Bold Faith

Living faith is alive, and in that life is a boldness that only comes from the Lord.

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Acts 3:7 – And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

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For some days now, we have been talking about boldness, and in particular, boldness in its direct connection to faith.  We have seen that true boldness is a living entity, arising from the God kind of faith.  It is neither brash nor timid, but strong in standing.  Today we examine this remarkable force further.  Look at our Text for Today.  In this particular instance of the performance of boldness arising from the God kind of faith, we witness boldness in the work of bringing someone to the place of being ready to receive from God.  And when that boldness had set the stage by both word and action for the lame man to receive, it entered into the next step without hesitation. 

What a joy it is to see the boldness of faith take action, and in our Text for Today, we see one of its most vivid examples.  Peter took the lame man by the “right hand and lifted.”  Note in our Text for Today that the words “him up” are in italics, meaning the translators added them for clarity.  They certainly do not distract from what happened, but the key action words in this work of the boldness of faith are “took” and “lifted.”  Matthew tells us that regarding the work of the kingdom, that “the violent take it by force.”  This is not talking about carnal weapons or actions, but by spiritual ones.  Still, we must always remember that when spiritual actions are taken, corresponding physical actions must be taken.  Because these actions are taken in proper response to faith, they are not carnal actions, but spiritual ones, even though physical action is involved.  That is what happened in our Text for Today

We know that the love of God is clearly defined as keeping His commandments.  We know that faith works by love.  From this truth we can easily see that the God kind of faith and love REQUIRES physical response on our part.  It is the “works” that demonstrate “faith.”  And it requires boldness.  We see it clearly in our Text for Today.  After faith was released, work was required.  So, Peter “took” the man by the hand, and having taken him by the hand, he “lifted” the man up.  Peter did NOT ask for the man’s hand; he TOOK it.  Nor did Peter ask what the man felt like doing; he LIFTED him up.  That’s what faith does.  It TAKES hold of what needs to be done, and it DOES it.  Oh, and allow me to state it very clearly once more; faith does it BOLDLY.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; James 2:20-26; Matthew 11:12; John 14:12-17

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The Character of Boldness

True boldness has life in it, and in that life is character.

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Acts 3:6 – Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

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True boldness is a living thing.  While it is not mentioned as such as a part of the fruit of the spirit, it is surely an element of the life of God that is manifest in His Church.  This living thing we call boldness takes action in and through our lives.  That is what we examine today.  Look first at our Text for Today.  This scenario began with the beauty of boldness shining forth.  Peter and John had come to the temple via the gate Beautiful for prayer time. When they stopped where the lame man was laid, they had purpose.  Their stop was intentional.  True boldness is always intentional – never accidental.  They stopped to do something specific.  That was boldness stopping.

Peter spoke; “Look on us.”  That was boldness speaking to get attention; to create focus.  We know it was boldness because of what followed those three powerful words.  Without shouting, without demonstrating, without the media being present, and without a pre-established agenda, Peter’s words got the attention of the intended person in need.

Now look at Peter’s follow-up statement.  “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.”  That is boldness serving notice of intent.  Now we can see the intention of their stopping at the gate Beautiful.  Note once again, the intent of this boldness.  Peter was stating that he wanted to GIVE something to the lame man.

And then the next statement gives perfect clarity of what was contained in the intent.  Read it for yourself; “In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  This is boldness in the act of giving.  But please not what this boldness was giving.  It was not aggressive, nor was it apathetic.  It was not brash, nor did it back down.  Rather, it was good, refreshing, uplifting, encouraging, life-giving, restorative, and loving.  That is the nature of true boldness.  Don’t mistake boldness look-alikes for the real thing.  Brashness pushes, but will pull back when it meets courageous boldness.  Boldness simply stands in truth, unmoving, unwavering, unfailing.  True boldness is not about being self-confident, but in being God-confident.  True boldness is God-centered, God-originated, God inspired, and God-sustained.  May the Lord grant this boldness to His Church at this hour.  Oh, how we need it!

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; John 3:16-17; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:6-10

Boldness Inspires

Think about it . . . what does timidity inspire?

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Acts 3:4-5 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

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The Scriptures declare, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”  But it has never said, “A timid answer turns away wrath.”  There is a vast difference between the two.  The ability to be soft (tender or kind) never arises from a state of weakness, lack of knowledge, fear, or timidity.  The true ability to be soft (tender or kind) always arises from place of strength, knowledge of the truth, faith, and boldness.  And such boldness, if indeed it is truly boldness is filled with strength, knowledge and faith.

I have witnessed soft answers handle heavy situations when the answer arose from a position of boldness I have described.  I have likewise heard loud answers, hard answers, even harsh and clever answers that simply crumbled under any true pressure, because the loudness, hardness, harshness, or cleverness were only masks attempting to hide timidity. 

Look once again at our Text for Today.  Peter and James had passed this way before.  But on this occasion they stopped, and Peter spoke.  At the beginning, he spoke three words; “Look on us.”  That’s all.  But there was something about the manner in which those words were spoken that evoked the initial response from the lame man.  When Peter spoke, the lame man “gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.”  I am convinced that “something” was holy boldness.  Peter and John were strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Peter spoke from knowledge of having been with the Master.  Peter spoke in faith; a fully active obedience to the command of the Lord, being obedient to His Word by which faith had come.  Peter and John were two men filled with holy boldness.  I don’t believe Peter shouted or raised his voice.  I don’t believe Peter spoke brashly or harshly.  And the words Peter spoke certainly do not belie any cleverness to deceive.  But there WAS BOLDNESS

It was boldness that got the lame man’s attention.  It was boldness that held his attention.  And it was boldness that directed his attention towards something beyond the ordinary.  Money would have been okay, but it was not money he received.  A kind word may have been appreciated, but it was not a kind word he received.  What he received was the presence of Holy Ghost, a word from the Lord, the flowing of the power of God, and a miracle in his body.  But without the boldness that grabbed and held his attention, and that prepared him to act in faith when he heard the words to “rise up and walk,” would he have had his life so dramatically changed?  Boldness inspires, and we still need that same kind of boldness today.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 29:8; Romans 10:17

Attention Understood

God does not intend for His people to stumble into His blessings and promises.  We need to be focused.

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Acts 3:4-5 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

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Do you believe the Bible?  I do!  If you believe the Bible, then you must believe that YOU ARE who it says you are, that YOU CAN DO what it says you can do, and that YOU HAVE and CAN HAVE what is says you have and can have.  It’s that simple.  Again, I ask, do you believe the Bible?

Doing what the Bible calls upon us to do, especially in the arena of ministry to others, calls for great exertion in sacrifice, compassion, and boldness.  As I have traveled in more recent years, I am happy to say that I still observe great exertion in sacrifice and compassion.  These are still two powerful motivators present in many men and women of God, and can be so clearly seen in their faithfulness to their calling.  But unfortunately, I cannot report the same in the arena of boldness.

In this present age, political and social correctness seems to have superseded necessary boldness for sustaining the purpose, power, and principle required for forward movement in life.  Sin is called a mistake.  Bad is acceptable and we are called upon to understand it for the sake of humanity, and after a time, bad is even called expedient and good.  Consider the abortion issue as it is presently creeping across the banners of television newsrooms.  Abortion is murder; it is now and always has been.  And we have been on that slippery slope, in many respects without strong public challenge from the Church, until we presently are hearing that abortion is a social right, even up to and beyond the point of birth.  Once again, it is murder.  Use any other nomenclature you desire – abortion is murder.

It took great boldness for Peter to say, “Look on us.”  It still takes great boldness.  Sadly, boldness of that magnitude is rare.  Quoting Philippians 4:13, even when it is set within absolutely correct doctrinal guide-lines, takes extreme boldness today.  Leonard Ravenhill said, “Today’s Christian experience is so sub-normal that a normal New Testament experience would seem abnormal.”  Oh, how sad it is that his state- ment is so accurate.  You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ, NOT an old sinner saved by grace.  You ARE the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath.  You CAN do all things through Christ which strengthens you, and when that statement is made within the guidelines of anointing, there should be ho shyness in stating it.  The boldness of which I write attracts attention.  It calls for onlookers to gaze for the purpose of seeing something meaningful.  It speaks boldly, acts boldly, lives boldly, and expects boldly.  Oh Father, I ask You, restore Your boldness to Your Church, in Jesus’ Name.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; Philippians 4:8; Matthew 12:34-37; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23; Matthew 18:19-20

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It Requires Attention

When I see my doctor, I focus on him AND the tools/methods he uses.  Healing requires focus.

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Acts 3:4-5 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

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In today’s church world, I am hearing the oft-asked question, “Why don’t we see mighty moves of God like we see in the Bible?”  Yes, I know, in some Christian circles we ARE seeing great manifestations of the power of God in miracles, healings, signs, and wonders.  However, it’s not enough to talk about what’s happening somewhere else in the body of Christ. I don’t know about you, but I want to see manifestations of God’s power everywhere I go.  I’m glad other people are witnessing them, but I want to witness them myself, and in a manner that truly honors the Lord and makes them available to all those around me.

I cannot tell you that what I write here is the sole answer to that matter, but I am thoroughly convinced that it DOES INDEED play a major role.  Read our Text for Today once more.  We know the story.  Peter spoke to the lame man at the gate beautiful, the man was healed, and as the Word declares, he entered the temple, “walking and leaping and praising God.”  But there are three words in our Text for Today that I believe are key to this healing work.  Peter called for, in fact, demanded someone’s attention.  He said to the lame man, “Look on us.”  We read further that the man did look on them, and did so expecting to receive something.

My query is this.  Have we, the people of God, and especially those of us in five-fold ministry, become to shy, so backward, perhaps even pathetic in our faith in God’s Word, that we fail to exercise this same boldness Peter exercised at the gate Beautiful?  Make not mistake about it.  Peter used the Name of Jesus, and later acknowledged that it was belief in and faith in that Name that brought the lame man to wholeness.  We MUST NEVER let that escape our thinking.  But he only used the Name of Jesus AFTER he got the man’s attention.  God used men and women throughout the Old Testament to do His bidding.  He continued that work in Jesus in His earthly ministry.  And still today that pattern continues, but with greater power.  NOW, we are sons of God, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ, able ministers of the NEW Covenant, and ambassadors of Christ.  We are called upon and commanded to not only do all the works Jesus did, but greater.  I see the Church, in large part, failing in this arena.  Once again I ask, could it be that we are failing to “get the attention” of those in need, not only on Jesus, but on us, too?  It’s YOUR light that is to shine.  YOU are NOW the light of the world.  Shine, my friend; people need to have their attention drawn to both the source (Jesus) AND the channel (you).

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Joshua 1:6-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; Philippians 4:8; Matthew 12:34-37; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; John 15:7; John 16:23; Matthew 18:19-20

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Distraction or Divine Appointment

When you’re fully prepared, distractions become opportunities.

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Acts 3:1-3 – Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

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Think about the location of the events of our Text for Today.  It was at the temple gate called Beautiful.  The week prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus had entered here every day.  The lame man in our Text for Today was laid there daily.  Now it might appear that Jesus walked by him every day, but this is not necessarily so.  It was the “ninth” hour of the day.  That would be about 3:00 PM, but Jesus always entered in the morning.  It is likely that when Jesus came daily to the temple, the man was not there yet.   

But consider the scene in our Text for Today.  Why were the disciples coming to the temple?  They were coming to pray.  Now consider this; who was it that had afflicted the man lame man?  If we believe John 10:10, we would say “Satan.”  Had Satan caused the lame man to be laid there to receive his healing, or was he placed there to be a distraction for those entering for prayer?  Remember, he was laid there daily.  Prayer time came daily, and so did those who came to pray.  Each day was an opportunity to get some money from those entering the temple.  Now don’t misunderstand me.  God’s will is to heal, but how many people use their ailments (sometimes even false ailments) to get sympathy, attention, and even material things from those who might have pity on them.  In no way am I saying this was the case for the lame man. But the fact is, he was placed there daily and had never received any productive ministry.  This is my question.  While his need was genuine, and perhaps even his desire was genuine, could it be that the enemy was using his lameness as a distraction towards those who came to pray?  I am convinced we see this in great volume from week to week in our churches; many people needing healing, desiring healing, but not receiving their healing.  Is it possible the enemy is using these dear people as distractions to keep others from fully engaging the work of the hour?  Prayer and ministry of the Word?

PLEASE!  Understand that I am in no way ascribing blame to those in need.  Rather I am attempting to draw the attention of those of us who come be ministering to them.  WHAT IF?  What if those who should be engaged in ministry were spiritually prepared to face that healing need with what is truly needed?  HEALING!  Let us not be distracted by the image of the need, but rather let us be focused on Him Who meets that need, the Healer, the Deliverer, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  If we are ready, distractions could be turned into divine appointments.

Manna for Today – Acts 3:1-10; Romans 8:26-29; Philippians 4:13; Luke 1:37; Mark 16:15-20

Follow-up On Order

Order works.  Divine order works divinely.

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Acts 2:46-47 – And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

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It would seem to me that if order works, then divine order would work divinely, or as it might be said, supernatural order works supernaturally.  And the order we are examining in our Text for Today is a result of following a supernatural order established in the early church, and revealed in Acts 2:42-43.  That same order is revealed again in our Text for Today.  Let’s look at it once again. 

First, “they, continued daily with one accord.”  Once again, their steadfast continuity of coming together in accordance with God’s Word began the process.  Second, they were, as before, breaking bread to- gether, and they ate together “with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God.”  Third, in that place of unity and agreement, they found themselves “having favour with all the people.”  This is a manifestation of the Deuteronomy 28 promise that “the world shall fear you because they see you are called by the name of the Lord,” and the Isaiah promise that “the Spirit of the fear of the Lord shall rest upon them.”  And fourth, when the hand of God is truly seen resting upon a person, a work, a church, or a ministry, it draws people.  While many may run from light, many are also drawn to light, especially when in that light is freedom, deliverance, healing, and more; what Acts 2:42-43 called “wonders and signs.”

Once again, we see that same divine order set forth, and the same fruitfulness being brought forth.  To that observation I bring this query.  What are we doing in the church today?  Are we continuing daily with one accord, or are we generally going about in our individual paths, only coming together for what is now a once-a-week social or party gathering?  Are we breaking bread together, enjoying the richness of unity and demonstrating the joy and power that arises from it?  Or are we more concerned with outings and events where we focus on ourselves?  Things like outings and events are not wrong, but not to the exclusion of “breaking bread together.” (The Bread of Life must be kept the centerpiece of our fellowship.)  The breaking of bread is more than eating natural food; it includes that joyous sharing together in the Word of God that attracts the attention of onlookers.  Are we finding favor with all people because of our character, testimony, blessing, and joy, or are we merely viewed as another group of clients that add to the profit margin?  Are we that carriers of the supernatural power of God, drawing people to Christ AND to His Church, or are we simply another novelty created by current social standards and interactions?  Just some thoughts for your consideration.

Manna for Today – Acts 2:13-47; Mark 4:26-29; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

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There IS an Order

You can have all elements necessary for fire, but if you don’t combine them in the proper order, no fire.

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Acts 2:42-43 – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

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Do we read the Scriptures haphazardly?  Do we give serious and necessary consideration to the order in which so many things are set forth in the Scriptures?  How many Christians have gone from studying the Word of God for themselves, allowing Holy Spirit to speak and reveal truth them to allowing those who fill the pulpits to do their thinking for them?  For that matter, how many people in the world today have all but lost the ability to think for themselves, and allow intellectuals, philosophers, politicians, and media to think for them?  Is it also possible that the order established by the Lord through which He would show Himself mighty to, through, and for us, is often overlooked because we fail to see any real importance of it?

Look at our Text for Today. In it we see four phrases, all connected by the word “and.” That conjunction, “and” indicates connection, not separation.  At the same time, the manner in which it is stated implies that the “and” would indicate a particular order, or sequence.  Take a closer look at the sequence.

First, “they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship.”  Their lives were being built around the foundation of the Word of God.  Second, they were faithful in the “breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  They ministered to one another, sharing with one another, serving one another, and praying with and for one another.  This was a result of obedience to the Word in which they continued stedfastly.  Third, “fear came upon every soul.”  This only happens when there is a true sense of the presence, power, plan, and purpose of God.  Following the first two elements, they became more and more aware of the powerful presence of the Lord.  Fourth, “many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”  When the Word is given first place and final authority, AND when God’s people are together in unity, peace, and prayer, AND when God’s people hold their God in awe and respect, the outcome is manifest in the working of signs and wonders by the hand of the Lord.

I am convinced that our God has set forth in His Word what we could call divine orders, divine sequences, divine steps, that when followed, not out of some legal obligation, but out of loving compliance with His wishes for us, then He manifests His ultimate will in, for, to, through, and with us.  3 John 2 is so powerful in the light of this statement.  There the Lord says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”  Allow the Word to bring soul prosperity to your thinking.  There is a divine result to divine order.

Manna for Today – Acts 2:13-47; Mark 4:26-29; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

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Do You Want the Gift?

Knowing that God is love, when I hear He has a gift for me, I want it!  All of it! 

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o You Want the Gift?

Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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My question for you today is a simply one?  Do you want “the gift of the Holy Ghost?”  knowing that God is love, when I hear He has a gift for me, I want it!  I believe that any sensible person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ would certainly want any heavenly gift, especially one that has been made available to ALL believers.  And that is precisely what “the gift of the Holy Ghost” is – that gift is for ALL believers.  Sadly, not all believers have received that gift.

Many who are believers think they received that gift when they were born again, but this is not the case.  Let us examine what God’s Word has to say about that.  First of all, consider our Text for Today.  The wording of this verse is critical to this knowledge.  First, Peter said, “Repent.”  That means to change you mind about the way you live, act, and think.  You realize you need Jesus, and so you choose to turn your thinking from a Christ-less life of sin and darkness to a Christ-filled life in following after righteousness.  Then Peter said, “be baptized every one of you in (INTO) the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”  This is the act of the new birth.  Please note: receiving “the gift of the Holy Ghost” is SUBSEQUENT TO the new birth.  It is not a part of or simultaneous with the new birth, but SUBSEQUENT TO.

Consider our Manna for Today, especially Luke 11:13.  It is clearly indicated there that one must have a relationship of “child to Father” in order to be a recipient of Holy Ghost.  Read the words closely.  “If ye … know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”  There it is.  Do you see it?  To receive “the gift of the Holy Ghost,” one MUST know Jehovah God as his/her Father.  And that can only be the case AFTER the new birth.

Once again, I ask you; do you want the gift of the Holy Ghost?  If you are born again but have not already received that wonderful gift, the solution is simple.  Ask, believe, and receive.  The Word of God declares that to be the case, and the Word of God CANNOT lie.  Ask, believe, and receive.  And when you receive, you shall speak with tongues as Holy Spirit gives utterance.  Expect it!  Enjoy it!

Manna for Today – Acts 2:13-41; John 14:15-17; Luke 11:13; 1 John 4:8 &16

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Footstools

There is something about a footstool that is peaceful and therapeutic.

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Acts 2:34-35 – For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

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Have you ever just taken time to sit down, perhaps in a rocking chair, for a moment of rest?  Was there a footstool by it?  Did you experience a natural urge to simply rest your feet on that stool?  Not only was there something restful in that position, but there comes with that rest a sense of peace and even healing.  It is indeed, not only restful, but peaceful and therapeutic.  It seems that just the word “footstool” brings about a mental image of therapeutic rest and peace.

Not consider that in the  light of our Text for Today.  First of all, to use a footstool properly, one needs to be seated.  To be seated with Jesus in heavenly places is to be in a place of safety, authority, peace, and rest.  It is in that place that one begins one’s life in Christ.  When you are born again, you are raised up and seated together in Christ Jesus in heavenly places.

Next note the position in which you are seated in Christ; “ON MY RIGHT HAND.”  You should be clearly aware that this statement was made by Father to Jesus.  In Biblical thinking, a person’s right hand beneath you is not only a sign of giving full support to the seated person, but a strong indicator of being submitted to the will and desire of the person who is being upheld.  Remember the story of Abraham’s servant sent to find a wife for Isaac.  The servant placed his hand under Abraham’s thigh so that Abraham was basically seated on his servant’s hand.  Now realized WHY Father’s hand is under Jesus.

And how long was Jesus told to sit there?  “Until I make Your enemies your footstool.”  When all the enemies of Jesus have become His footstool, it will be time for Jesus to rise and come to claim His bride.  This is an image for us to follow (imitate) in our own lives.  When you’re born again, your life in Christ has just started.  At that moment, you are not at a place of spiritual maturity to handle all that is in the world.  That takes time, nurturing, growth, teaching, and training.  Could it be that one of the reasons so many Christians have such battles with sickness and disease is that once born again, once seated with Jesus in heavenly places, we launch too quickly into places of life for which we are not spiritually prepared?  Could we be moving too early into places where the enemy has NOT been made our footstool.  We are individuals.  We must remember that just because an enemy is under YOUR feet does not mean that same enemy is under MY feet.  Healing and footstools are related.  Think on this.

Manna for Today – Acts 2:13-41; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:35; Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:41-43; Acts 7:49; Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 10:9-13; James 2:

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