The Need to Know Father

It is a shame how little is known of Father in the modern church.

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John 15:21 – But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

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At the very beginning, let us acknowledge that we belong to ONE God, manifest in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  We know them as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.  And while They are ONE, each member of what we call our Triune God-head, or the Holy Trinity, carries on different function and purpose in and through the church.  We can worship all Three and commune with all Three, but we should at the same time recognize the distinction of each member of the God-head and function towards them within the parameters set forth in the Scriptures

Father – He is the Creator.  He sent and gave His Son.  He has gifts stated in Romans 12 that are without repentance.  He it is to Whom we bring our petition and supplication.  Jesus said that in that day, the day of the church, that we should ask nothing of Him, but that we should convey our prayers to Father in the Name of Jesus.  Father is He Who upholds the Son on His right hand, and upholds all things by the Word of His power.

Jesus, the Son; the Word made flesh – He is seated on the right hand of Father, ever living to make intercession for us according to the will of Father.  Jesus is Lord of the Church, and it is in His Name that we bring out petitions to our Father.  It is in His Name that we have and exercise our power in the earth as sons of God.  It is to the Son that the believer confesses any sin he/she may commit, and by that confession, be cleansed from it by His blood.  But we do not bring our petitions and supplications to Jesus.

Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost – He is our Comforter.  We do not pray petition or supplication to Him; rather He helps us pray in the Spirit.  He is our Teacher, Revealer, Convicter, Convincer, Corrector, Guide, Leader, and remembrance giver of all the Lord has spoken to us.  He is the member of the God-head before Whom one confesses Jesus as Lord, believing He has been raised from the dead, so that one can be saved, or born again.

While this is in no way intended to be exhaustive in its content, it does present a foundation for differential recognition of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  We need more than to know ABOUT Them; we need TO KNOW Them distinctly and deferentially so we can experience a fuller, clearer, more powerful, and more meaningful relationship with each.  Take the time in the Word and in communion to know Them, for those who do not know Father, Him Who sent Jesus, will bring attacks upon the Church. 

Manna for Today – John 15:18-27; Matthew 5:1-12; John 10:30; John 17:22; Romans 12:1-9;  Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 1:7-9; Romans 10:9-10

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What You Say Is Important

How powerful are right words!

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John 15:20 – Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

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So just how important are your words?  I am asking that question of any man or woman of God who ever engages in speaking as an ambassador of the Lord before people.   In fact, I am writing today to every Christian who ever speaks a word, for in the end, we shall give an account for every idle word that comes forth from our mouth.  And to that point I must add that it is the responsibility of every believer as an ambassador of the Lord to “let no corrupt communication proceed from his mouth, but that which is good for the use of edification, that it may minister grace to the hearer.”

As believers, we MUST understand that the words that come from our mouths carry power into the world about us, and the ripple from those words has the potential of stretching around the world.  I have come to understand that principle more as I have grown older in the ministry.  It often occurs in my life that I am approached by someone I met only once in my life, perhaps three or more decades past.  I have been told that in that brief encounter I said something that impacted their life from that point forward, and that they have shared it with many people through the years.  In social media I read an account from a lady who has told her children about me.  I was her pastor 30-years ago.  She now lives in another state.  It seems my words impacted her so much that she has introduced her children to me via social media.  My words in her life not only impacted her and her family, but many others over the years.  I am sure that many who read these words could share similar testimonies.  As I said, the ripple from words that I have dropped in the sea of life may go on for decades and longer.

Think for a moment of men like the apostles and prophets of old.  Their words span the ages.  Some ancient writers’ words span the millennia, others the centuries, many the decades, and so it goes.  Even the words you speak may have echoed through generations in your own family or community.  Your words are powerful, holding eternal impact.  Guard them, for in them, in that issue that comes forth from you tongue, are life and death. 

Manna for Today – John 15:18-27; John 13:13-17; John 12:34-37; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:89;         Luke 1:37; Joshua 1:6-9; Ephesians 4:29; Matthew 12:34-37

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Expect, But Do Not Accept

Soldiers in combat expect the enemy to attack, but they do not accept the attack; they repel it.

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John 15:18 – If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

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During the winter I expect cold weather, even some snow, sleet, and freezing rain, but I refuse to allow inclement weather to rule my life.  I have a real enemy in life named Satan, by whom I fully expect to be attacked with all manner of attacks.  But I refuse to allow him or any of his devices to rule over me.  ONE rules over me, and He is my Lord and Master, and His Name is Jesus.  to Him and Him alone do I bow my knee in any affair of this life.  When circumstances rise and loom ominously on my horizons, I stand prepared for battle to fight against them, utilizing the armor of God He has given me.

Now once again, you should fully expect the enemy of your soul to attack you and use every device at his disposal, including the element of human device.  Men will persecute you, defame you, slander you, curse you, and do every possible manner of evil against you; expect it.  But when it comes against you, don’t do what the enemy expects; don’t fight against flesh and blood, don’t fear, don’t doubt, don’t worry, don’t complain, don’t murmur, and don’t surrender.  Instead, do what your heavenly Father expects you to do, and that is to be obedient to the Word of God.  “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”

And it’s not just the human element that Satan will use.  He will use sickness, disease, physical circum-stances, financial pressures, doctor’s reports, and even legal and government pressures.  When such temptations come, your answer is once again obedience to the Scriptures.  “Count it all joy…knowing…”  Such action requires knowledge of God’s Word, and the more intimate and personal such knowledge is, the greater the resulting joy in the battle.  And why “joy?”  For the “joy of the Lord is your strength.”  So take hold of this truth; expectation does not mean acceptance.  Expect Satan to be Satan; expect him to do what he does.  But remember the answer is for you to do what YOU should do, and that is being obedient to Father.  Live a life that causes the enemy to expect what he can’t handle; THE WORD! 

Manna for Today – John 15:18-27; 1 John 3:11-16; Luke 6:22-27; Matthew 5:3-18 & 44; James 1:1-8

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First Team

 

God doesn’t have a second team.  Either you’re first team, or you’re not on the team.

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John 15:16 – Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

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My dear friend, please read our Text for Today several times.  This is one of the most power-filled charges to the body of Christ that exists in the pages of God’s Word.  Oh how my spirit rises up and my soul rejoices when I say these opening words to myself; “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.”  I remember as a boy when we would gather before school to play baseball.  The older boys would choose the teams, and everyone always wanted to be on the team with the best players.  Teams consisted of each boy who was picked, and everybody played.  When I was picked by the best to play on his team, my heart was glad.  Because I got to play with the best, I got better myself, and soon I became one of the “early picks.”  As I grew older and played better, at times I was the captain.  I loved being on a winning team.  There was nothing like it.

When I receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was young and did not understand the impetus that such a position in Christ carries.  I cannot say I fully understand today, but I can say I understand it much better.  Each day I live I become more aware of who I am in Him, of what He has called me to do, of the responsibility that rests upon me, of my rights and privileges in Him, of His love to me and through me, and of the working of His glorious power in me by the faith he gave me.  I have a much deeper, richer, more powerful, clearer, and well-defined realization that in Jesus, I am First Team.  In Him there is no such thing as second team.  When He chose me, He made me His.  I am His righteousness.  In Him I am redeemed, sanctified, righteous, and wise.  I can do all things through Him.  I am His joint-heir, and a member of His body in this earth.  Oh how I rejoice in that knowledge.  Join with me and rejoice in it, too.  If you belong to Jesus, as the song writer said, you belong with me.  We are First Team, and together we will stand, clad in the whole armor of God. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 4:13;      Romans 8:17; Ephesians 6:10-18

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Business Owner for Eternity

Company owners show much higher interest in the organization than do employees.  It’s their heritage.

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John 15:14-15 – Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

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A dramatic change in the paradigm of church-think and church-speak is, in general, long overdue.  I remember growing up in a church where people really loved the Lord, and I have been so blessed to have people who really love the Lord around me all my life.  But loving the Lord in their hearts and minds is not predicated upon having intimate knowledge of God’s Word and walking according to it.  in fact, I was saved at 10-years of age.  I had a passionate love for the Lord in my heart from early in my Christian experience.  And though as a teenager, I did not always walk according to that passion, that passion for Jesus resurfaced in my early adulthood, and in that resurfacing, I was Holy Ghost baptized and accepted the Lord’s call to the five-fold ministry.  My passion for Him today is greater than ever, but my knowledge of His Word has also greatly increased.  And to demonstrate that passion legitimately, I must be obedient to what I know His Word says.

In John 15; Jesus said He would no longer refer to His disciples, and that’s us today, as “servants,” but would call them “friends.”  Now we are “laborers together with Him.”  I did NOT say we are NOT servant, for we are.  Only now, as “laborers together with Him,” as “joint-heirs,” as “sons of God,” we do not function as servant TO God, but as servants OF God, serving the body of Christ and the ministry to which each of us is called.

We are “laborers” in His vineyard.  However, just as importantly, we are His sons and joint-heirs with Jesus.  We ARE worthy of our hire, but our hire is as sons of God, NOT servants.  That should drastically impact the way we do business in the kingdom of God.  It’s a family business; we are not a corporation of hirelings.  I am NOT working towards retirement and a pension, but investing in my family’s corporation, holding stock, obeying my Father and His Policy Manual (the Word), and serving, tending to, and caring for (as my role is established) the kingdom into which I have been born.  If this is your thinking, your paradigm is sound.  If not, it’s time to change your paradigm and lead those who follow you toward the same goal.  I am NOT an employee, but a business owner of a kingdom that shall never pass away. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; John 14:15; 2 Corinthians 6:1; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 5:18; Luke 10:7; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 12:34-37

 

Being a Friend

If you want true friends, BE ONE!  ARE YOU A FRIEND?

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John 15:13-15 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

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Are you willing to lay your life down for someone; anyone?  This does not necessarily mean you have to die.  What it DOES mean is that you are willing and actionably engaged in giving, working, and sacrificing for another person to the same level that you will for yourself, and at times, even place the other person before yourself by delaying your own personal attainment of a desire.

Jesus said you were His friend if you do “whatsoever” He commands.  Since Biblical love is defined as “keeping His commandments,” then to truly love someone, to be a true friend to someone, you must be obedient to the Word of God in your relationship with that person.  You may demonstrate affection (storge love) or brotherly love (phileo love) towards a person without being a true friend, but ONLY by demonstrating God-love (agape love) can you be a true friend.  Are you keeping the commandments of the Lord, even the tough ones, toward others?

And let us not miss this powerful point.  Jesus said that He reveals “all things (He has) heard of (His) Father . . . unto you.”  Are you regularly, daily, consistently, and regularly receiving revelation from the Lord in your life to you for you and the body of Christ?    Is your relationship with Jesus such that He is showing you divine secrets through and by Holy Spirit and through His Word?

Take a moment to reflect on the questions I have posed to you in today’s Second Miler.  If your answers to the questions posed in the previous three paragraphs is “YES,” then YOU ARE A FRIEND, and Holy Spirit is thrilled to work in your life.  If not, then you have some work to do.  Don’t fret.  You have the best possible helper in the person of Holy Ghost.  Put Him to work today.  He is surely ready.  Once again I ask, “ARE YOU A FRIEND?” 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Proverbs 18:24; 1 Samuel 18:1; Matthew 7:12; 1 Corinthians 13; Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34; 1 John 5:3

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My Friend

Did you know you can be a true friend to someone who is NOT a friend to you?

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John 15:13-15 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

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The word “friend” is one that is cast about so casually in today’s world as to greatly reduce much of its true significance to us.  I hear children talk about their friends, and especially teens, and they refer to someone they just met at a walk in the mall as their friend.  It would almost be funny if it weren’t so sad.  Have w come so far from truth that the youth who will be the next generation of leaders in our world don’t even know what a true friend is?

I have more acquaintances than I can count.  I have many, what might be considered, casual friends.  These are people about whom I know a little more than I know of acquaintances.  I have family, and for them I am eternally grateful.  But friends; true friends; Biblically defined friends . . . I must say are few.  And what do I call a Biblically defined friend?  One who meets the criteria of our Text for Today . . . one who would lay down his life for me.  Of those I can assure you, I have but few.

Interestingly, I have discovered that friendship CAN be a one-way street.  Jesus was a friend to us when we were at enmity with Him.  I can be a friend to you while you choose NOT to be a friend to me.  I know that sounds strange, but it is true.  When Jesus suffered, died, and was raised up for you, were you His friend?  NO!  Yet He considered you His friend; He showed that truth when He died for you.  Think of it; while you were His enemy, He was your Friend.

Oh how thankful I am for that great truth.  Seeing it in Jesus has made it possible for me to love those that I would otherwise find impossible to love.  You see, the love of a friend is a deliberate love.  It forgives before being asked to forgive.  It gives when the recipient ONLY takes.  It prays and intercedes for those who would only hurt you.  It blesses those who curse, and in so doing, heaps coals of fire upon their head.  It holds on when others let go, often without speaking to anyone except Father; not even the person who needs the friend.  A friend of God obeys God.  God called Abraham His friend.  Are you a friend of God?  Choose to be, and in so doing, be a friend to all men.  Some of them really need a friend at this hour. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Proverbs 18:24; 1 Samuel 18:1; Matthew 7:12; 1 Corinthians 13

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