Why Do You Wait?

At an intersection, if the light is green, you don’t wait; you go.  Your light is green.

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John 20:21 – Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

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Read closely and breathe in deeply these words from the lips of the Messiah Himself, “as Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  If you have ever studied English grammar, then you should remember that a simile is a comparison using “like” or “as.”  Jesus’ statement and command is one of similitude.  So, first we need to consider HOW Father sent Jesus.  Read Luke 4:14-19.  Father anointed Jesus, and Holy Ghost came on Him because of that anointing to empower Jesus to preach, heal, and deliver.  Do you see it?  Because God HAD anointed Jesus, Holy Ghost came upon Him.  Holy Ghost comes to manifest Himself where the anointing is yielded to Him.

Do you sit today, waiting for Holy Ghost to move you?  Read our Text for Today once again.  How have you been sent?  As Jesus was sent, now you have been sent.  Once Jesus was sent, He did not wait for Holy Ghost to move Him.  because Jesus obeyed the Father, Holy Spirit was always there to move “with” Jesus, confirming His Word and empowering Jesus.  Now you are anointed, and being anointed, Holy Spirit will seek out that anointing that is upon your life, and there, when you voice His Word in faith, Holy Ghost will manifest Himself and confirm the Word.

So, stop sitting there.  Jesus has sent you to do what He did, and even greater.  It’s time to get up and get busy.  What is the Word of God commanding you to do?  don’t expect to be used by God in a great measure until you have shown yourself faithful in the smaller matters.  You have been sent just like Jesus was sent.  You have been given the same authority He had.  You have His Name and His Covenant backing you up in keeping His Commandments.  You have Holy Ghost as your Teacher, Helper, Guide, and Comforter.  You have been “inspired,” or “God in-breathed,” authorized, and empowered to carry out your role as a member of the body of Christ in the earth.  Why are you still sitting there?  Arise!  Go!  Obey the Lord!  The lost are waiting to be found, and you are the light of the world.  Why do you wait? 

Manna for Today – John 20:19-31; Luke 4:14-19; Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:12-14

 

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The Same Day

On Resurrection day, much more happened than most people realize.  What a mighty Lord is our Lord!

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John 20:19 – Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

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Years ago I read a great book by E. W. Kenyon titled “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne.”  It provoked me to study, learn, and investigate more deeply the events of that 40-day time period.  Today I want to examine two things that happened on Resurrection Sunday.  Immediately following the resurrection, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid, and found the tomb empty.  While still in that general vicinity, she encountered someone she thought to be the gardener.  But when He called her name, she realized it was Jesus.  She immediately moved to touch Him, but Jesus stopped her.  Here is a question for your consideration.  Why would Jesus stop here at that moment, and yet later on the same day, say to His disciples, “Handle Me, for a spirit hath not flesh and bone as you see I have.”?

While some may not consider these two events important, I believe they are.  We need to consider them, and place them properly along the “Cross to Throne” timeline in order to gai a much deeper insight into the depth and grandeur of the events surrounding our redemption.  Too many Christians don’t seem to realize that Adam’s high treason in the garden of Eden tainted with sin, not only all things earthly, but all the way UP TOBUT NOT INCLUDING FATHER’S THRONE.  When Father made man, He gave him authority over ALL His handiworks in heaven AND in earth.  Adam’s high treason released all that authority into Satan’s possession.  That is why in the days of Job, Satan could walk right into the presence of Jehovah and accuse the brethren directly before God’s face.

In the Old Testament, following the ritual cleansing of the high priest before he went into the Holy of holies with the Passover lamb, if anyone touched him, he would be unclean.  When Jesus was first raised from the dead, He was perfect, clean, and pure, so He could not allow anyone to touch Him before He had taken His blood, the blood of the final Passover Lamb to heaven’s Holy of holies.  That is why He would not allow Mary Magdalene to touch Him.  But later the same day, He allowed His disciples to touch Him.  Than can mean only one thing.  Between the time Mary saw Him and His appearance before His disciples, He had gone to heaven, applied His blood there, cleansed heaven, and returned to the earth.  this trip was a short one in duration, but eternal in scope.  Then later, at His ascension, He was able to return to heaven with the Old Testament saints, at which time He sat down on the right hand of Majesty on high.  No longer does Satan have access to heaven.  He accusing must now be done in the earth.  Deny him any authority, for he has none remaining.  Jesus totally defeated him, so enjoy living in your victory, and TOUCH THE MASTER . . . TODAY. 

Manna for Today – John 20:11-20; Luke 24:36-43

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The Sweetest Sound

One of the sweetest sounds you will ever hear is hearing someone who love you call your name.

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John 20:16 – Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

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In our life here on this earth, one of the sweetest sounds one will ever hear is his/her name, especially when it is called by a voice the hearer knows that is from someone who loves them.  When I do leadership training in different parts of the world, I have found that regardless of culture, when the attendees have gotten to know me a bit, and I call their name, the immediate response almost always comes with a smile and a twinkle of the eye included.

Imagine the scene at the coming of Mary Magdalene to the tomb of Jesus.  She found the tomb empty; the body of Jesus was gone.  While still in the garden, she sees a man she believes to be the gardener, and she ask him where she could find the body of the Lord.  When the supposed gardener responded, everything about that scene changed.  Think about it.  She had already dealt with the sadness and bitterness at what she thought to be her loss of the one she considered Messiah.  Now His body is missing.   The response of the supposed gardener shook her world.  He responded by simply calling her name.  He said, “Mary.”  While she had not recognized Him before, when she heard her name coming from His lips, she knew it was Him.  All doubt fled from her presence.  What a joy surely surged through her whole being as she realized her Savior, her Lord, her Master, her Friend was alive and standing before her!  Once again she had heard Him call her name!  Oh how sweet that sound must have been to her ears!  Still, at that moment, though she longed to do so, she could not touch Him, for He had not yet ascended to heaven to apply His blood to the heavenly vessels of worship, there to be accepted and payment in full for covenant before Father, thus making heaven a fit place for redeemed saints to come and abide in the presence of Father.

But what of you, my friend?  Jesus surely knows your name.  Have you heard Him speak to you today?  Are you listening for His voice?  Whether you recognize His voice of not, Jesus still speaks to you.  It is directly through His Word, or by His Word through the lips of a servant of God, or by His Spirit, Jesus is still speaking.  Through dreams, visions, or gifts of the Spirit, Jesus is still speaking.  Are you listening?  It’s up to you.  Mary did not know He was alive until He called her name.  You, however, already know that He lives, and that He lives forevermore.  As the songwriter penned, “He lives….Christ Jesus lives today.  He walks with me and talks with me along the narrow way.”  Oh how sweet those words.  And as sweet as they are to the believing heart, a far sweeter sound is when Jesus speaks to you.  When He speaks to you, He doesn’t just speak to you in generic terms.  He is your Lord, your Savior; He bled and died for you; you are special to Him beyond your ability to fully grasp it.  When love of that depth speaks to the object of His love, He calls His love by name, and oh, how sweet that sound! 

Manna for Today – John 20:11-18; John 3:16; 1 John 5:4

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Come Early and Stay Late

Your name may not be remembered, but live so that future generation will speak of you in a good way when they say, “There was a man/women…..”

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John 19:39 – And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

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I find the Scriptures completely fascinating.  I realize they were not originally written in English, and that my Bible is a translation from languages such as Chaldean, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  But a particular phrasing of words from one language could be consistently translated to similar phrasing in English.  For a moment, consider the phrase, “there was a man.”  In almost every usage of that phrase, someone is about to be described or referenced who played a key role in the narrative at that point.  There are many references pointing to this very fact.  For instance, there was a Hebrew interpreter, a dream teller, the father of Samson, John Baptist, and Nicodemus.  There are multitudes more such references, but in each one, such terminology points to something of significance in the person’s life.

That is surely the case with Nicodemus.  His entry into the ministry of Jesus apparently came early, right after Jesus had selected His twelve closest disciples.  In John 3, Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, and he was a congregation of ONE.  Coming as he did to Jesus, he was among the first people to hear the message, “You must be born again.”  Nicodemus believed then, though the new birth could not happen for him until after Jesus was raised from the dead.  That is what makes his faithfulness to his beliefs so remarkable.  He came to his belief in Jesus early, and he stayed late.

Think of this:  there were many who believed in Jesus, but who at some point turned away from Him, including, at one point, His own mother, and His disciples.  Yet we don’t read this about Nicodemus.  With Him, it seemed much different.  He came to Jesus in His early ministry and believed.  Then in our Text for Today we see him in the picture again.  But amazingly, this was NOT after the resurrection, but immediately following His death.  If there was a point when His followers were having a struggle in their belief, it was then.  Yet that is when Nicodemus came on the scene the second time; this time with 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint and attempt to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.  It seems Nicodemus was expecting something beyond a funeral.

Are you expecting something great to come of your faith in God?  If so, adopt a Nicodemus attitude.  COME EARLY AND STAY LATE.  It is up to you to be that person whose actions will provoke those who follow you to say of you, “There was a man/woman….. 

Manna for Today – John 19:38-42; John 3:1-21

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Beyond Samaria

Jesus lived as we do, facing what we face, so we could live as He lives, overcoming what we face.

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John 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

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In John 4, we read of an interesting encounter with Jesus.  He was in Samaria, not among His own in Judea.  Apparently, He had been on a ministry journey with His disciples, and to return home, had chosen to travel through Samaria.  His disciples had gone into a village to buy food, and Jesus remained behind at a well.  When a Samaritan woman came to the draw water at an unusual time of day to, no doubt, avoid the ridicule and derision of other women, Jesus broke all the protocols.  He spoke to her; something no self-respecting Jewish male would do to a Samaritan woman.  He asked her to give Him water; something no self-respecting Jewish male would ask of a Samaritan woman.  He ministered to her in the spirit and in truth; something no self-respecting Jewish male would do to a Samaritan woman.  But what I would have you focus on is that when Jesus, apparently being thirsty, asked for water, the first thing He received was amazement, doubt, and even a rebuke for violating the normal protocols that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans.

Now let us travel to another day.  Once again, Jesus was among those who were not of His culture; this time it was the Romans.  His disciples, as in Samaria, were gone away some other place; perhaps looking on from far off.  And once again, He was thirsty.  And once again, He asked for something to drink.  In Samaria, He received drink FROM people outside of covenant (though the water was created by Father).  But this time, on the Cross, He received drink OF a people outside covenant (a drink prepared by the hands of man).  In Samaria, He used His thirst to save a life.  At Calvary, He used His thirst to make salvation available to the whole world.  Early in His ministry, Jesus had declared, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”  Jesus knew what it was to hunger and thirst after righteousness; that was His way of life.  I am so glad that He chose to become sin for us, that He chose to drink of a cup He preferred to NOT drink because He loved us.  I am so glad Jesus took our place, being tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  I am so glad His thirst for righteousness was not just for His own righteousness, but for ours as well.  I am so glad He took His thirst for righteousness BEYOND Samaria. 

Manna for Today – John 19:28-30; John 4:1-26

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The Moment He Became Sin

Our future in Christ was sealed from before the foundation of the world.  This was a part of that work.

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John 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

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Take a moment to re-read our Text for Today again.  The phrase, “After this” is a key to understanding Jesus’ thinking.  Having seen to the well-being of His mother, His earthly responsibilities were ended.  He was fulfilling the commandment to “honor one’s father and mother.”  Obedience to the Word is always a preface to stepping into the deeper plans of God.  Having done that, He then said, “I thirst.”

Upon hearing this, the Romans soldiers filled a sponge with vinegar, a bitter taste, and offered it to Jesus, and He drank it.  Earlier that day, before the crucifixion, He was offered the same drink – vinegar, or soured wine, but refused it.  So, why would He drink it when it was offered the second time?  What had changed?  The answer is found in the words He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  There He prayed three times for the cup of sin and death to pass from Him, but each time He re-affirmed His obedience to Father’s will.  He would NOT, therefore, drink of the bitter dregs of sin’s cup BEFORE He was crucified.  But after He was nailed to the Cross, having completed ALL Father’s will, having lived sinlessly, and having perfectly kept the law, He yielded to Father’s will.  His drinking of the vinegar sponge symbolized that that transition in which the “only begotten Son” would become sin, and thereby shows us the moment that He became sin on the Cross.

Jesus used symbolism throughout His life and ministry, and it was seen even in His birth and childhood.  Everything we read about Jesus in the Scriptures holds great significance; the three different gifts brought by the wise men, His baptism by John Baptist, His miracles, and His sufferings.  Each element of His life, not just His Words, offer deep revelation of the heart of Father God.  And the elements surrounding His arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection are not less magnificent deposits of revelation gold for us to miner from our reading, study, search, and meditation of the Word of God.  Father is NOT seeking to hide His will and knowledge FROM us through some mystery in His Word, but has rather hidden the eternal riches of revelation knowledge FOR us in the pages of our Bible.  Join me in mining as deeply and as often as you can from the life of God we find in the Scriptures. 

Manna for Today – John 19:28-30; John 4:1-26; Matthew 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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It’s All About Love – Part Two

Love trusts because love is trustworthy.  The highest trust always arises out of love.

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John 19:26 – When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, who He loved, He saith unto His mother, behold thy son!

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Again today we consider the love and heroism of Jesus on the Cross.  He hung there, knowing He was about to go where no man had ever gone and returned.  Others had gone there, but none had returned.  But He would.  In all His suffering and torment, it was what He knew that sustained Him, NOT what He felt.

Looking down from the Cross, Jesus saw three women and one man He clearly recognized.  He saw Mary Magdalene, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary, His mother.  He also saw John, His disciple, Peter’s brother.  In that moment, He did two things.  He committed the care of His mother to John, and He laid the responsibility for it on John.  In is keenly interesting here that He committed His mother into the hands of the man who was called, “the disciple Jesus loved.”  Obviously, Jesus loved all His disciples, so why would John be so labeled?

First of all, who wrote these words?  Who was it that labeled John “the disciple Jesus loved?”  It was John himself.  Can you imagine what was going on in John’s heart and mind?  He KNEW Jesus loved him.  you could not convince him otherwise.  Judas forgot it and hung himself.  Peter forgot it and denied Jesus three times.  Others forgot it and fled from His presence in the heat of the battles.  But John KNEW. 

He loved Jesus because Jesus first loved him.  And it was to that love that Jesus, in His great love, committed the care of His mother.  Of course, that is Who Jesus was.  He was all about love.  And what He did was about love.  And what He said was all about love.  And that, my friend, is what makes Him the greatest hero.  For Jesus, it’s all about love.  Without faith you cannot please God, but since faith works by love, it’s all about love.  The love of God is to keep Him commandments, so for faith to work, we must keep His commandments.  It’s all about love.  And we love Him because He first loved us.  So, so one more time I commit this statement; IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE! 

Manna for Today – John 19:16-27; John 20:2; John 21:7; John13:23; 1 Corinthians 13; John 14:15-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 5:3

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It’s All About Love – Part One

God is love.  Faith works by love.  The love of God is keeping His commandments.  It’s all about love.

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John 19:26 – When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, who He loved, He saith unto His mother, behold thy son!

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What I am about to describe, I have witnessed or heard it reported in various ways.   It is what one witnesses in the actions of a true hero.  It can be seen when one who is hurting or suffering in a battle (the specifics of the battles are not so important), but their concerns are for those they lead and love.  They continue in their labor, love, and leadership while many or most of their followers or friends have no idea what they truly face.  Intentional heroes are all about love.

Consider Jesus on the Cross.  No human being in history, before or after the Cross has endured what Jesus did.   It was His body that was broken, scarred, bruised, and bleeding in the most heinous ways imaginable; beaten in the face while blind-folded, lashed by the Roman flagrum, struck with rods, spat upon, His clothes ripped from His body, thus reopening wounds from coagulated blood, forced to carry a 200 pound wooden beam on His shoulders, a crown of thorns, spikes in His hands and feet, and hours of untold agony on the Cross.  That was all on Him.  it was HIS mind that was tormented, knowing what He faced, carrying the chastisement of our peace, and suffering, not only the anguish of the Garden of Gethsemane, but the emotional torment of being cut off from the Father God.

And yet, suffering all that as no other person ever has or will, when He saw His mother standing at the foot of the Cross, where was His focus?  On her.  He was concerned for her care, her well-being, and her future.  Oh what love!  Oh what a hero!  But don’t miss this.  One can only love, serve, and be truly heroic in such circumstances when he/she already knows the outcome.  Jesus endured “for the joy that was set before Him.”  Therefore I ask you, “What joy is set before you?”

I can assure you that any real joy that is before you is there because of the price Jesus paid for you, your life, and your future.  The joy set before Jesus had you in the picture.  The joy that is set before us has Jesus in the picture.  The “YOU” in the joy set before Jesus was the potential that all men could be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  Live in such a manner that Jesus will not be saddened in any way at your outcome.  He suffered and died so you could have life and have it more abundantly.  Live in that manner, enjoying abundant life, fulfilling the joy of His heart.  If you love Him, you will.  Remember, it’s all about love. 

Manna for Today – John 19:16-27; John 20:2; John 21:7; John13:23; 1 Corinthians 13; John 14:15-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 John 5:3

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