Now Hear This!

Are you a Christian?  You’re hired!

Text for Today – Micah 6:1 – Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.

Alright, here’s the story.  God sent Jesus.  Jesus suffered.  He fulfilled the Isaiah prophecy of redemption.  He was raised from the dead on the third day, ascended to heaven, applied His blood to the heavenly vessels of worship, set those in paradise free, took them to heaven with Him, sat down on the right hand of God, and now lives to intercede for us.  Holy Spirit came to bring about the new birth, fill us with Himself, and empower us as sons of God in the earth.  NOW HEAR THIS!  His work for this age is complete.

Now it’s our turn.  The work has been passed to us.  He has given us the power of attorney to use His Name.  He has given us His faith, authored and finished, for our use.  He has brought us into unalterable covenant, made us His heirs, joint-heirs with Jesus, and kings and priests in this world.  All power is now in our hands.  NOW HEAR THIS!  The job is yours.

Multitudes still have not heard an adequate witness of the Gospel.  There are multitudes who are sick, broken, bound, diseased, poverty stricken, and still captive by the enemy.  You and I are their only hope.  Who will go to and among them for the Lord?  Who will speak His Truth to them?  Who will do His works before and among them?  Who will show forth His might power to and among them?  NOW HEAR THIS!  YOU!

You and I are the called ones.  You and I are the anointed ones.  You and I are the sent ones.  You and I are His ambassadors.  You and I are His personal agents in this present world.  You and I are the empowered ones.  You and I are His chosen generation.  You and I are His royal priesthood.  You and I are His holy nation.  You and I are His peculiar people.  You and I are to do the same and greater works than Jesus did in this earth.  You and I; not someone else, not the preacher, not the professional minister; you and I.  NOW HEAR THIS!  GET BUSY!

Manna for Today – Isaiah 53:4-5; 1 John 3:2; Galatians 3:13-29; Hebrews 1; Matthew 28:18-20;       Mark 16: 15-20

Youth is NOT to Be Despised

For young and old, this wisdom is to be cherished, honored, and practiced diligently.

Text for Today – 1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

All my life, I have witnessed a struggle between the older (parenting) and younger (generally teens & early twenties) generations.  Both groups think they know best, and usually, both are wrong.  The older generation should expect change, and encourage it when it is right.  The younger generation demands change right now, and often refuses to work toward it gradually. 

To the older generation, I write; Despise NOT the youthful ones.  Never deliberately adopt an attitude that forces or provokes the younger generation into a despised position.  Even when they do or say things that seemingly call for it (their dress, make-up, hair style, jewelry, body piercings, music, dance, language, etc.), choose to walk in love toward them and stand strong in faith on their behalf in your heart.   Remember, you don’t have to like what they do or how they act or look to love them and speak faith.  In fact, it’s when you don’t like what they do, or how they look and act that you had better love them and be strong in faith for them.

To the younger generation I write; You have the ability to influence how others think about you and treat you.  Don’t misuse this incredible power.  Your words, actions, appearance, and attitude are yours to use to your own advantage or disadvantage.  Choose wisely.  You may see a genuine need for change, but the way you approach it, the way you treat the older generation, all those factors about which I’ve written, and especially your attitude, will greatly determine whether the older generation will respect what you are attempting to do, or reject it out of hand.  If they respect it, you are far more likely to succeed, and sooner than you think.  If they don’t respect it, you may succeed, but your journey towards that success will be far longer and more difficult. 

In the final analysis, the younger generation has much more power than they think, but it is not found in rebellion or stubbornness.  Rather it is found in learning to communicate, understanding the principles set forth in the Scriptures.  When young people operate by and practice Biblical principles, the wisdom of that practice greatly increases their favor with the older generation, and in addition, allows the younger generation to walk in the wisdom of God that NEVER fails.

Manna for Today – 1 John 5:3; Romans 14:23; Psalm 119:98-100

Come Up From Lodebar

As a Christian, my ups and downs are “up to testify,” and “down to pray.”  That’s settled.

Text for Today – 2 Samuel 9:3 – And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.

Consider the following scenario.  David is the King of Israel.  In those days, it was the custom of a new king to kill, or have killed, all the possible heirs of the previous king, thus securing his own throne from future uprisings from any such heir.  But David did not do so.  Instead, he showed mercy and kindness.

David and Saul’s son, Jonathan, had been strong and true friends, and when David learned that a son of Jonathan was alive, he called for him.  His name was Mephibosheth.  He was crippled in both feet (having been dropped by a nurse maid when fleeing after Saul’s death), and as a paraplegic was living in Lodebar.  David sent for Mephibosheth to be brought before him.  Mephibosheth came on his face before David, thinking David meant to do him harm.  Instead, David blessed him, restored to him all that had belonged to his grandfather, Saul, and then took care of Mephibosheth out of his own supplies, feeding him at the king’s table like a member of the king’s family.  All Mephibosheth needed to do with his own riches was take care of his own household and servants. 

Here is a beautiful picture of Christ’s restoration for you.  He found you living in sin, unable to come into His presence, cut off from the Father’s blessing, and bound by fear.  He came to you where you were, called you by name to come into His presence, restored you to right relationship, and restored to you all that had been lost through sin. 

But in Christ, there’s more.  He healed you completely, and now you can not only feast at His table, but you have been made an heir of the Father and a joint-heir with Him.  Now you are not only blessed, but have become His child and been empowered as His ambassador.  Now that’s COMING UP from Lodebar.  In fact, that’s COMING UP from low anywhere.

Manna for Today – Psalm 23; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Romans 8:31-39

Sustaining Righteousness

An “ing” ending speaks to something that is always taking place “right now.”

Text for Today – Isaiah 59:16 – And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

Thank God for the righteousness of God we have through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is so easy for us to think of righteousness as a position, and it is.  But it is much more.  When we consider the cost of righteousness for each of us, it was very high, and to achieve it, impossible for us.  We had to have help achieving that position. 

For instance, try this sometime.  Assume a slightly difficult position (posture, or pose, such as standing on one foot without holding on to something), and simply try to hold it.  How difficult is it to maintain that position?  If it’s difficult to maintain that position, think how difficult it is to maintain the impossible position of righteousness in God.  So, how can it be that the believer can maintain that impossible position?

The answer is in identification, not position.  You see, righteousness is more than a position; it is a person. The Word teaches that YOU are the righteousness of God.  Scriptures also teach us that righteousness works.  A position doesn’t work, and in fact, may alone prevent work.  What the believer needs is a sustaining righteousness, not a sustained righteousness.  In other words, the believer needs a talking, working righteousness that can produce peace and assurance constantly, and not the memory of a righteousness that once brought peace and assurance.  Thank God, ours is a sustaining righteousness.

I love to read about the speech and work of righteousness in Romans.  Thank God it speaks to the issue of the fullness of our salvation.  Righteousness speaks the Word of God, confessing the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every situation in our life, spirit, soul, and body.  That is the sustaining work of righteousness.  When you face sickness, the righteousness of God speaks the Word of faith over it.  When you face financial difficulties, the righteousness of God speaks the Word of faith over it.  When you face any attack of the enemy, the righteousness of God speaks the Word of faith over it.  And in that speaking is your supernatural salvation by the “power of God unto salvation.”

Manna for Today – Isaiah 59:16-21; Romans 10:6-10; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21;    Isaiah 32:17

Eye Has Not Seen

Even though you haven’t seen it, if God said it, that settles it.

Text for Today – 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 – But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

I remember in the days right after receiving the baptism in the Holy Ghost, a relative newlywed, my bride and I were attending a small Pentecostal church.  The people were precious and loving, and the pastor was a true blessing in my early Holy Ghost walk.  There was a dear man who led the song service.  He truly loved the Lord with all his heart.  His warmth and kindness to me are things that helped shape my experience as a young, Spirit-filled believer.  On more than a few Sundays, with his hands trembling, he would quote the first part of our Text for Today.  He would say, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  And he would stop there. 

My friend, that sounded so mysterious, and even wonderful.  You could see the conviction of his heart and how he loved the Lord Who would do such a wonderful thing for him.  I was often deeply touched by his love for God and the emotions he expressed. 

It was also about that same time that I began to acknowledge the call of God on my life.  My hunger for the Word became insatiable.  I just couldn’t get enough.  I would often read for hours without stopping.  If I didn’t have my Bible open for reading, I would be listening to tapes by some faith preaching man of God.  My heart was being stirred almost continually.  Then one day in my studies, I read the passage the dear song leader so often quoted.  At first, I saw only what he quoted.  Fortunately, Holy Ghost got my attention and led me on to the remainder of that text.  There it was, flashing before my eyes; “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.”  I could hardly contain myself.  I didn’t have to live in the dark any longer.  I had His Word in print, and I had Him living on the inside of me.  I was filled with the Author of the Word, and He wanted to reveal to me what it said, what it was about, how I could live in it, and how I could exercise my faith and walk in victory by it.  Oh, and I shared that with my dear song leader friend.  You know, he had never seen it himself.  He rejoiced, too, and is still rejoicing over it today.  So am I, and so should you.

Manna for Today – Matthew 16:17

What to Do with a Thief

We need to complete the bruising process Jesus began.  Make sure your feet are properly shod.

Text for Today – John 10:10 – The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

From our Text for Today we can easily conclude who the thief is and who the Blesser is.  We also clearly see what both the thief and the Blesser desire to do in our lives.  I can’t speak for you, but for me, I want the Blesser working in my life, and desire no part of the thief at all.  I don’t know anyone in his right mind who wants a thief in his life, especially the thief in our Text for Today.  Once again we can plainly see what his intentions are.  He, the thief, Satan, comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy. 

Jesus taught us in Mark 4 that Satan comes immediately to steal the Word when it is sown in our heart.  If he cannot steal the Word, then he seeks to destroy it with persecution and afflictions.  If he cannot accomplish that, he then seeks to destroy its fruitfulness by choking it out with the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of other things, and the cares of life.  If he fails there, then the Word produces in our life, thirty, sixty, and one-hundred fold.

So, what do we do with a thief?  First of all, make sure the Word sown in your life is sown upon good ground from which Satan cannot readily steal it.  Then begin to apply the spiritual pressure on your enemy that Jesus has empowered us to use.  He has given us the keys of the kingdom.  Note here, He has given us the keys OF the kingdom, not TO the kingdom.  If you have a key TO my house, you can get inside.  However, if you have the keys OF my house, not only can you get inside, but you can freely go anywhere you like inside my house, and access everything in it.  Now think of the tremendous empowerment that is ours by having been given the keys OF the kingdom.

While a single page devotion is not room enough to share all the ways you can exercise your power over Satan, it does permit space to initiate that work.  With the keys Jesus has given you, you have the authority to bind or loose spiritual forces and beings.  The work of binding and loosing what is necessary to be bound or loosed in heaven has already taken place.  But what needs to be bound or loosed in the earth is your responsibility.  It’s like team roping in a rodeo.  One rider ropes the steer’s head, and the other his hind feet, thus rendering the steer helpless.  Well, Jesus has bruised Satan’s head; now it’s up to the body of Christ to bruise the other end.  So, bind that thief, loose everything he has stolen, and walk in your divinely given authority as a joint-heir with Jesus.

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:18; Matthew 16:17-20

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