him/herself as a servant.  And that is what Jesus did.  When someone called in faith, Jesus would come.  When someone approached Him in faith, He would stop, if need be, to hear them.  In fact, He was such a servant that He would even take the time to provoke a person to faith so He could serve them to a greater degree.  We see this with the Syrophoenician woman.  My point here is simple.  Jesus focused on the “S” in His ministry – SEEKSAVESERVE.

The “supper” that Lazarus, Martha, and Mary made for Jesus was not a “roast” affair.  It was not a birthday celebration, nor was it intended to recognize His great accomplishments, though He had many.  One of those accomplishments was the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  But this dinner was not a celebration of those events.  This was a supper to demonstrate love, devotion, and appreciation for the One Who had served them in so many ways.

Now is not the time for the servant to be exalted and cease his/her work.  On the contrary, it is time for the servant to do more than ever.  It is time for the servant to fulfill the call and sending of God on his/her life.  But at the same time, the church should learn how to show honor to whom honor is due in a Biblical manner.  When we honor true men and women of God, we will never regret it, for we are giving a drink of water, offering a window of opportunity to be blessed for service, to the “prophet.”  And when we do, we shall receive the prophet’s reward.  Let us honor the servant.  It opens the door for blessings from Father, and establishes a pattern that opens heaven in the Church and its ministry. 

Manna for Today – John 12:1-8; Romans 13:7; Matthew 10:40-42

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Word Consistent

Is your behavior predictable by the Word of God?

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John 11:56 – Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?

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I have often asked myself the question, “How consistent am I in being a ‘bar mitzvah’?”  Perhaps you have thought of that term only as a ceremony in which a Jewish boy officially enters manhood at age 13, but that it not the actual meaning of the term.  The term “bar” in the Hebrew language means “son of.”  In other words, my older son, Alex, would be known in that culture as “Alex, bar Beechard,” or “Alex, son of Beechard.”  In the Hebrew language, the term “bar mitzvah” means “son of commandment.”  Another way to say it would be “son of the Word.”  It was at the age of 13 that Jewish boys would go through a well-established ritual in which they would become “bar mitzvah;” son of commandment.  That meant that the young man would be expected to obey the commandments of the Lord, carry out the words of the law, and to do so steadfastly.  No one ever fully succeeded at that task until Jesus came.  He perfectly kept the Law, ALWAYS doing that which was pleasing to the Father, without fail living by faith.

In our Text for Today, the Scriptures paint a clear picture of just how consistent Jesus was.  At age 12, even before His bar mitzvah, He was confounding scribes and doctors of the Law in the temple in Jerusalem.  At age 30, He was baptized near Jordan, filled with Holy Spirit, and after 40-days of fasting, returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.  In the next three and a half years, He perfectly pleased Father, and rising from the dead after His crucifixion, He ascended to heaven in His completion of the work of our redemption.  Prior to His arrest and crucifixion, though some of the Jews and their leaders had sought for a way to capture Him, but could not find the means to do so.  And then we read the words in our Text for Today.  Jesus was so predictable in His keeping of the law, and part of that was coming to Jerusalem for the Passover, those who wanted Him dead placed their entire strategy for capturing Him on His commitment and faithfulness to the Word.  Though He knew they wanted to kill Him, and though for a time He stayed out of the public view, they knew Jesus was so true to the Word that He would come to the feast of Passover, regardless of how badly someone wanted to harm, or even kill Him.  And they were right.

How committed are we?  How committed are you?  How committed am I?  I long to be so committed to His Word, so completely sold out to obedience to my Lord, that people can predict my actions based on whatever the Word of God says.  May it be said of me, regardless of the situation that exists, “He is a son of commandment; he will do the Word. 

Manna for Today – John 11:45-57; Matthew 7:24-27; James 1:22; 1 John 5:3; Habakkuk 2:4

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Power Means Being Attacked

 

Don’t think that if you have power with God, you won’t be attacked.

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John 11:51-52 – And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

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I find the paradox in many peoples’ thinking quite intriguing.  As a general rule, people desire riches.  Yet it is the rich that are most often the target of thieves.  After all, who steals from the poor man?  And even the Scriptures warn us that when we prosper, there will come with that prosperity, persecution.  In that same vein of thinking, truly powerful people, as a rule, are not the oppressors, but more often than not, true helpers in life.  It is the person who wants people to think he/she is powerful that uses oppression and/or brutality to enforce what they want you to think is power.  The reality is this; when you have power, true power, you become the object of attack rather than the attacker.  And the attack that comes upon the truly powerful will often arise from the “would-be-powerful.”

Let there be no doubt about the truth that Jesus walked in the power of the Spirit (God).  His teachings, the signs and wonders He performed, and the supernatural manifestations that accompanied Him are certain proof of that, not to mention is death, burial, and resurrection that were attested by more than 500 souls.  Such a volume of witnesses would stand as proof in any court of law where truth was sought.  Yet, though He was powerful, He used His power to heal, deliver, provide, and reveal truth to those who dwelt in darkness.  One would think that any truly humane person would have easily chosen to follow such a man as Jesus.  Still, many were the souls, Pharisees, Sadducees, religious minds, and even kings and priests focused on Jesus as their primary point of attack.  And one of the key reasons this was so is because Jesus, a man of true power, threatened their titular position of authority over the people by His very presence and love of those to whom He ministered.

Power, the dunamis (ability) of God, is a commodity sought by many, especially those who do not know the difference between dunamis power and exousia (authority) power.  Many think their authority means they automatically possess dunamis (ability).  This is not so.  One, exousia, belongs to one by assignment.  The other, dunamis, comes through one whom Holy Ghost deigns to use, and is an ardent vessel of the Word of God.  And when one possesses dunamis, he/she WILL BE attacked.  If one who wants it cannot possess it, they will often work to undermine or destroy the one who does possess it.  If you have power (dunamis) with God, expect to be attacked. 

Manna for Today – John 11:45-57; Mark 10:29-30; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:20

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Lazarus (10) Seeing Is Not Believing

An old adage I’ve heard many times is, “Seeing is believing.”  Apparently not.

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John 11:45-46 – Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

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Regardless of how was defines the overall story of Lazarus, one truth must always stand out.  Jesus raised Him from the dead.  He had said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”  When Jesus did this miracle in Bethany, there were many Jews who were there to apparently mourn with Mary and Martha, or simply as curiosity seekers, knowing that Jesus would likely in some way show His love for Mary and Martha.  And despite the fact that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and many of those Jews who had come to Bethany believed because of what they saw, there were still those in the number who chose to NOT believe.  Instead, they returned to Jerusalem, talking about all they had witnessed, and being determined to join with others who would be complicit in the arrest, brutal treatment of, and crucifixion of Jesus.  But for that moment in time, many did believe and Lazarus lived.

Still, seeing is not believing.  The Scriptures are plain.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  The Bible speaks of “lying signs and wonders.”  These are things the eyes see, but are designed to be tools of deception.  Sadly, many people fall prey to that deception every day.  And what is eve sadder is that much of what people see that shapes their beliefs are things arising out of the natural in a negative sense.  Many no longer believe that Jesus is the only way to have life.  They believe that because they have believed an oft-repeated lie.  Many who say they believe in Jesus don’t believe God answers prayer, and they do so because the have not themselves lived by faith, but by their senses.  Many believe God makes people sick, keeps people poor, and brings about disaster as judgment on rebellious men, but they do so because they do NOT know, or simply REFUSE TO BELIEVE what God’s Word says.

Dear friend, it is time for us to go to the Word of God.  Read it, study it, and meditate upon it for yourselves.  Follow those who follow the Lord, whose walk matches their talk, who through faith and patience have obtained the promises.  Keep in your mind this statement.  IF GOD SAID IT, THAT SETTLES IT!  God’s truth is NOT based upon whether you believe it or not.  It is God’s truth because He said it.  So the truly intelligent person believes God…..PERIOD! 

Manna for Today – John 11:1-46; Hebrews 11:1 & 6; Romans 10:17; Joshua 1:8; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-24; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:89

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