Binding Required – Part Three

Your house should be your safest place on earth.  It is If you exercise your authority properly.

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John 18:12-14 – Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,  And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

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In our Text for Today, those who came for Jesus saw Him as an enemy, and so they bound Him.  They did not understand to any degree the love He had for them.  So, they bound Him.  They saw Him as a threat to their way of life, so they bound Him.

Exercise that thought in the light of your own life.  Do you have enemies in the earth, especially in the spiritual arena?  Are there those, especially from a spiritual perspective, that hate you?  Are there those in the world as viewed from the spiritual perspective that are a true threat to your way of life in Christ?  If you answer to these questions is “yes,”  would it not be wonderful to have the authority and ability to maintain your home as a place of safety for you and your family?  I would consider that a true blessing.  As a believer, as a child of Jehovah God, as a joint-heir with Christ, you have been given both the authority and the ability to do just that here in the earth.

It is to that end that I address you today.  While some faith teachers seem to espouse that the believer has absolute faith authority over all the earth, such as speaking to hurricanes, or famines, or floods, or pestilences, or disease as a whole, or finance at a national or universal level, they are misunderstanding the true scope of their faith.  Consider the words of Jesus Who said He had given each of us a kingdom as His Father had given Him a kingdom.  Then examine that in the light of the words of Apostle Paul who warned against boasting beyond one’s own measure.  Here is the summation.  That which God has placed in my hands and under my personal authority falls under the immediate power and authority of my words.  A storm in the Atlantic is not under my personal control, but if that storm comes to my possessions, my home, my family, that which is under my authority, I have the authority and ability to stand against it in faith and have that which is my kingdom spared.  You have the same authority in your kingdom.  It’s in the Word, my friend.  Find it, read it, believe it, act on it, and live by it.  Be accurate and mature in the use of your faith, not as some who bring reproach on the kingdom of God by their boasting beyond their own faith’s measure. 

Manna for Today – John 18:12-14; Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:18; Judges 13-16; Luke 22:29;          2 Corinthians 10:10-18

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Binding Required -Part Two

Don’t you think it wise that one would learn to use well the authority they are granted?

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John 18:12-14 – Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,  And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

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Binding and loosing is in the authority of the believer in the Name of Jesus.  The Matthew 16 passage in our Manna for Today speaks to that directly.  There we can read the words of Jesus, and aside from that there is no higher authority to be voiced.  Jesus said He would give us the “keys of the kingdom.”  Please note, He did NOT say, the “keys TO the kingdom.”  You see, if I give you the key TO my house, you can get in, but all that is locked away inside my house is still kept from you.  But if I give you the keys OF my house, now you not only have the ability to get INTO my house, but you have access INSIDE my house to ALL that is IN my house.

Let’s look further.  In the Greek language of the New Testament, both Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 read as follows; “Whatever you bind on earth, having been bound in heaven, shall be; and whatever you loose on earth, having been loosed in heaven, shall be.”  Read those words closely.  The indication is clear.  Thing that need to be bound on earth have already been bound in heaven, and things that need to be loosed on earth have already been loosed in heaven.  Having some understanding of what might be called a “cowboy” heritage, every time I think on these verses, I am reminded of a rodeo event called “team roping.”  Two cowboys ride out on either side of a steer; one ropes the head of the steer, and when that is accomplished, the other cowboy ropes the back legs, stretching the steer between them.  But remember, the head must be “bound” first before “binding” the back legs is fully effective in keeping the cowboys and their horses safe from the steer’s horns.

Now think of this; Jesus has first defeated Satan on his own turf, taking all power in heaven and earth to Himself.  He has bruised the devil’s head, or one might say, “bound the enemy’s head.”  Now it is up to you and me, the church, the Christian, the believer, to bind the enemy from the other end, or one might say, “bruise the other end.”  While that phrasing might be a bit comical, the action is not.  It is deadly serious.  Through Jesus, all that is under the curse of the law has been bound from heaven’s perspective, and when you bind the same in earth, we create a liberty for living that is truly glorious.  It’s in your authority.  Learn it and do it. 

Manna for Today – John 18:12-14; Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:18; Judges 13-16

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Binding Required – Part One

There are times when one must take action before one takes action.

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John 18:12-14 – Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,  And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

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What I share with you today speaks to a willingness of heart to serve that is so great that the natural mind cannot conceive of it.  Allow me to ask some questions.  Have you read John 3:16?  I’m sure you have.  Why did Jesus go to the cross?  Why did Jesus die?  Why did Jesus suffer?  If you have read John 3:16, then you know the answer to all the other questions I have posed.  LOVE!  It’s that simple.  But let’s examine that love motive more deeply in the light of His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane.  He had prayed that Father’s will should take precedent over His own.  He had labored so intensely in that prayer that He sweat had become as drops of blood, the capillaries of His skin rupturing under the tremendous emotional pressure of the moment, and the blood literally oozing through the skin, mingling with the sweat from the body and the dust of the earth in which He lay, having fallen on His face on the ground to pray.  I submit to you that such an indomitable will as His did NOT need to bound to go to the cross, yet they bound Him.  Being fully yielded to Father, they bound Him.  Being fully compliant with their commands, even have willingly identified Himself, knowing His end, they bound Him.  They were doing all they could to make a show of Him.

But this was not new.  Centuries before, a man named Samson had gone to the rock of Etam, the place of the hawk, to be alone after a great victory over the Philistines.  It was there that 3,000 men of Judah came to “arrest” him and deliver him to his greatest enemy, the Philistines.  Samson required one thing of them, and that was that the men of Judah would not “fall on” him themselves.  They agreed, and though He went with them willingly, the men of Judah bound him to deliver him into the hands of the Philistines.  But something happened upon which no one but God and Samson were depending.  Samson found a jawbone, 1,000 Philistines were slain, and a fountain was opened up for Samson’s refreshing.  That sounds familiar.  Indeed.  Something happened after Jesus’ arrest, torture, crucifixion, and burial that in truth, only Jesus and Father was depending.  Jesus was raised from the dead, defeated all the hordes of Satan’s domain, and through Jesus there was a fountain opened for you and me; the fountain of His precious blood so that we no longer have to suffer under sin’s penalty, but may live fully in the covenant life of Jesus Christ.  Now we are bound in His love. 

Manna for Today – John 18:12-14; Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:18; Judges 13-16

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He Drank Our Cup

Don’t think it a small thing to substitute for another.  Jesus was our substitute.  Think about it.

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John 18:11 – Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

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I could write volumes today about “the cup” of which Jesus spoke in our Text for Today.  Drinking a cup as set forth in today’s Second Miler created such awesome imagery.  When a young man proposed marriage in this culture, the young woman’s acceptance of the proposal was signified when she would drink, of her own free will, a cup of wine offered to her in the presence of her father.  When Jesus has prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He has said, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.”  You see, Satan had offered Jesus a cup three years earlier when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus had refused.  Even now, more than three years later, He still did not wish to drink of that cup, and He told this to Father.  But yet, He drank of that cup, not of His Own will, but because it was the will of Father.  Satan thought he had finally won the fight, but did not realize that Jesus had taken that cup to please the Father, NOT Himself.  And because of that, Father had the legal right to raise Jesus from the dead three days later, the debt for our redemption being fully paid.

Here is what we must understand about this.  That cup that Jesus drank that night in Gethsemane was not His cup; IT WAS OURSYOURS AND MINE.  It was mankind who had fallen in the garden of Eden, not Jesus, not the Word made flesh.  So, the cup that was offered that night in the garden of Gethsemane was a cup of death, torment, and filled with the wages of sin, and it rightly and legally belonged to you and me.  But God!  I could stop there, and it would be sufficient.  God so loved the world.  Yes, I know the loves the church, but before the church even existed, God loved the world.  He loved us so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son and commanded Him to pay the price for our complete redemption.

But there is more good news for us today.  Not only did Jesus drink OUR cup and pay the full price for our redemption, but He has given us HIS cup to drink; the cup of His blood shed for our redemption.  With our cup came death, sickness, poverty, destruction, and darkness; with His cup comes life, health, abundance, restoration, and eternal light.  Now we belong to the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is our Lord and Savior, and Jehovah God is our Father.  His cup was made to be our cup.  Praise the Lord!  

Manna for Today – John 18:1-11; Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

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Responsibility Accepted

True leaders willingly accept responsibility for who they are.

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John 18:7-9 – Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:  That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

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While Jesus never went about boasting in who He was, neither did He in any way deny who He was.  He made the statement that people would be known by their fruit, and He lived that statement throughout His earthly ministry.  I find it so interesting that He never went about boasting or publicizing that a savior was coming to town, yet He did say He had come to seek and save that which was lost.  He never went about boasting or publicizing that a healer had come to town, yet multitudes sought Him out that they might touch Him, be touched by Him, or simply have Him speak over them that they might receive their healing.  He never went about boasting or publicizing that He could turn water to wine, walk on water, raise the dead, or feed the multitudes yet He did all these things giving honor to Father.  In fact, there were times that He had done a great work, healed, or manifested a miracle, that He would tell the recipient to tell no one about what had happened.

At one point He sent forth the twelve of His inner-circle, and shortly after that, another seventy, two-by-two to “heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, and cast out devils.”  Upon their return, they were rejoicing that devils were subject to them.  Yet in Himself He never boasted.  And at the same time, He NEVER denied in any way Who He was.  Even at what may have been the most critical moment of His ministry up until that point in time, when the pressure on Him was at its highest level ever, when He felt as if His heart would fail, and that the sorrow of the moment was about to kill Him, He refused to deny who He was.  While He stood in the face of betrayal, knowing the horrible treatment, beatings, scourgings, mocking, and ridicule He was about to endure, He refused to deny who He was.

Rather, in the boldness that only true faith in God can produce, He acknowledged, “I am he.”  In the integrity that can only flow from the righteousness of our Holy God, He acknowledged, “I am he.”  With a grace and love that can only flow from the throne of God, He acknowledged, “I am he.”  With the calm assurance that He already knew the outcome that can only come from absolute confidence in a divine plan, He acknowledged, “I am he.”  And my friend, even in the chaos of this present world, at the time of the greatest onslaught on the church in the history of many, He still declares, “I am he.”  And we are His.  Stand up, acknowledge that truth, accept your responsibility, and live by it.  The outcome is assured. 

Manna for Today – John 18:1-11; John 14:6; Revelation 1:17-18; Matthew 7:16-20; Luke 19:10;  Matthew 10:8

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Follow Him

Which direction are you headed?

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John 18:6 – As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

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In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life.”  The word “strait” does not refer to something being direct or without bends and turns.  It refers to “narrow.”  It refers to a path in which there is little to no tolerance for variation from the intended path.  While some would call this an “exclusive” statement, it is rather an “inclusive” statement.  If you’re willing to walk (live) in the “strait” way, you’re welcome to join Jesus in that way.  And what makes that an “inclusive” statement is the age-abiding mercy, compassion, and grace He has extended to us along the way to make such a walk possible.

Jesus was walking a “strait” way.  He was the Word made flesh.  He had come to seek and to save that which was lost.  He had come to pay the full price for our redemption from the curse of the law.  He knew He had a number of appointments to fulfill within the next three days; arrest, beating, mocking, scourging, humiliation, cross carrying, nakedness before the world, becoming completely inhuman in appearance, crucifixion, death, burial, hell, resurrection, glorified body, and capturing all power.  He had a path He had to walk, a direction He had to take, a destiny He had to fulfill, and NOTHING would deter Him, including a posse of Temple officials intent on His arrest and death.

A man with that kind of determination is going places.  Add to that the fact that He was the Word made flesh, that He always did those things that pleased Father, that He walked in love that would never fail, and His faith could move mountains, calm storms, and raise the dead.  Put that man under the pressure of the ages, watch as His sweat becomes blood, and present Him with a destiny presented to Him by Jehovah God, and I will show you a volcano of supernatural power awaiting eruption in a place and level of power that had never before been seen.  There is therefore little wonder that when He opened His mouth to  declare boldly who He was, His words would be so powerful that those who heard them staggered backward and fell under their impact.  Of course, they were not the first to do so.  Consider Abram’s encounter with Jehovah, Ezekiel’s encounter with Jehovah, the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the den of lions.  And let us not forget the glory of God seen on Moses.  And more, my friend, the glory that was given Jesus Himself as the “only begotten Son of God” now belongs to you.   Stand tall, be bold, live strong, set your sights on eternity, and focus on glory, and NEVER TURN BACK. 

Manna for Today – John 18:1-11; Ephesians 5:1; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; Matthew 16:24;      Matthew 19:21; John 1:1-14; Luke 19:10; Galatians 3:13-29

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Are You Seeking the Right One

It is so easy to create God in our image that we lose sight of Who He truly is.

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John 18:4 – Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

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In our Text for Today, we find Jesus, after three hours of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, being confronted by troop of temple guards supplied by the high priest and Pharisees, and led to Jesus by Judas Iscariot.  They had come to arrest Him, desiring to put and end to His ministry.  Judas Iscariot had already indicated to them that the man he kissed was the one they wanted.  Coming into the garden, they found Jesus with His disciples, likely returning to Jerusalem after His prayer time.  I can only imagine His appearance.  He had prayed earnestly, sweating profusely for three hours in intense prayer.  The pressure on Him was so great that His blood pressure had increased to the point that blood was actually flowing forth through sweat pores, mingling with His sweat, and mixing with the dust on His face where He had fallen on His face in prayer.  He surely looked like a man who had been in a blood-letting fight for his life.  This is the appearance of the man Judas Iscariot kissed, thus identifying Him to the temple escort he brought with Him as Jesus.  Apparently, they still were reluctant to take hold of Him, so He asked them, “Whom seek ye?”  Their response was clear; “Jesus of Nazareth.”  And His response was just as clear; “I am He.”

My point in describing this scene it this.  Jesus had been with them daily for the past week, teaching and healing every day in the Temple.  They knew what He looked like.  Yet at the point in time they came for Him, His appearance was already so marred they did not recognize Him.  It is to that end that I offer the following query.  Have we been with Him for so long, so frequently, that we no longer count His presence as something to be strongly sought, prized, treasured, and lovingly desired?  Have we become so accustomed to our “routine” church services that we fail to recognize His true presence?  Have we created an image of our King that is so commercial that we would not recognize Him outside the special lighting, without the culturally acceptable music, and in a time frame that demands our attention for more than 15 or 20 minutes?  I realize this is not the case in all churches, but I assure that some or all of the description I have just offered can be easily found in so many of our churches today, not just in America, but around the world.  I encourage you with all my heart, Jesus hasn’t changed, though we certainly have.  get to know Him afresh, as He is, and let us believe and work together to see the glory He has given us restored in our lives, homes, and churches. 

Manna for Today – John 18:1-11; Matthew 7:7; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8

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A Regular Place

Prayer should be a consistent and intense part of our life in Christ.

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John 18:2 – And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

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Prayer.  I believe its simplest definition is simply “communion with God.”  In that word “communion” is an amazing amount of insight and imagery.  “Communion” is often looked upon more in a sense of a religious or spiritual context.  But it is also “communication.”  “Communication,” on the other hand, is likely viewed more on the lines of carrying on a conversation, or exchange or transferal of thoughts, ideas, desire, or will between two individuals.  Others may think of prayer as “talking TO God,” while still others think along the lines of “hearing FROM God.”

My purpose in addressing prayer today has not to do with the length of time, frequency, or even the fervency of prayer, but rather the PLACE of PRAYER.  Look closely at our Text for Today once again.  Do you see the words, “for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither.”?  We know that Jesus was a praying man.  We know He prayed often.  We know He prayed fervently.  We know He prayed for protracted periods of time.  And though He traveled often to different places within His country, it seems that the garden of Gethsemane was a place to which He resorted frequently.  I believe He came there to pray; to a place familiar to Him; to a place where He could be alone with Father.

I owe so much to the heritage left me by men of God who have gone before me.  Some had great names, and still do so today.  Others, unknown by the masses, have still impacted me greatly.  My father-in-law was such a man.  He was a minister in the Church of God for 45 or more years.  He pastored many churches, helping to lift them from great difficulty to a place of respect in the community with strong congregations and well-established facilities.  Among his attributes as a saint of God was his prayer life.  He was a praying man.  Before I married his daughter, they moved from a residence in one town to another.  At the first residence, he had a regular place of prayer; a log in the woods new a small stable where he kept a few animals.  When he moved to the new location, he took the log with him.  It was his altar; his regular and familiar place of communion with the Lord.  He stored it in the hay-loft of the stable where he moved.  When it rained, he no longer had to pray in the rain.  But still, as long as his health permitted, there is where he would go for his personal prayer time.  Often late at night, even on the coldest of winter nights, he would come late from the stable, having taken far longer in prayer than he had to feed his animals.  He had a place of prayer.  So did Jesus.  Do you? 

Manna for Today – John 18:1-11; Luke 18:1-14; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 1 John 5:13-15

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Back to a Garden

It started in a garden.  How fitting to come to a garden to begin its end!

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John 18:1 – When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

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I love to read the Word of God, and as I do, I frequently find intriguing parallels in things that happen over great spans of time.  Today I want to look at one of those marvelous parallels.  Both events occur in a garden; one in the garden of Eden, and the other in the garden of Gethsemane.  Let’s look at them together.

In the garden of Eden, we find the first Adam (male and female; for they were both Adam at that moment; woman was not called Eve until AFTER the fall.  There in the garden of Eden, a garden planted by the Lord, the man and woman find themselves confronting Satan.  The woman was tempted to eat forbidden fruit; fruit the Father had expressly forbidden them to eat.  There, being offered positions of glory, power, and knowledge, she succumbed, and the man beside here took of the fruit without being tempted.  While the woman had committed sin after being drawn away by her own lusts and enticed, the man committed high treason.  And their action led to spiritual death and expulsion from the garden they should have owned and enjoyed.

Now we turn to our Text for Today.  Thousands of years after man’s failure in the garden of Eden, another man, the second Adam, is in the garden of Gethsemane.  There, He, too, encounters a device of Satan.  Three years prior to this encounter, Satan had offered Him the kingdoms of the world and their glory if He would only worship the devil.  And here again, Jesus has that same cup, the cup of sin, sickness, poverty, and death set before Him.  Where the first Adam had taken that cup without being tempted, Jesus received that cup at the direction of Father.  He had prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.”  On that day, Jesus, the second Adam, drank that cup He so hated so He could taste of the curse of the law for you and me, suffer the death of the cross, and be raised from the dead for our justification.  Oh, what a wonderful and loving thing He did for us.

In both instances, after partaking of the cup before them, they left the garden.  Adam was forced out, and Jesus was arrested and taken out.  In Adam’s case, he was barred eternally from re-entering.  But with Jesus, it was not so.  Though He departed the garden of Gethsemane, He opened a way through His blood for man to enter again into the Kingdom Garden of God; a place of love and life, healing and health, provision and plenty, abundance and authority, glory and grace.  Adam was driven out, Jesus was taken out, but we have gained entrance through the blood. 

Manna for Today – John 18:1-11; Genesis 1-3; Matthew 26:39-42

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The Way of Love

We sing, “Oh to be His hand extended.”  That’s walking in love, and He makes is possible.

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John 17:26 – And I have declared unto them Thy Name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

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Before pressing forward, let’s establish some foudational truths.  Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, while a Trinity, are One.  Jesus and the Word are One.  Jesus was the Word made flesh, and in Revelation 19 we read that His Name was called “the Word of God.”  I do not know how this truth could be any more firmly established.  When we speak about Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and the Word, we are, in essence, speaking of the same Person – Jehovah Elohim.

Now consider the Words of Jesus in this passage.  He said He had declared the Name of the Lord to His followers, and that He would continue to declare it, so “that the love wherewith Thou (Jehovah) hast loved Me (Jesusthe Word made flesh) may be in them.”  And it should be just as clear to us that the “love wherewith Thou has loved Me” is indeed the love of God, and that is, in fact, God, for God is love.

Now let’s go to the next phase of this walk in the Word.  Jesus is the Word, and One with Father.  God is love, and therefore One with Jesus (the Word).  And then we read that Jesus said that the declaring of the Name of the Lord (the Word) is what makes it possible for the love of God (that being the Lord Himself) to dwell in man.  Aside from the Word, this would not be possible.  But with faith, all things are possible.  And since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, then when the Word is declared and heard, faith comes.  And when we add to that imagery the truth that the love of God is to keep His Commandments (the Word), the picture becomes quite clear.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  This is the love of God that you keep His Commandments.  And faith works by love, and love never fails.  This whole belief system, that is our relationship with Jesus, is so intricately woven that it is amazing, and at the same time, so easily seen and able to be understood.  It can all be summed up in a few words.  THE WAY OF LOVE IS THROUGH FAITH IN GOD’S WORD, AND IF YOU HAVE FAITH IN IT, THEN YOU WILL DO (OBEYIT.  Enjoy your walk with the Lord, live by faith in love, and never fail to declare the Word of God to all in every situation and through every circumstance. 

Manna for Today – John 17; Psalm 119:11; John 1:1; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3-7; Revelation 19:13

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