Major Fulfilling

Oh what a change!

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John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

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Take a moment and read our Text for Today two or three more times; slowly; observantly.  All through the Old Testament, when one prayed, he/she spoke to Jehovah.  When Jesus established His earthly ministry, anything the disciples needed, or those who followed Jesus desired, they came directly to Jesus; healing, provision, deliverance….whatever they needed.  But in our Text for Today we see a major change about to be established.  Once again, look closely at the words of Jesus.

“In that day ye shall ask me nothing.”  To what does “that day” refer?  It refers to that moment when their joy would be fully restored; the time following His resurrection, ascension, and sending of Holy Ghost to establish the church.  From that day forward, one would no longer make requests of Jesus.  Please note that this Scripture does NOT say one cannot or should not commune with Jesus.  On the contrary, every believer should SURELYcommune with Jesus.  He is to be given thanks, praise, and worship.  He is to be honored in our daily living.  After all, HE IS LORD!  But what itDOES say should not be altered.  He said, “In that day ye shall ASK me nothing.”  Previously, before the existence of the church, men asked much of Jesus.  But after the church was birthed, that would no longer be the case.

Yet in so many places where I travel to minister, I often hear people making petition of Jesus.  They call on Jesus to heal, to do miracles, to meet needs, to deliver, to do for them whatever it is they SHOULD BE asking of the Father.   Once again I admonish you to read, clearly understand, and follow the instruction of our Lord Jesus.  Jesus said, “In that day ye shall ASK ME NOTHING.”  So why do so many people offer their prayers of petition and supplication to Jesus?  I believe the greatest cause of this action in the prayer lives of so many arise from the failure of Christians, and especially men and women of God who have been set in the five-fold ministry by the Lord, to “rightly divide” the Word of God.  There is entirely too much generalization in the pulpit of churches – WORLDWIDE.  My friend, if you can “rightly divide” the Word of Truth, you can “wrongly divide” it, and much of the wrong division of the Word of Truth rises from traditions of men that have been handed down from previous generations, laziness in study on the part of believers, and a sense of arrogance that often seems to rest in the five-fold ministry.  These things MUST be stopped.  Traditions make the Word of God of none effect.  Laziness (slothfulness) tends to poverty, and in this arena, deep poverty of revelation knowledge.  And arrogance (pride) goes before a fall.  Awaken, my friend.  There is light to be gained and darkness to be pierced.  Lay aside non-Biblical tradition, study to show yourself approved to God (not man), and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God by exalting His Word above your own. 

Manna for Today – John 16:16-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; Mark 11:22-24; Mark 16:15-20;  2 Timothy 2:15

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Short Stories

It’s amazing how much can be spoken in few words when you know the speaker.

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John 16:22 – And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

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Every time I read John 16, particularly this segment of the chapter, I am amazed at the volumes Jesus speaks in truly minimal words.  In verses 19 through 24, each verse, a “proverb” as Jesus called it, speaks volumes about the redemptive work into which Jesus was about to enter to its fullest.  Our Text for Today is no different.  Let’s look at it closely.  Jesus said, “And ye now therefore have sorrow.”  The things Jesus was saying to His disciples were troubling to them at the moment of His speaking.  They knew He was the Messiah, He Who was to be King of the Jews, Savior, and Lord; the Christ.  And now the Christ is speaking of His soon demise.  The emotional trouble of these words brought sorrow to them.

Then Jesus adds, “But I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.”  Here we see an element of the character of God revealed.  He will NOT leave one comfortless.  Though circumstances may induce sorrow, Father ALWAYS sets the stage for joy to rise to the surface, pushing sorrow aside, watching it disappear in the fading darkness as the light shines brighter and brighter.  His disciples KNEW Jesus to be a man of His word.   He said He would see them again, and they knew and fully expected to SEE HIM AGAIN.  And here, also, we see the proper use of the conjunction, joining two phrases together.  That conjunction is “but,” and used in this manner, signifies the voiding of the first phrase by the speaking of a stronger, more powerful second phrase.  “Sorrow” must give way to “joy.”

And the closing words of this proverb stated, “And your joy no man taketh from you.”  While the first phrase seemed to cause sorrow, the second restored hope in joy, and this third statement caused faith for eternity.  In the mind of our Lord, we see His intent that the joy of the Lord, His joy, that joy of the Lord that is our strength, becomes an eternally fixed and blessed fruit that can and should be produced from the life of EVERY believer.  Oh what a promise!  Sorrow become joy, and that joy becomes a fixed blessing fully available to every believer!  And not only is it a fixed product available to every believer, Jesus declares of that joy, “NO MAN TAKES (ITFROM YOU.”  Not only is it established, but it is eternally and supernaturally protected.  That is why we should “count it all joy.”  When the blessing of the Lord is wrapped in that supernatural joy that no man can take from you, then the blessings of the Lord wrapped therein are protected as well.  You have joy, my friend; eternal joy.  Keep it and NEVER let it go. 

Manna for Today – John 16:16-24; Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:1-9

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There Is A Birthing

A loving mother will tell you that what she bore at birth was more than a child.

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John 16:21 – A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

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One of the most vivid memories in my mind is the birth of my second son.  When our first son was born, it was not permitted that the father could be in the birthing room.  But when my second son was born, the rules had been rewritten.  So at the moment of his birth, I was there.  I watched as my wife went through the labor (and I do mean incredibly hard work) of giving birth.  I watched her, having carried a big baby boy to full term, listened intently to the directions of the attending physician.  Despite her labor, she listened.  She did whatever the doctor and attending nurses said.  As smart as I thought I was, all I could do is stand beside her, touch her gently on the forehead, and do my best to encourage her in the work.  I watched as the blood vessels in her forehead would swell to the point of appearing ready to burst.  I watched as beads of perspiration seemed to boil from her face, and watched her face go from its usual complexion to one of a deep reddish tone when the doctor said, “Push.”  On that 25th day of March in 1977, I came to a much deeper understanding of what it meant for a mother go “go through labor” in giving birth.  Our Text for Today carries a much deeper meaning for me to this day for that reason.

Then suddenly it seemed the labor was over.  I cannot say I know the level of discomfort she was still suffering, but when my son was born, the umbilical cord was cut, and a beautiful, healthy baby boy was laid on her breast, the flushed red face and swollen blood vessels were gone, and despite what she had gone through, her face glowed with joy for the birth of her baby; our second son.  And for yet another reason our Text for Today lives vividly in my heart.

I don’t know what you may be facing today.  I don’t know what battle may be engaging your faith at this moment.  I don’t know the level of struggle or intensity to which you may be giving yourself at this moment.  But one thing I DO know is this. The victory that overcomes the world in your faith; faith that pleases God; faith that moves mountains; faith that gives birth to the victory for you so valiantly fight.  So if there is increased pressure today, if there is the voice of the Greater One on the inside of you whispering to you to “Push,” if the perspiration is so profuse as to drip from your face, hold on, my friend.  There is a birthing, and that to which you give birth will be the next great victory in your life. 

Manna for Today – John 16:16-24; Isaiah 66:5-10

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PREVIEWS

Jesus will never leave you in the dark.

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John 16:20 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

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There are times in which the Lord will speak to one’s heart, but for whatever reason, the understanding may not be fully engaged to perceive what the Lord wants to show us.  Never fear.  The Lord will not leave you in the dark as long as you seek Him.  He has promised us in His Word that if we would seek, we would find.  He has further promised us in His Word that “if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God to gives liberally to all men and upbraids not.”

Jesus was speaking to His disciples of His soon demise, and they could not understand the import of what He was saying to them.  So they asked Him, and He explained in the simplest possible terms what they would encounter in the next few days.  He would pray until His sweat was mixed with blood from His head, be betrayed, arrested, beaten, mocked, stripped naked, lashed with the Roman flagrum, have His beard torn out by the hands-full, crowned with a thorn cap, blind-folded and beaten more, and forced to carry His cross.  Falling under its weight, He would ultimately be crucified on that cross, exposed to open shame before all who viewed Him.  Spikes up to more than a pound in weight would be driven through His hands and feet.  His body would wrench with pain as it fought for breath and convulsed under the stress of trying to live.  In that time on the cross, the viewers would mock Him, one thief crucified by His side would ridicule Him, and Father would turn His back on Him.  The stress (spirit, soul, and body) would be so great that our Lord Who knowingly came to give His life for our salvation would be driven to the point of asking the Father, “Why have You forsaken Me?”  And there He would die, having been consumed by the torment to His being that He did not even resemble a human being.  Dying before His tormentors thought He would, they pierced His side, and blood and water flowed.  While the world rejoiced over this spectacle, His family and disciples that remained were in the deepest possible sorrow.

Ah, but praise the Lord, it would not remain so.  Something was about to change that would alter the course of eternity.  He would not remain dead.  He had said, “No man takes My life from Me.  I lay it down, and I shall take it up again.”  And He did precisely that.  After three days in which His body was in the tomb and His spirit and soul were in hell, Father refused to allow Him to see corruption.  He had been the Son of God through natural birth, and now, once again, Father called Him Son, raising Him from the dead by the power of Holy Spirit.  It was at that point, coming to the tomb, seeing Him in the garden, handling Him in the upper room, walking with Him on the road to Emmaeus, and breakfasting with Him by the Sea of Galilee that their sorrow was “turned into joy.”  Rejoice, dear child of God.  He still lives! 

Manna for Today – John 16:16-24; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9; James 1:5; Hebrews 1

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