Irritated to See

Are you willing to accept irritation if it leads to seeing clearly?  Failing to see clearly can be fatal.

Text for Today – John 9:7 – And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Think about this picture; Jesus encountered a blind man. He made up clay with dirt from the ground and His Own spittle.  He then anointed, or rubbed that gritty solution onto the eyeballs of the blind man, and then told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.

That could almost be considered an act of cruelty, but for the outcome.  How sensitive is the surface of your eye?  Even blind people’s eyes are sensitive to gritty particles rubbing against the surface of their eyes.  Add to that the fact that the man is blind.  He can’t see the pool of Siloam, but rather has to find it by whatever means he can.  So here is a blind man searching for a pool he cannot see while his eyes are irritated beyond imagination.  (Have you ever had your eyes filled with dust and grit?  I have, and it is tormenting, even through the process of washing out all the foreign matter.)  Yet when the man obeyed the Lord and washed in the pool of Siloam, he came away seeing and glorifying God.

I’ve a question for you.  Have you ever been blinded by something; a certain situation, or a problem, or what seemed to be a hopeless need?  Have you had someone come to you and speak the Word of God to you, only to have it irritate you because it required something from you that was extremely uncomfortable?  Then you were in the same condition as the blind man in our Text for Today.  You already know the outcome.  If you received that Word, regardless of how irritating it was, and walked according to it, you came seeing; your answer was revealed to you. 

How about today?  Are you or someone you know in one of those predicaments right now?  If so, then expect the possibility of being irritated.  If the Word spoken to you seems a little rough and irritating, receive it anyway and obey what the Lord says.  He wants you to see clearly.  It’s when you see clearly that He receives the greatest honor, for when you see clearly, your testimony is clear and unmistakable.  The Lordship of Jesus is made manifest to the glory of God, and others are made to know the reality of the power and ability of God.

Manna for Today – 1 Samuel 15; 1 John 5:3; Matthew 7:24-27; Matthew 25:1-10

No Greater Faith

The faith God gave us is His faith, perfect in every way.  We must learn to use it to its fullest.

Text for Today – Matthew 8:10 – When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

What a remarkable statement for Jesus to make.  What had He seen to provoke such a statement?  What had taken place?  A Roman centurion had come to Jesus on behalf of his servant who needed healing.  His words revealed to Jesus that he was a man with deep understanding of authority, of chain of command.  He plainly told Jesus it was not necessary for Him to come to his house.  All he asked of Jesus was that Jesus would speak the Word.  The centurion had recognized how Jesus used His faith as his servant, and at the same time, how Jesus lived a disciplined life of one who was under the authority of another; in this case, His heavenly Father.

Jesus had seen faith exercised often in His ministry.  Time after time, He had encountered people with great needs.  He would speak to them, or touch them, or command something of them.  Whenever they responded obediently to what Jesus said, or simply believed what they were told by the Lord, the results were that the Word worked; every time.

But this man was a Roman.  He had no covenant as a Hebrew with the Lord.  Still, he came with a rich understanding of faith and how it worked.  “Speak the word only,” he said, “and my servant shall be whole.”  Jesus did just what He was asked to do, and what He was asked happened just as it was asked.  Oh, that we, members of the body of Christ, having eternal and unbreakable covenant with Jehovah God, would learn from this event, and approach our Lord the same way. 

Tell me, what has God said about you?  Has He called you righteous?  Has he said you were healed?  Has He called you the “head and not the tail?”  Has He made you more than a conqueror, an overcome in fact?  The answer to each of these questions is an emphatic “YES!”  For us, all He needs to say about us is already written in His Word.  When any enemy tries to convince us otherwise, all we need do is respond as Jesus did by saying, “It is written.”  Of course, you have to know it is written.  You need to know His Word.  It needs to be written in your heart.  Your mind needs to be renewed to it.  You need to allow His mind to function in you, helping you bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  He has authored and finished your faith.  How can any believer doubt that He would do less for them than the centurion?

Manna for Today – Hebrews 11:1-6; Romans 4 & 5

The Darkness Is Clearing

The power bill has been paid in full, the lights are on, and it’s getting brighter.

Text for Today – 1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

For those of us who believe that Jesus is Lord, and that His Word if forever settled in heaven, can there be any real doubt that the coming of Jesus for His church is near?  We are taught in the Scriptures that Jesus will come for a church that will be His spotless, glowing bride, without wrinkle or blemish, or any such thing.  I want to be a part of that church for which He is coming, so I have made my preparation.  I am as sure of my salvation and the fact that I will go with Him at His coming as I am that I am presently alive and writing these words.  My heart rejoices at the thought of spending eternity with my Lord in a glorified and perfected state.

But until then, we have much work to do.  This gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all the world as a witness to every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation.  And so it shall be.  There must be a grand sweeping of souls into the kingdom of God.  And so it shall be.  Revelation of His Word, His will, His plan, and the power of God being manifest in ways never before known is upon us even now. 

What the Old Testament prophets longed to see has largely been revealed to the New Testament church.  And even that which was sealed from revelation until the last days is being revealed.  Surely we are in the last days.  The prophesies of Matthew 24 concerning the days before the Lord comes for His church are being fulfilled today in multiple locations on the earth, not once or twice, but again and again, and all this is only the beginning of sorrows.  More and more revelation is flowing forth from the womb of Holy Ghost, and lives are being transformed.  Young Christians are growing up spiritually faster than at any time in the history of the church. Revivals are erupting worldwide, either through great evangelistic works or local churches coming alive as Holy Spirit brings about supernatural manifestations only He could do.

The mirror into which the church once gazed darkly is becoming brighter and brighter in this hour.  That glass through which we looked is becoming clearer as revelation of the Word increases, as the body of Christ continues to grow, and as we definitely near the end of this age.  Jesus is coming and He is getting His church ready for a glorious exit.  And when we leave, we will leave in the greatest glory the church has ever known, His glorious church going into the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Manna for Today – Romans 5:20; Hebrews 2:14; Daniel 12:9; Acts 2

The Reason He Died

Let me state it plainly.  He died because He is love, and I am His beloved.  He did it for me.

Text for Today – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I am sure there is no other verse in the Bible that is any plainer in its speech than the one chosen for our Text for Today.  Look at it closely.  God so loved the world.  Note, it did not say He loved the church, or His Own children, though He surely does.  He loved the world.  The world that rejected Him, despised Him, mocked Him, ridiculed Him, spat upon Him, beat and scourged Him; that’s the world God so loved.

And how much did He love that world?  He loved you and me so much, and in such a unique way, that He gave Jesus, His only begotten Son, so you and I could be saved.  All we have to do is believe.  And if we believe, we shall have eternal life and not perish.  Now that’s some awesome kind of love beyond what our natural minds can comprehend.

He was wounded and bruised for our transgressions and iniquities; not His own.  He was perfect, sinless, blameless, and flawless.  Yet he suffered for our sins so we could be freed from them, their guilt, their shame, and their punishment.  Oh, how thankful to our Lord we should be for His great sacrifice!

But there’s more.  The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; Him Who had perfect communion and fellowship with the Almighty.  He had lived in that perfect harmony and fellowship, that perfect unity for an eternity before the cross.  Then, on the cross, He was suddenly cut off from the presence of His Father.  I cannot begin to imagine the shock to His spiritual, soulish, or physical systems.  There is no wonder He gave up the ghost.  He was tormented so we could live a life free of fear, chaos, turmoil, and separation from God.  Oh, how thankful to our Lord we should be for His great sacrifice!

And still there’s more.  By His stripes we are healed.  In the New Testament we read that by His stripes we WERE healed.  It is a forever settled fact.  We are the healed in the kingdom of God.  As a member of His body, the price for our total healing has already been paid.  No sickness or disease has any right existing in or on our bodies.  He has redeemed us from the curse of the law; not part of the curse, but all of the curse.  Oh, how thankful to our Lord we should be for His great sacrifice!  Oh, and the reason – ME!

Manna for Today – 1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:4-5; Psalm 107:20; John 1; Galatians 3:13-29

Taking It Back

The church has blindly allowed our time to be stolen from us.  Open your eyes and TAKE IT BACK!

Text for Today – Ephesians 5:16 – Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

When I consider all that the enemy has stolen from the church of the Lord Jesus, one of the greatest elements is time, and more specifically, special occasions that fall at a set time during the year.  However, first, let me encourage you to plan your time.  The Lord commands YOU to redeem the time.  If you don’t take charge of planning your daily work, someone else will.  And when someone else does it for you, much of your time will be stolen from you.  If you don’t already know how to manage your time, learn how.  Since the Lord commanded it, He will certainly provide you the means to learn to do it well.

But today, I want to talk specifically about what appears to be a shy attitude in the church about the special occasions we celebrate as a part of our Christian heritage.  There is NO need for the church to hide as it regards these celebrations.  In fact, it’s time we took them back as belonging to the church.

I am sure that if a study were done, it would be difficult to find a day, or span of days, in which some pagan or ungodly celebration was not held.  Please understand that God set time in motion and gave man a method for measuring that time by the sun, moon, and stars in days, weeks, seasons, etc.  The Christian should begin EVERY day with the understanding that “this is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Some false religion or pagan society did not create days.  Our Father did.  So, use them for His glory and enjoy them. 

Hallowe’en, as it was first celebrated by the church, was a holy occasion, marking harvest, and a time of thanksgiving for the blessing of the Lord in harvest, as well as the saints who had gone before and taught them to walk with God.  Hence another term, All Saints’ Eve.  It makes no difference that pagan cultures also celebrated harvest time.  The Christian celebration was intended to be holy.  Let’s make it holy again.  The same is true for Christmas and Easter.  These holidays (originally Holy days) happened to fall around the time of some local pagan celebration.  That does not mean we must believe the twisted minds of carnal intellectuals that tell us our celebrations are only off-shoots of pagan ritual, honoring a god we created in our own thinking.  Hear this!  I did not create my God; He created me.  So, this year, take back our Christian holidays, and celebrate them with a renewed zeal and joy.  Jesus is Lord, and He is to be celebrated, worshipped, and adored at all times.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; 1 Kings 21:3; Psalm 90:12; Psalm 91:14-16; Genesis 6:1-3

For All in Authority

Even though someone may have authority over you, you are still responsible to pray for them.

Text for Today – 1 Timothy 2:1-2 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty

Who is in authority?  There are many more in authority than we often think.  Some we recognize and willingly pray for them.  Some we don’t want to recognize, and find it difficult to pray for them.  However, our Text for Today did NOT say to pray only for those for whom you desired to pray.  The Word says to pray “for all that are in authority.”  That even includes dishonest politicians and authority figures.

It is easy to recognize a president or governor as one of those authority figures for whom we should pray, particularly when they show themselves to be moral and godly men.  But what of those who do not?  Pray for them anyway, especially for them.  But what about those who would be pro-abortion, or pro-gay marriage?  PLEASE pray for them!  God can change them.  Our God has reserved for Himself the privilege of intervening in the lives of our leaders, even when they don’t want it, if the church will pray.

But who are those in authority?  Here is a partial listing that may help in our thinking; president, vice-president, governor, lieutenant governor, federal and state cabinets and executive appointees, federal and state legislators and judges, local government officials, law enforcement at all levels, military at all levels, fire fighters, first responders, educators, employers, supervisors, husbands, wives, parents, pastors, and church leaders.  I’m sure you can expand the list, especially if you become very specific.  But examining this list makes it quite clear how one could pray without ceasing. 

Do you want God involved in every arena of your life?  I’m sure you do.  Then pray for all in authority; “lift up your heads,” (those in authority over you) and “the King of Glory shall come in” to those arenas of life for which you pray.  And our Lord CAN and WILL turn the hearts of leaders toward His will and the blessing of His people and the work of His kingdom.  Debating politics WITH those in authority does not work.  Their minds are generally like concrete; thoroughly mixed and too well set.  Praying FOR those in authority gets you out of the way and opens the way for God to enter in power and majesty. 

Manna for Today –  Proverbs 21:1; Philippians 1:4-11; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21; 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Five Star Check-up

If Jesus were coming to your house, what would you do to prepare and maintain it for His stay?

Text for Today – 1 Timothy 4:13 – Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Like it or not, everyone would be wise to have a good physical examination on a regular basis.  It’s just good sense.  Your body is the temple of Holy Ghost.  As such, it should be properly maintained.  In our world and society, sickness and disease is rampant, and many of the foods we eat are highly processed.  Sadly, many Christians are in poor physical condition, and this impacts the level and even quality of ministry they are capable of providing to the Lord’s work. 

Regardless of your physical state, Jesus is still the Healer.  Trust Him for the healing of your body and ongoing health thereafter.  Remember, He DOES want you well.  But what are you doing to cooperate with His desire for your well-being?  Keep in mind that you can’t live in health just because the Lord desires it.  Soul prosperity plays a great role in your physical health, and so does faith, without which you cannot please the Lord.  When you remember that faith without works (corresponding action) is dead, this question takes on even greater importance.  So once again, what are you doing to cooperate with the Lord’s desire for your physical well-being? 

Consider, for a moment, the price Jesus paid for your healing and health.  Further consider the fact that He paid for you in full so that you belong to Him, spirit, soul, and body.  While we consider our body our own, it really isn’t.  You’re living in someone else’s house.  If you lived in my house, I would expect you to treat it a certain way, and do certain things to maintain it in proper condition and appearance.  Now there’s a point of discussion, but it will wait for another time.

If you’re in top spiritual condition, your spirit man will help guide you in how to tend to your physical man.  Holy Ghost will speak to your heart about how to best tend to His temple.  When He does, obey Him.  Learn to listen for Him and recognize His voice.  He will guide you into all truth, and that includes what you need to do to properly attend to and maintain His temple.  Think for a moment.  If Jesus came to town, what kind of accommodations would you provide Him?  Now understand that your body is His house.  What kind of accommodations are you providing Him?  Make it the best you can.  Eat right, exercise, get proper rest, and don’t abuse His house.  Give Him the finest possible accommodations in which to live and from which to work.  Make it FIVE STAR!

Manna for Today –  Proverbs 4:20-23 & 6:20-22; 2 Timothy 3:17; 1 Corinthians 11:31; 3 John 2-4

Faith Obeys

Faith that obeys is faith that accomplishes the desired results.

Text for Today – John 2:5 – His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

Our God is a living God; an eternally living God; the only true God.  And since He is a living God Who is, in fact, life, then the gifts and offerings He would choose to receive from us are likewise living.  Our praise and worship should be alive with our relationship with Him.  No longer will dead animals and their blood, or the fruit of the ground work for us.  Our living Lord paid the price for us in His blood, and it is now our responsibility to offer Him our spirit, soul, and body with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the sacrifice of praise continually.

But how is that possible?  How can we praise Him continually?  By living by faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Faith works by love.  The love of God is to keep His commandments.  And while faith without works is dead, faith with works is wisdom at work.  If we hear the Word of God and do it (obey), then we are called wise.  If we hear the Word of God and do not do it (disobey), we are called foolish.

We are commanded by the Lord Himself to have faith in God.  We know the faith He commanded us to have is living faith.  It was authored and finished by our Lord, and our Lord gives us nothing dead.  All He gives us is alive from His Own Spirit.  He has given us living faith, and living faith demonstrates its life by obedience to the Word of God. 

This obedience of the Word is not a conditional obedience, nor is it an obedience of convenience.  Rather it is a determined and willful obedience to what God has said, regardless of circumstances, or what outcome the world might expect.  Keep in mind that a commandment is an order from God about which there is no choice, and from which there is no turning.  True faith acts in absolutely necessary obedience to whatever God commands, and it acts NOW.  Obedience yesterday is experience.  Obedience tomorrow is hope as yet unreleased.  Faith is obedience NOW!  Don’t receive the faith of God in vain.  Obey the Word of God instantly.  It is that kind of instant obedience that will cause God to move for you, though He has to walk past a thousand other people to get to you.  True faith obeys God, NOW!

Manna for Today –  Hebrews 11:1-6; James 2:20-26; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 9-10; Hebrews 13:15;    1 John 5:3; Matthew 7:24-27

Anticipation

Fixing your anticipation on God’s Word is faith’s assurance of victory.

Text for Today – Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Have you ever been promised something very special, but knew you had to wait for it for some length of time?  As you waited, day-to-day, the event growing closer, the excitement grew as well.  This is anticipation in a positive vain. Of course, it can work negatively, too.  Think of how many people anticipate a trip to the dentist.  Fear of something ahead causes negative anticipation.  In both cases, anticipation can cause thoughts of the outcome to be greater, or of more dynamic nature, than the actual outcome.  When outcome is less than the anticipated good, the result is disappointment.  When outcome is less than the anticipated bad, the result is relief.  With righteous anticipation, you need never fear.  You see, God’s Word states its own outcome before you begin to anticipate. 

Now here is a strong statement.  The joy of obedience to God’s Word (ministry) comes first in anticipation.  Otherwise, ministry becomes an exhausting endeavor rather than a life-giving labor of love.  Have you ever entered into the performance of some task, not knowing the outcome, but having had some experience that would lead you to think the outcome would be anything but pleasing?  I certainly have.  In more than 51-years of ministry, with 28 of those years in pastoral work, I have been there on more than one occasion.  In such  situations, I had two basic choices.  I could meditate upon a potential outcome that was, to say the least, less than edifying (that would be negative anticipation), or I could meditate upon what God’s Word says the outcome should be, which is always edifying and grace ministering (which is positive anticipation).  Stop and think for a moment.  Which one would the Lord choose for me?  Of course, He would choose the one that edifies and ministers grace. 

But you might say, “Brother Moorefield, be honest.  The outcome could be negative.”  Of course it could.  But even if the outcome depended on flipping a coin, there’s just as good a chance that the outcome would be good, so why automatically choose the negative anticipation.  You see, I know the Lord, and I know His Word.  Hence, I know His will.  Knowing that, I will opt for His thinking every time.  That positive anticipation creates joy in my heart, and that joy of the Lord in my heart is the strength I need to stand strong in faith, even when it appears the outcome will be contrary to what I am believing.  Then regardless of outcome, I have strength to go on living by faith, regardless of the situation.  Ah, the joy of anticipation.

Manna for Today – Ephesians 3:20; Isaiah 55:11; Jeremiah 1:12; Luke 1:37 (Amplified Bible)

Convinced to Convince

I am convinced that in the body of Christ we have far too few convincers.  Ah, but that is changing.

Text for Today – Romans 14:14 – I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus . . .

“If you will convince others, first be convinced yourself.”  I first read these words many years ago in a book by Leonard Ravenhill, though I am not sure if he is the originator of that statement.  Still, it is very true.  Of this next statement, I am sure it was made by Leonard Ravenhill; “Today’s New Testament experience is so subnormal that a normal New Testament experience would seem abnormal.”  That may not be true in all cases, but I sadly believe it is true in many cases.  Could this be one of the reasons so many in our churches today have such an unconvincing witness?  Are so many Christians so little convinced of the real power of God in their own lives that they find it difficult to convince others of the power of God that is available?

How convinced are you?  Are you so convinced of His love for you that you can face anything with no fear at all?  Are you so convinced of His promises to you that you can rise to face any challenge with an overcoming spirit?  Are you so convinced of your identity in Christ that regardless of where you find yourself, there is no way you will forget who you are?  If you are that convinced, you will convince others.

A salesman who is not truly convinced of the quality, craftsmanship, and true need of what he is selling will have difficulty being truly successful as a salesman.  If you will convince others, you must first convince yourself.  A young athlete who is not convinced of his own abilities will likely find it impossible to convince a coach to even give him a chance to try out for the team.  Coaches are looking for confidence as well as skill.  If you will convince others, you must first convince yourself.

If you are not convinced of God’s unconditional love for you, how will you convince others?  If you are not convinced of His ability and desire to heal you, how will you convince others?  If you are not convinced of His ability and desire to see you prosper and have good success, how will you convince others?  In all these cases, the answer is that you will NOT be able to convince others.  In fact, if you are not convinced of all these truths, it is not likely you would even desire to convince others, and knowing the love, power, and will of God, that is such a sad scenario.

Ah, but you can be a real convincer.  The secret is found in Joshua 1:7-9.  Read and re-read that passage, memorize it, learn it by heart, and meditate on it until is lives big in you, and you’ll be a real convincer.

Manna for Today –  Joshua 1:7-9; Proverbs 4:20-23; 3 John 2-4