Jude 24-25 – “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” NIV
In 2011, I had hip replacement surgery, and the next day after surgery they got me up to walk. It was painful and difficult but something that had to be done. There were two people near me at all times to ensure that I did not fall, and they also provided a walker to help me stabilize myself so that I could gingerly move across the floor. They placed a strap around my waist and when I asked what that was for, they said, “So you won’t wind up on the floor. It is to enable us to keep you from falling.”
I have thought about that since that time I realized that in a real sense that is what the Holy Spirit does in our lives to enable us to “Walk The Christian Walk” without stumbling or falling. He wraps the Word of God around us and stands ever so near to ensure that if our footsteps are unstable or our ability to traverse the particular path before us is difficult, He upholds us to keep us from stumbling to prevent our fall. Adam and Eve fell in the Garden due to disobedience but if you and I set our hearts to walk according to the Word of God and are sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit we Will Not Fall!
God is not only able to keep us from falling but keeps us from falling. In a real sense, He presents us before the Father daily. One He will present us ultimately and finally before Him so that we can enter into the Eternal Joys of the Lord! We should live every moment of every day with great rejoicing in that reality. We should always be conscious that in our own strength, ability, and nature we would fail miserably and continue to be Mark Missers coming short of the Glory of God. Yet, through Christ Jesus our Lord and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we can go through this life without Falling!
While I do not want you to think of Him as a crutch, I do want you to think of Him as your ultimate support. A crutch could become an excuse or a justification for not rising to the level of maturity that God desires, and we need but a support system is designed to enable us to do just that.
Therefore, if you are struggling to live the Christian Life maybe you are attempting to go it alone without the aid of the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Instead of trying to go in your own willpower and strength “cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”
May the Lord bless you as you go through this day and week in Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you.”
Ephesians 5:20 –“Giving thanks always for all men to God the Father in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 3:17 –“And whatever you do in word or deed, do it in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Now, shall we move to the second thing on my list of what we have to be thankful for?
THE WORD OF GOD AND ALL ITS PROVISIONS.
We must never forget that the Word of God, the Bible is loaded with benefits, provisions, instructions, protections, and privileges that equip each believer for life. Tragically, too often we allow ourselves to be robbed of what the Father has already provided for us.
Psalm 103:1-5 – “BLESS the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,3 Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.4 Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”
God’s Word provides for life here and hereafter. It is not just a Word it is the Inspired Word of God. It is God-breathed. It is as good as God Himself.
2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture, written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness”
2 Peter 1:21 – “For the prophecy did not come by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke when they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
It is the Infallible Word of God as Hebrews 13:8 declares, Jesus is the same eternally and Jesus is the Word! It is the Indestructible Word of God. In Matthew 24:35 we read, “Even heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” In Isaiah 40:8 we are advised, “Even heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Then in 1 Peter 1:25 we find, “But the word of our God endures forever. And this is the very word which has been preached to you.” It is Infallible and Indestructible.
We must also remember that it is Indispensable. It is as vital to our spirit man as food is to the natural body. Through the pages of God’s Word, we find provision for Salvation, Healing, Deliverance, Blessing, Guidance, and Protection. We are to “Forget None of His Benefits.” We should be thankful for such a word that has been provided for us.
FOR THE PROMISE OF JESUS’ RETURNING
I am going to possibly overload you with scripture to prove my point so get ready.
John 14:1-3 – “LET not your heart be troubled; believe in God, and believe in me also.2 In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and take you to me, so that where I am, you may be also.”
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 – “For our LORD himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and those who died in Christ will rise first.17 Then we, who are alive, and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet our LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with our LORD.18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15:51:52 – “Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed,52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Philippians 3:20-21 – “But our labors are in heavenly things, from whence we look for our Savior, our LORD Jesus Christ,21 Who shall transform our poor body, to the likeness of his glorious body, according to his mighty power, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
This Promise is to those who are Born Again. This Promise is to those who are Faithful. The Blessed Hope is something to be incredibly Thankful for. We are not left comfortless, abandoned as orphans, but He is Coming Back!
Regardless of how the economy is, God is still God.
Regardless of how vile and sinful mankind may become, God is still God.
Regardless of the situation of the world, God is still God.
We have Hope in Christ!
We have much to be thankful for and more than we will ever thank Him for. He brought Salvation to us because He Loves us. He has given us His Word, to guide us. He is coming back for us so that we can spend Eternity with Him.
What Have We To Be Thankful For? EVERYTHING!
God bless you as you enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend. Have a Great Day!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you.”
Ephesians 5:20 – “Giving thanks always for all men to God the Father in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do it in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
It would be an understatement to say that as Americans and as Christians, we are Blessed! Things may be difficult now and from time to time, but we are Blessed! The problem is that too few give consideration to our blessings and truly count their blessings. That is what this devotional is designed to address and answer the title question, “What Have We To Be Thankful For?”
The Bible in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and other places identifies a time in the Last Days when people would be unthankful, and ungrateful toward God and their fellow man. It speaks of a time when people would be more interested in themselves, pleasure, possessions, and power than God and the things of God.
It speaks of a time when people would be so filled with the desire to satisfy their ambitions, reach their goals, and fulfill the desires of their hearts they would have little time or interest in God and the things of God. No time for Him, His Word, or His Worship. It speaks of a time when churches and professing Christians would have a form of godliness but without power.
Unfortunately, too many times God has blessed His people with prosperity, and they prospered to the place where they forgot the source of their blessings. It is a shame that too many only find time to express gratitude at Thanksgiving each year. Once a year in November give lip service to blessings. We must never forget that we are Blessed!
Now, to the question – “What Do We Have To Be Thankful For?” Obviously, time would not permit, nor could the libraries of the world contain all that we have to be thankful for, individually or collectively. Not to overuse this, but We Are Blessed! We are a very Blessed People!
I would like to mention three (3) major things that we have to be thankful for and hope it resonates with you.
FOR THE LOVE THAT BROUGHT REDEMPTION
John 3:16 is such a familiar passage that too often it is quoted without actually thinking about what is promised and provided. “For God – Who? God the Creator of all things. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes on Him SHOULDNOT perish but have everlasting life.” (Emphasis mine). Notice it is whosoever believes and that they should not perish. Believing alone is insufficient to enter in, it requires repentance of sin and confession that Jesus is the Christ.
Let’s walk through the condition of man from the Garden to the coming of Jesus. Man began in innocence but through rebellion and disobedience fell and darkness fell on the race. God gave the Law of Moses; the Torah and man could not fulfill it revealing the need for a Savior.
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and are short of the glory of God”
Galatians 3:22 – “But the scripture has included everything under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
God made man aware that the only provision was a sinless substitute to buy us back from the authority of the devil and made that provision in Jesus. Man was hopelessly and helplessly lost. He was doomed eternally, but Jesus came to give life!
Hebrews 9:23 – “It is necessary, therefore, that the patterns of things which are heavenly should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves, with sacrifices better than these.”
Matthew 26:28 – “It is necessary, therefore, that the patterns of things which are heavenly should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves, with sacrifices better than these.”
God, in the abundance and overflow of His Love, was willing to give the one thing that was required for our salvation. He was willing to do what was necessary to give people who had turned against him the opportunity for restoration and regeneration. John 3:16 became a reality and the door to salvation was opened.
God gave His Son, not just any son but the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lamb of God. Jesus came freely and willingly to be our substitute and pay our debt. The Way of Redemption, the Only Was now open. The Door had come!
What Have We to Be Thankful For? Jesus! Salvation! Love!
I will pause here and take this to the second reason in the next devotional.
God bless you and may your Thanksgiving be Awesome! Have a Great Day and a Great Week!
1 Samuel 1:24-28 – “Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the LORD. 27 For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” So they worshiped the LORD there.” NKJV
The words leaped off the page at me as I read, “…as long as he lives, he shall be lent to the LORD.” Imagine a mother whose heart was so heavy because she had no children and how troubled she was. Then her fervent prayer resulted in a prophetic word coming to her and a miraculous work of God to provide her that child, a son, that she had desired. Now, imagine that mother being willing to totally dedicate that son to God and giving him physically as well as spiritually to the LORD.
I have had people tell me they thought less of Hannah because she gave up the child. I urge you to remember her vow in v.11, “…O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” Her vow was her covenant with God and the life that was produced in Samuel is nothing short of extraordinary.
She kept him in the early formative years of his life before taking him to Eli, the priest. That calls to mind the words of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Her vow indicated that Samuel would act and serve as a Levite but would be raised as a Nazarite or one who willingly dedicates himself to God. This was signifying that he would be totally dedicated to God, and I am convinced that is the message she conveyed to him in those formative years.
She taught him God’s covenant and instilled in him the importance of keeping vows made to God and pursuing God’s purposes in life. She taught him through her words and actions, that God was supreme above all things. Then when she took him to Eli he had been saturated with the Word of God, Prayers, and the impact that his godly mother had would impact and influence him for the rest of his days.
Of course, that is only one side of the equation. We dare not omit personal responsibility and personal commitment. Samuel could have resisted and rebelled, but he did not. He did not because the method and message of his mother resonated in his heart. She had kindled in him a desire to serve God and while I am sure that her leaving him with the priest was somewhat traumatic or would have been for most children. I am sure her heart was torn from her chest as she walked away. I am equally sure that God saw both their hearts and through His Spirit, Power, and Love provided a balm of peace in their hearts. Samuel had to decide to fulfill the vow his mother made, and he did.
Would Samuel have become the mighty prophet of God and man of the hour had she not made that vow and kept it? Probably not. Would Samuel have become a strong pillar in Israel had his mother not instilled in him from his birth the purpose of his life and the purpose of God? Probably not. I cannot emphasize the value and importance of godly parents in raising children.
One of the most significant problems in our world today, especially in America, is the lack of two-parent homes and the lack of godly parenting. Thank God for those who view their role and responsibility as parents as a ministry and mandate from God to fulfill the first part of Proverbs 22:6 so that the latter part can become a sure reality.
If you have children, they are your responsibility, and you are accountable to God for the training and example they receive. You are their role model, not Hollywood, Athletes, or Entertainers. YOU ARE! Your value in the shaping of their lives is almost incalculable.
God bless you as you fulfill your purposes for this day in Jesus!
Judges 2:7 – “So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.” NKJV
There was an old country preacher that I knew who often said regarding the presence of God, “It is better felt than telt…” I love feeling the presence of God and basking in the sunlight of His presence, power, and love. And, as I reflect on that preacher’s words, I find that there is something in it worthy of consideration regarding experience. I personally, do not want to ever reach the place where I base my relationship with God on an emotional experience, but I never want to discount or discontinue that either. I long to make my permeant residence In His Presence here and in eternity.
In this particular passage, there is a realization that is important in life. I have heard about some of the great revivals of days gone by but did not experience them. However, I have been in the presence of God and had some incredible experiences, and witnessed some powerful moves of God’s Spirit that lasted long in churches, communities, and people. I treasure those.
Who among us is not cognizant of the fact that historical experiences we did not participate in do not captivate us as those we did experience? This passage reveals that so long as Joshua the Moses mentored leader who lead the nation into the Promised Land and the elders who were also eyewitnesses lived God Reigned in the hearts of people. When they died, there were no longer those who had experiential first-hand knowledge of God’s mighty deliverance and fulfilling His promise to bring them to the Land of Milk and Honey. When experience died there was a gradual erosion of commitment and a turning away or growing cold in dedication.
Every revival of the church lasted until the generation that witnessed and experienced it died and then it began to wane. The fervor and fire of that revival kept the Church on track pursuing the truth that revival revealed and/or restored but when there were none who had experienced it around those who had heard about it could not embrace it with the same devotion nor feel the same compulsion to comply with the directives of the Spirit of God.
It was, to them, theoretical rather than experiential. Sadly, many identify themselves as Christians in much the same way, theoretical rather than experiential. We talk about God being able to “do all things” but if we have not witnessed or experienced His miraculous it is, to us, theory and when the chips are down, we cannot stand on the promise with confidence.
I know some who grew up in Church and in homes where there was a fervent dedication to God, prayer was a staple, and the Bible was the guide. They heard about it from their parents and grandparents but never truly experienced it for themselves and as those who had the experience received their eternal promotion the devotion and practices that kept the fire burning waned and diminished.
That reminds me of the truth that “You cannot get to heaven on Mama or Papa’s faith or experience.” Christianity is a personal experience and relationship, not something that is inherited like property. Growing up going to church may help you establish some important moral principles and ethics but will not save your soul. The fact that Mama or Papa had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life does not automatically inscribe yours there. It is an individual and personal experience. “If we (each individual) confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”
Experience or having a spiritual encounter with God personally is incredibly valuable in helping us to resist temptation and maintain our dedication as we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” If you do not personally know Jesus, I urge you to go into your prayer closet and call upon Him in repentance and receive His pardon and grace transforming you from darkness unto light. Jesus has promised that if Anyone will call upon Him, He will not reject us. Today is the day of salvation and now is the accepted time. Experience God for yourself and the Bible will no longer be a theory but reality.
God bless you as you open the door to today with all its problems, promises, and potential. Have a Great Day!
Deuteronomy 2:1-7 – “Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the LORD spoke to me, and we skirted Mount Seir for many days.
2 “And the LORD spoke to me, saying: 3’You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward. 4 And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. 5 Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.
7 “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”‘ NKJV
When Israel was wandering in the wilderness during their 40-year trek they came to a time when the LORD spoke to Moses and said, “You’ve taken enough laps around the mountain, now is the time to move to take the next step.” I have discovered, in life, that if we experience a test or trial in our lives and we fail to learn the lesson, modify our attitude and/or actions we get to take another Lap around the Mountain.
It may not be exactly the same situation, but it will become obvious that it is the same mountain, the same test, the same demand, and the same type of issue. In school, if we fail a course, we have the distasteful task of retaking the course. If we are trying to correct a problem and we take inappropriate steps or we fail, we have to repeat the repair.
In relationships, we may not get a second chance with the person we have failed, but we will go through the same type of situation allowing us to get it right. That is one of the reasons some people find themselves in the same kind of relationship time after time. They never learn the lesson and the same type of situation arises repeatedly. If, after a few times, you face the same type of situation you might want to reconsider what you are doing, and your attitude, and allow the Holy Spirit to change you. Sometimes, it is not a new partner that is needed but becoming a new partner.
Even in their trudging through the wilderness learning God’s life lessons they were never lacking! As we learn the life lessons God is teaching us and then begin the northward trek toward the Place of Promise and the Abundant Life God has designed and desired, we will face enemies. Not only will we face enemies but face them on an escalated scale. Sometimes, we tend to think that our purpose is to force others to adopt our worldview and in that, we begin to meddle with them.
There is a Place of Promise God has designed for us and what He has given another is not ours so Hands Off! Never allow envy or jealousy to grip your heart. What someone else has is not your concern. Being who God desires you to be is. If we are willing and obedient to the LORD, we will eat the good of the land and God will be with us in all that we do and face. That is a Position of Power and a Place of Promise!
Mark 16:14-18 – “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” NKJV
My title question is a valid one and a question that I have received more varying answers than I could have imagined. Some take this passage and relegate parts of it to bygone eras, the disciples, and the 1st Century Church and yet include other portions as valid for today. Who makes that decision?
At what point in this passage did Jesus say, “This part is for now and this part will continue from generation to generation?” I have had some use or attempt to use 1 Corinthians 13:10 as their argument against anything miraculous or the operation of the gifts of the spirit today. It reads: “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part will be done away.” The assertion is that the recognized Bible fulfills that which is perfect and therefore many things are no longer valid or appropriate for today.
Hold on Nellie! Let’s back up a few verses in 1 Corinthians 13 to verse 8 and begin evaluating what the apostle said in its fullness. He said, “Love never fails…” I get that because love and God are eternal therefore if we are to experience, operate in, and demonstrate God we will have love present always. So far so good, right?
Then he says, “But whether there are prophecies, they will fail…” So, we toss prophecy out the window under this interpretation. Next, he says, “Whether there are tongues, they will cease…” The assertion is that tongues are not for today but what tongues are we talking about? Then we come to a major problem where the apostle says, “Whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away…”
I must ask, who is going to attempt to argue that knowledge has vanished? Wouldn’t that be counterintuitive because the Bible dispenses knowledge and is filled with instructions to seek knowledge? However, if we are to follow the interpretation to its logical conclusion, we toss knowledge out the window too. What are we left with? Love! Now, I would never argue that we would be better off with love as the driving force for our world but how can we conclude that is what God was talking about?
What do we do with James 5:13-18? “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. AND…”
I must caution that the “and” is important because the next words declare, “AND the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” The remainder of that passage we tend to receive and embrace when it suits our doctrinal view and interpretation but reject when it touches things we have relegated to bygone eras, or not seeing, or do not believe. Who decides which we can pick and choose?
The writer of Hebrews makes a powerful statement and one that is difficult to square with the view that we are to take some of God’s promises and directives as valid for today and relegate others to history. It says in Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” If He is and He is then we might need to reexamine what we contend is for not and what is not. Next, we discover 1 John 4:17 which speaks about perfected love and its power and then adds something spectacular, “…because as He is, so are we in this world.” As He IS, not was and not will be but AS HE IS, so are we in this not the next world?
I cannot help but ask why God would tell us to do something if He did not mean for us to do it? That, to me, is nonsensical and God is never nonsensical. Virtually all believers embrace, “Go into all the world and preach…” However, many have declared that only the 1st-century church had miracles because they needed miracles to establish the church.
Let me ask, “If miracles got people’s attention back then, why do we think they would do less today? If miracles opened doors for preaching the gospel, then why would it do less today?” I confess I do not want to pick up snakes and have no intention of doing so. However, I fully believe that if I were to, as happened to Paul, accidentally encounter one I could expect God to perform a miracle for me. Also, knowing that there is a literal side to this I am convinced there is also a spiritual aspect to the serpents and while the slithering critter is definitely in the scope interpretation, I believe demonic powers are as well and that old serpent, the devil and his crowd are also rendered powerless when we go in Jesus name.
Someone asked me if I believed in divine healing, and I quickly answered yes! I have personally experienced it in my own body. One occasion was when I broke the radial head in my right arm playing softball in a church league. I saw the X-rays and heard the reports of the doctors declaring that it was broken and depressed enough to require surgery. Ten days later, at my insistence X-rays were taken and the diagnosis was a perfectly healthy right arm was in the film. Bones do not heal in ten days naturally, but God healed mine.
I had parathyroid cancer and my doctor declared that what had transpired was a miracle and beyond medical possibility. I saw God heal my mother of a broken back where she was paralyzed. I have seen other miracles of healing. Then they asked, “Why is it that everyone doesn’t get healed?” Now, that is admittedly a perplexing question.
I have prayed for some who have not been healed, but that does not diminish my confidence in the Promise of God to Heal. Some people believe that those who are not healed do not have enough faith. If I believed that a person was not healed solely because I did not manifest enough faith, I would go into such depression or become so calloused.
I had an evangelist once say, “Well, they just didn’t have enough faith.” He absolved himself of any responsibility and blamed the person needing healing. I cannot square that with James 5, nor can I square it with many other passages of scripture. The truthful answer is, I Do Not Know! I believe in every promise God has given and understand that faith or the lack thereof is a part of any equation, but I also know that I am not God and some things I wrestle with and am not casually willing to just say, “Oh well, the providence of God” and absolve myself from responsibility. No, I want to continually seek God to be and become a person that walks in the fullness of His promises and follows His directives fully.
So, I choose to believe that if God says it, He means it! I choose to believe that if He is, and He is, the same yesterday, today, and forever then what He declared to the apostles He speaks to me today! You can agree or disagree, and I will leave it to you and God to sort it out. But, if you are sick, I will lay on of hands, anoint with oil, and pray and believe that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.
God bless you as you enjoy all His blessings on this wonderful day!
Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. NKJV
As we consider our Commission from the Lord Jesus Christ several factors are of the utmost importance. Our text is the basis for the Commission and is based on the Authority of Jesus. We are informed in Ephesians 1:7 that we have been redeemed through His blood and therefore candidates for the Commission. In Colossians 1:13 we discover we have experienced a transfer of kingdoms. Our citizenship has shifted from the kingdom of darkness to God’s kingdom of light. Then in Colossians 2:11-17 we find that Jesus “legally” owns us, has “legal” standing to seek for us and His authority is backed by the full force and authority of Heaven’s Power.
Why are those things important? It shows that our Commission is not just a directive to go search for whoever might be interested but is a Rescue Mission for all those who Jesus bought and paid for with His blood on the Cross. We are “plucking them as brands from the burning.”
In Matthew 16:18 our Lord makes us aware of a powerful encouragement that even the powers of hell are powerless against us saying that the gates of hell cannot prevail against His church. I want you to catch the truth and powerful encouragement that we are sent or commissioned based on God’s Supreme Redemptive Authority to Rescue the Perishing! We are empowered and sent as Representatives of Heaven. In a very genuine sense, His Power is now our power because we are His commissioned representatives.
Mark 16:15-18 has a direct connection to this overall commission. We are to go In His Name which means we are representing all He is, does, and will do. We have been given legal standing and authority over all the powers of darkness, including demons, dangers, and diseases.
Therefore, in the light of our commission to go, we go in His Stead and His Power. We have been given biblical and legal authority to bind demons, defeat danger, and destroy disease. We may or may not be doing that, but it is the biblical commission. That is an incredible Weapon if we can believe it and learn to use it. In the biblical record, it is first “bind the strong man” and then “spoil his house.” The devil’s claim on man has been revoked by Jesus’ sacrificial work on the Cross.
If we link the statements of Mark 16 with Evangelism, we can see the incredible power afforded to the followers or disciples of our Lord. When a person is free from satanic bondage, they are more readily able to hear the message of the Gospel. We have been promised divine protection and have the promise that the sick will be healed as an expression and demonstration of the Love of God, which also opens new doors to proclaim the message of the Cross. We have also been afforded the Spiritual power and authority to pray in the Spirit and even when we do not know how to pray as we should the Holy Spirit does and prays through us. These thoughts make my heart rejoice and increase my anticipation daily.
The Commission is GO.
This is the soul-winning part of the commission and the starting point. Until we launch out, we have no hope of filling our nets with fish (souls).
The Commission is to MAKE DISCIPLES.
This is the grounding and anchoring of the new convert. It is not enough to win converts we need to equip them for walking the walk and living the life. We are to disciple and that means investing in individual lives and imparting to them the Word and Wisdom of God. It means an investment of TIME!
The Commission is to BAPTIZE THEM.
Some have overlooked that this is the responsibility of the Evangelist or Soul Winner. We do not just win them and leave them floundering on the shore. We invest time or ensure that time is invested in making disciples of them and we lead them in the public declaration that is evidenced in baptism. In their being baptized they are making a declaration of their conversion and testifying to the world, “I am now dead to the old and rising to the newness of life in Jesus.”
The Commission carries PROMISE.
Jesus said, “I am with you all the time and until the end of your earthly journey.” What a Promise! We take the message of John 3:16 with the knowledge that those who come to Christ will have their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life and can look forward to eternity with God, but also that in the interim they can go in total confidence that He is with Them!
Our love for others and the lost should be easily demonstrated because of His Love for us. I suppose that we could say that if love can be measured at all it can be measured in our desire and willingness to please and obey Him.
I pray that you are never hesitant or timid about sharing the reason for the hope that is in you and demonstrate the Love of God in today’s world.
God bless you as you embark on this leg of your journey in Christ.
Galatians 6:7-10 –“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” NKJV
In talking to some I have discovered they do not believe we can have or should expect a harvest in this life. They relegate all blessings to the next life or eternity. I am convinced there is not one person among us who does not need, want or desire a harvest in some area of their life.
That harvest may be financial, in matters of faith, regarding family or relationships, or direction in life. If we are honest, all of us have some area in our lives where the outcome of the harvest is a major factor in the present as well as the future. I would also suggest that a Harvest is coming because we have all been sowing seeds of some kind.That harvest may be good or bad depending on the seed we have sown.
Based on that knowledge and reality, it is tremendously important that we understand harvest. In the natural, there are laws that operate on every principle. Therefore, it makes sense that there must be laws concerning harvest in the spiritual and directly impacts believers.
I have learned that these Laws of Harvest are universal affecting believers and unbelievers alike. Yet, the believer has even greater promise and hope. In fact, the Bible declares that for the heirs, the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22). So, I would like to take a little time and highlight some of the principles of God’s Laws of Harvest and how they affect you and me. Hopefully, the brief mention of them will inspire in your heart a desire and hunger to dig more deeply and discover the truths therein for you.
Seed Must Be Sown Before You Can Have A Harvest.
John 12:24 – “…except a grain of wheat falls into the ground… it abides alone…” The seed [act, deed, money, etc.] has to be placed in the ground [sown or planted] before there can be any prospect or hope of Harvest. No Sowing, No Reaping!
The Sown Seed Must Be Rendered Useless.
John 12:24applies here as well. The seed [act, deed, money, etc.] enters into a state of uselessness to the sower. He cannot eat it or otherwise use it. That seed DIES and once it dies the process of multiplication begins but it only begins once it leaves your control.
The Seed Must Be Sown To Determine The Type Of Harvest.
Genesis 1:12 – “…herb yield seed after his kind.” What you plant determines what you harvest. You do not plant peas and get corn.
The Size Of The Harvest Is Determined At The Time Of Planting.
2 Corinthians 9:6 TLB – “…a farmer who plants just a few seed will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.” You do not wait until the Day of Harvest to determine what the harvest will be, that is done at the time of planting. I would suggest that abundance is preferred to a shortage in a good harvest so that should be our rule of sowing. Psalm 35:27, “…let the Lord be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.”
The Seed Must Be Sown In Good Soil.
Matthew 13:8 – “…other (seed) fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.” It is only Good Ground that produces a good harvest naturally, therefore only Good Ground will produce a good harvest spiritually.
A passage that has inspired and challenged me for years is Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” The key is IT. Whatever you give that is what you harvest it is the IT Factor of Harvest.
Harvest Is Always AFTER or LATER Than Sowing.
Mark 4:26-27 addresses this and virtually the only instant harvest in life is sowing a Big Smile which often produces an immediate harvest. Virtually all other harvests take time. Patience is an absolute requirement. You can dig up the seed to see what is happening with it. You plant it and leave it planted. It is in Due Season we reap.
The Crop Must Be Cared For To Have A Full Harvest.
Matthew 13:7 addresses this by identifying the possibility of thorns choking out the good seed or plants and destroying the harvest. You cannot leave your seed unprotected in a hostile environment and expect a harvest. The insects, birds, weeds, drought, etc. will attempt to destroy your harvest. Matthew 6:33 gives us a pathway to harvesting in instructing us to Seek First God and His Kingdom.
The Sowing Must Always Be To The Harvest Size Rather Than From The Harvest Size.
You sow to your desired harvest!
Expenses Are Always Greatest At Harvest Time.
A Portion Of Every Harvest Is For Future Sowing Not Eating. [You never want a one-time harvest of good things.]
A Portion of Every Harvest Is For Eating Or Personal Consumption.
Every Harvest Is A Miracle.
2 Corinthians 9:8 – “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Let me conclude this long devotional with these thoughts. The type of Harvest is determined by the type of Seed. The size of the Harvest is determined by the number of Seed sown. The fullness of the Harvest is determined by the care of the Crop in the growing process.
We Reap WHAT is sown. We Reap LATER than the sowing. We Reap MORE than has been sown. Just know that there is a Harvest coming and what you sow determines the type of harvest.
God bless you as you go through this beautiful day in Him.
John 3:16-18 –“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” NKJV
I hear a lot about Love not only in church but from various sources and sometimes it is difficult to fully determine exactly what is meant by the term. Sometimes the word love is used for lust, covetousness, or passionate desire. Everyone and I mean everyone, needs Love and everyone desires to love and be loved.
There is something in the human makeup that craves love. I would venture to say that, without love we perish. Jesus was and is our example in all things and especially in love. Jesus provides for us through the Inspired Record (Bible), a pattern for life and living. He demonstrates His truth by His life and when He speaks of Love, He demonstrates and illustrates love by His life.
LOVE can only be known through the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the Gift of His Son. 1 John 4:9-10, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
But this Love is not the result of any excellence in us or due to any intrinsic worth on our part. Romans 5:8, “But God commanded His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This Love is an exercise in the Divine Will in deliberate choice, based on the very nature of God.
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 – “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
There are several points to which I feel the need to draw attention as revealed in our text passage. Consider with me:
FOR GOD SO LOVED…
Probably every Sunday school child could quote John 3:16. It is, without a doubt, the most popular and most used verse in the Bible. It is also one of the most meaningful and powerful verses in the Bible… GOD LOVED! Those are not empty words, but a statement filled with depth and meaning far beyond human ability to fully understand. “For God So Loved…” He not only loved but loves, but He Loves Unlimitedly! God So LOVED! He loves and loved with incomprehensible measure.
God Is Love.
1 John 4:8b – “God is love…”
1 Corinthians 13, the great love chapter illustrates the vastness of Love. When we consider the Love of God, we realize that He saw man’s condition yet loved him. He saw man’s rebellion but yet He loved! Our Lord, the Bible declares, is moved with compassion toward His creation. I have often said that God is far more willing to pardon than judge. He desires to restore rather than destroy. He wants to bless not condemn.
God’s Love Is Everlasting.
Romans 8:37-39, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Our love is often fickle, flexible, and changeable. Our love, for the most part, is conditional and rises or falls, increases or decreases based on conditional circumstances. God loves us without condition and loves us regardless of our response.
I may not know all the right words to say or things to do. I may not know much scripture or have the proper interpretation. I may even be wrong in my theological and philosophical views. I may stumble and transgress. I may become fearful and fretting. But, even in all that He Still Loves Me! That is not to say that God winks at or excuses sin, nor does He overlook rebellion! He does love the world (people) enough to Forgive Forever!
God’s Love Is A Holy Love.
Agape is the word to describe God’s Love and His love demands that He be merciful, but just and His love is extended to WHOSOEVER WILL.
God’s Love Is Complete.
Nothing is lacking in the Love of God. It sees the need for redemption and acts. It lovingly leads to truth and life. It satisfied the void and longing in the heart of hearts. It is impossible to outrun God’s Love and we cannot refuse to be loved. We may reject God, but He will continue to love us. It is as we understand the Love of God that we comprehend the impact of the statement, “For God so loved the world that He gave…” That passage includes each of us and is God’s continual call for us to COME!
God bless you as you go through this wonderful day in Him!