“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!”
Luke 13:12-13 NLT
I love this. Jesus told the sick woman she was healed before He touched her. The truth is that she was healed even before she stood up straight. I must be able to see the truth of the matter whenever I encounter someone who is sick or oppressed. The truth is not how I see the sick person. The truth is what God tells us about the sick person. 1 Peter 2:24 tells us what God says: “He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed.” This means we are healed. This is the truth of His Word. Now, I am responsible to believe this truth because it is the truth- regardless of what difficulties I face. I will take as much time as I need to see His truth manifest in the natural. I would rather believe the truth of God over the element of time. Some people lose faith in the truth of God because it seems like the manifestation of the truth will never occur. This is a lie the devil wants us to believe. As you continue to trust in God, His truth will be made known! This is Biblical. Read the book of Job.
The truth is sick people are healed. The truth is the demonized are delivered. The truth is that the broken marriage is restored. In Christ, all of this is truth. If I am in Christ, then I must believe this as the truth. Factual circumstantial evidence does not undermine the truth of God. This does not mean we pretend that difficulties do not exist. It means we acknowledge the difficulties with the truth of God. Jesus told the woman, “you are healed of your sickness”. He did not ignore her sickness. He told her she was healed! Proverbs 3:6 teaches us to acknowledge God in all our ways. I believe this means we accept the truth of God and His existence in all our circumstances. We do not give credit to our difficulties. We do not say “This is the way it always has been and the way it always will be. I was born with this problem and it will never get better.” Our difficulties do not undermine the truth of God. Our difficulties are a platform for God to do the miraculous. We need to believe the truth of God over the extent of our difficulties. O Lord, please help me with this!
“The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.” Habakkuk 1:5-6 NLT
My thoughts: The Lord will use what man overlooks to accomplish His purposes in the earth! He does not need the best of the best. In fact, He will sometimes use the worst of the worst to accomplish His plans. Our perceptions do not limit Him. How we look at people does not determine if He will use them. I want to believe God can use all people for His purposes in the earth. Some people are unaware of how God uses them for His plans. God makes “everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT). What if I started to look at bad situations like this? What if I knew in my heart how God would make it work for my good? This means there is always something good to come- even in what seems bad. Now that is Good News! God does not abandon or leave His beloved children to die. In this moment, He works to benefit us and bless us. This is never about the extent of wicked or terrible circumstances. This is always about His limitless power and love to bless His children. This shows us that the world is in a state of transformation because the people of godliness will continue to prosper and evildoers will be banished from the earth. This is the ultimate truth. Good will always overcome what is evil even if it does not seem like it at first. Believe the eternal Word of God over the popular media in this culture. The media will always make the world look like a terrible place when people with an intimate knowledge of God see the world with His perspective and are enthusiastic to see more of Him in the earth. Would you believe me if I told you this? I believe God over the politicians and preachers of doom. I believe for “on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). This is my present hope and anticipation. What is yours?
1 John 2:27 “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.”
My thoughts: I believe this anointing is the Holy Spirit who lives inside of every believer in Christ. Holy Spirit is God inside of us. In the Old Testament, specific people were anointed to fulfill a task God called them to. When the people were anointed, Holy Spirit came upon them. For instance, Samuel anointed Saul to be prince of Israel and Holy Spirit “rushed upon him” (1 Samuel 10:10). Later, Samuel anointed David and Holy Spirit came mightily upon David (1 Samuel 16:13). After Christ was baptized, Holy Spirit descended upon Him (Matthew 3:16,17) like a dove and He started His ministry. Now in the New Covenant, the anointing of Christ (Holy Spirit inside of Him) is available to all of of us who believe in Him. We can live like Him all the time because He abides in us all the time. His anointing, Holy Spirit, is with all who believe. He enables us to walk and live like Christ in the earth. He teaches us limitless wonder and truth.
Holy Spirit does not want us to learn the nonsensical emptiness and talk of this world. He wants us to learn the secrets of His Kingdom and persevere with His love. He wants us to be skilled learners and well educated, not uniformed and immature. He wants to teach us “all things” (John 14:26) because He knows “all things”. He wants us to know everything about a successful and abundant life! He wants us to excel and prosper in the work of our hands. He wants to be our teacher and show us how to live our best life forever. His unlimited revelation knowledge is available to each of us. Holy Spirit teaches us what we need to know and then enables us to do it! He is the best teacher! Take time to learn from Him and you will be amazed with His perfect wisdom.
As 1 John 2:27 shows us, Holy Spirit teaches us to remain in Him. Holy Spirit teaches us all things and John chose to emphasize this one thing- to remain in Him. Maybe this “one thing” sums up “all things”. To remain in Christ all the time is to reach the fullest measure of life available to us on earth before His return. Maybe this is perfect knowledge: to remain in Christ like we remain in our own bodies. I believe “all things” are available in one thing: Remain in Christ. He teaches us how to do this and enables us to do it. How wonderful is His gracious salvation.
“Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.” Hebrews 6:11 NLT
My thoughts: Loving other people is the gateway to resist spiritual dullness and indifference. Where I lack enthusiasm and zeal for God, I do not maintain an appropriate measure of love for others. If people do not know I love them, then I lack enthusiasm for God. Often, people emphasize passion for God and overlook the foundational element of love for other people. We are not passionate for God if we do not love other people.
The biblical definition of love for other people is to demonstrate the same love Christ has for us in our love for one another. “So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you” (John 13:34). This intense, powerful, fierce love is how I must love other people. This Spirit-driven love indicates that I am passionate for God. It is not a love I can self-manufacture. It is a love impossible to show without Christ in me.
Jesus set a higher standard of commandments in the New Testament. For instance, Jesus teaches “Your ancestors have been taught, ‘Never commit adultery.’ However, I say to you if you look with lust in your eyes at the body of a woman who is not your wife, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart.” (Matthew 5:28) He did not raise the standard to make it more difficult for us to serve Him. He raised the standard of commitment for us to trust in Him more for help. The moment we say “Yes” to Christ, He comes to live within us and empowers us to fulfill His commands. Now, we cannot take credit for our obedience to His radical commandments. Our human nature and weakness alone cannot fulfill His commands. We need a personal relationship with Christ.
Therefore, this Biblical love is impossible without the help of God.
Prayer: “Lord, thank You for the priceless gift of Your love. Help me to love other people with the same passionate love You show to me. Teach me to walk in close relationship with You and love You more! I ask for a new measure of Your empowerment to overcome my weaknesses.”
Proverbs 12:3 “A man will not be established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous will not be moved.”
My thoughts: A man cannot be established in wickedness because he is not rooted in an eternal foundation. As a child of God, my faith is rooted in the eternal Rock of Salvation. The root of the righteous is faith in Jesus. We obtain righteousness through faith in Him (Romans 3:22). The root of our faith is established in Him. This root is immovable because He is immovable. Therefore, our faith is not dictated by circumstances. The term “wavering faith” is a misused term. Real faith in God does not waver. The Bible does not associate faith in God with “wavering”. Instead, it shows a contrast between unbelief and faith:
“yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God,” Romans 4:20 .
The word “waver” is associated with unbelief, not faith in God. God is the root of my faith. It is not faith in God if I waver. God is immovable! If my faith is in Him, I will be immovable. To say “My faith in God wavers” is to say “He wavers”. How can my faith in Him waver unless He wavers? If I waver, it is not faith in Him. It is unbelief- faith in the inferior. Anything less than God is inferior! Anything less than God is everything less than good.
With this said, a moment of unbelief does not define an entire faith walk. We all fall short. Faith in God is revealed in a consistent walk, not a perfect walk. There are moments of unbelief for each of us. However, unbelief is not an excuse to believe our faith in God wavers. It is an indication of inferior faith attacking the root of our faith in God. We must cut it off with more commitment to Christ. In this new year, let us refocus our hearts on Christ and commit our full attention to Him! His love for us is steadfast with authentic devotion. The world can never offer us the treasure of His kindness. Let us look to Him with anticipation and trust Him with our lives! Do not settle for faith in the inferior. The world cannot offer us abundant life. God will never let us down!
John 11:2 “It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.”
My thoughts: The act of Mary is preached about across the world. Everywhere the Gospel message is shared, her story is known. Jesus said “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13). Mary did not defend her honor or status. She let loose her hair and wept at the feet of Jesus. She was misunderstood. Her action deeply offended the political norm in her society. She knew the value of Christ and broke down at His feet. Her honest and vulnerable surrender before God is recorded in history. Mary did identify herself with a vulnerable act. Her act of worship revealed her identification with God. She identified herself with Christ and broke down before Him in the company of men. She understood the value of Christ set before her. To her, passion for God was not about recognition or fame.
Not once at the feet of Jesus did Mary say “I hope my devotion makes the front news headline”. Authentic passion for God will preach. I do not believe the act of Mary is about what she did. It is about who she was when she did it. Anyone could break down before God and expend perfume, especially if it guaranteed recognition. However, until we have a heart so captivated by God alone, our breaking of perfume is nothing more than an attempt to be exalted with Him. If I break down, let it be because I am captivated by His greatness, not because I want His fame. Do not attach your worship to His fame and seek the fulfillment of an insatiable desire for social acceptance and influence. Do not attach your worship to the fame of Christ to market self promotion. Attach your worship to the person of Christ and break down before Him. If it is about Him, it is not about us. My focus is not for God to be seen with me. My focus is to be seen with Him. The truth is, God will not allow Himself to be seen with me until I surrender my reputation to be seen with Him. This is not about God promoting my image. It is about me representing Him.
Her act of brokenness is a pure form of worship, sanctified unto God. It was not about the fellow men in her midst, but about the Son of God before her. May I be like Mary, humble at the feet of Christ with thankful and beautiful worship. Let God be set in front of me. Who I become at the feet of Jesus is more important than what I do in the midst of people. What I do in the company of men does not matter if it is not at the feet of Jesus. Let everything I do be unto the Lord!
Often, Christians create an image of God that suits their lifestyle and never allow His reality to transform their lifestyle. They emphasize certain aspects of God’s character and skillfully craft a 21st Century American, lukewarm, apathetic, halfhearted, Jesus. If all I ever see is the Jesus who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, I will miss the Jesus who commands the Armies of Heaven. Every character trait of God is perfect. However, when I take the perfection of God out of Biblical context, it is possible for me to create a humanistic Jesus programmed to love my preferences. He is not a mail order bride who cooks for me, brushes my hair, reads me a bedtime story or feeds me once a week when I am tired after a “long week”. He is an all-consuming fire with a fierce love that commands surrender. The comfortable American Gospel promoted throughout the dead church world promises much, but demands little. In Chapter 5 of the book “My Absurd Religion”, Steve Gray confronts the humanistic ideology that calls us to “love ourselves”, “forgive ourselves” and “hug ourselves”. This appealing, yet dangerous message leads many people to church but no one to Christ. While it increases church attendance, it robs us of knowing God and commands us to pursue manmade self-help methods. Self-help methods offer encouragement without empowerment and a pride driven system without His immediate salvation power. God is not distant in a far-off galaxy. He is alive and powerful, offering a new life now! The truth is, this humanistic ideology does not appeal to the lost, hurting, broken, oppressed, sick, and defeated. The desperate need more than a motivational speech or lukewarm church service. The desperate need the very power of God to infiltrate their lifeless situation and commence a new beginning. Without the presence of God, the church is simply living in a New, Old Covenant! As for my generation, most of us could care less if Jesus loves us. Many of us are bound in addiction, suicidal tendencies, fear, and torment. We need more than church sponsored movie nights with popcorn and chips. This cotton candy Christianity will not survive in an all or nothing generation. We are not taught to worship with passion at church so we do it at the clubs. We do not know how to be intimate with the Father so we pursue fornication. My generation is going all out for this world while most churches are trying to decide if Jesus is worth everything. If I am not going to give Jesus everything, I do not want to give Him anything. I refuse to misrepresent Christ and promote a humanistic message built on compromise. I cannot do that to my generation. More importantly, I cannot do that to God.