"Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land." (Exodus 23:30, ESV)
Many people argue that deliverance should be swift. But most deliverances will be little by little. In Exodus, the Lord drove out the nations little by little. He did that for their own good, so that they would be strong enough to keep what the Lord gave them. Often, our deliverance is proportionate to how much we are growing in the Lord. It is essential to understand this, or you may become discouraged with others you are ministering to or with yourself in slow deliverance progress.
Don't be deceived into thinking that all deliverance must be instantaneous. Jesus said it this way: "By your patience possess your souls." (Luke 21:19, NKJV) God, in His mercy, allows us to grow in grace so that that which is swept clean is filled with the light of His word and able to stand when the 'former tenants attempt to come back with seven others more wicked than themselves.
The progressive nature of deliverance is that we learn to fight against darkness successfully. In Judges chapter three, nations were left behind to teach Israel how to war. Many believers today do not know how to stand against evil and throw demons out. They have not been trained to 'slay the giants' in their lives that keep them in bondage.
You are a giant slayer! Rise up and possess your own soul!
"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (1 John 1:6, ESV)
Demons are good at hiding. And since they dwell in darkness, an extra challenge is added to finding and driving them out. If not detected, then they are safe to remain. But we are children of the Light! We walk in the light of the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we grow from glory to glory, those demons that hide under the cover of darkness or ignorance are exposed by the Light and must flee.
Ephesians 5:11 says, "...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." As we walk in the Light, it is only natural that those evil spirits hiding under the cover of darkness be found out and driven out by the Light. Some would argue that we should not talk about the devil because it only glorifies him. We are not glorifying him; we are exposing him when we talk about him. If you do not talk about demons, they will only remain hidden in silence.
Demons do not reside in your born-again spirit; it is impossible. But they can hide in your soul (mind, will, and emotions) and your body (sickness). This is why it is important that we renew our minds with the Word. And we seek sanctification—body, soul, and spirit. "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless …” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, ESV)
"Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, "Let us alone! ...” (Mark 1:23–24, NKJV)
Demons want to be left alone! That is why there is so much resistance to teaching and preaching on deliverance; it disturbs demons and causes them to manifest. They resist anyone who tries to expose them. Ephesians 6:12 says demons are called "rulers of the darkness." In other words, demons have levels of authority in which they operate. According to the level of darkness in a person's life, it will be the level that demons have the right to operate. The more darkness, the more authority they have.
When the light comes, the darkness is disturbed, and its power is broken. Light destroys darkness, and knowledge destroys ignorance. "But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered." (Proverbs 11:9). Therefore, we must discuss the subject of demons and Jesus' power over them. Do not leave them alone! The more light you walk in, the more deliverance you will experience. Evil spirits will try everything to stop people from receiving the knowledge that would set them free.
Jesus was a deliverance preacher. In Mark 6:13, He cast out many demons. In Luke 4:18, He preached deliverance to the captives. The religious system of Jesus' day did not disturb demons until Jesus came along. It is much the same today. Have some fun! Remember, "The gates of hell will not prevail!" In Christ, your victory is sure!
"And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me." (Mark 5:7, NKJV)
Jesus was on a specific mission to find and destroy the demonic strongholds in this man. Jesus loves 'blowing up' strongholds of darkness in people's lives. When He arrived, the demonized man ran to Jesus. The demons began speaking through him, trying to intimidate the Lord. They were fierce, but someone more fierce came their way, and He was calm. They were so afraid, they were begging Jesus for permission to leave. This is how all demons should respond to us as believers.
Demons are foul, unclean, evil spirits bent on stealing, killing, and destroying God's creation—starting with man. They are tormentors (torturers) that thrive on causing people pain. They do not want to be bothered. They hate the Light! And they do not want to be cast out.
Jesus came so that we would have life and have it abundantly! This tormented man was about to be set free! Jesus had one word for the demons. "GO!" And immediately, they left him. The demons wanted to be left alone, but Jesus's mission was to free people. Christians should never leave demons alone. We should always cast them out! We have the authority of Christ to expel them! It is part of the ministry of those who are born again!
"And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear." (Mark 4:24, AMP)
In the age of multi-media and social media, you can hear a lot in a short amount of time. You could safely say we are assaulted with information, opinions, lies, and fear daily. Yet Jesus clearly states amid the 'noise,' "Be careful what you are hearing." How often do you stop to consider just what it is that you are hearing?
Jesus said it was essential for us to be careful about what we are hearing. Why? Because what you are hearing affects whether you are feeding faith or feeding doubt. We know "faith comes from hearing the message and the message from the Word of God." (Romans 10:17). But is it important enough to be careful what we hear? Jesus knew how important it was! Just as the Word of God can build faith, other words can destroy it.
How much thought and study do you give to the Word of God? According to Jesus, the more study and thought you give to His Word, the more grace and goodness you will walk in. Knowing this makes me want to be more careful about what I hear and how much time I give to hearing it. O' be careful, little ears, what you hear!
"be filled with the Spirit addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart" (Ephesians 5:19, ESV)
Be filled with the Spirit! What a beautiful statement! Being filled with the Spirit of God is such a refreshing activity of God in the life of a believer. But what Paul instructs us to do with that filling is to encourage one another as we worship God together! I get the picture of Paul and Silas in a Philippian jail, in stocks with their backs bleeding, all because of preaching the Gospel. (Acts 16:25) Paul and Silas begin singing at midnight, encouraging one another.
Address one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Talk to each other using the Word of God in song. Don't do that with groaning, doubt, and unbelief; do it with a melody in your heart to the Lord.
The end result of Paul and Silas' singing was God inhabiting their praises! As His presence entered that Philippian jail, the earth shook, prison doors opened, and prisoners were set free! That is the power of praise!
Oh, that the church would learn to sing its way out of darkness into His marvelous light. Oh, that the church would learn to sing until it is free! Oh, that the church would learn to sing until others in spiritual bondage were made free! Never underestimate the power of your praise! Sing, sing, sing, and sing to one another!
"... he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, "Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever." (2 Chronicles 20:21, ESV)
King Jehoshaphat was facing a vast army he could not win against in battle. Naturally, he and his people feared what would become of them. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon the prophet, Jahaziel, and he began to prophesy. "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's. (2 Chronicles 20:15 ESV).
Jehoshaphat "bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord." (2 Chronicles 20:18 NKJV). Notice that the king and all his people worshipped the Lord! Jehoshaphat put the singers and musicians before the army the next day and sent them out to battle. They praised God and remembered that the battle was not theirs but the Lord's. As they came over the rise, they found that the enemy had killed themselves. It took three days for Jehoshaphat to take away the plunder.
This is another picture of the power of praise as the people of God learn how to trust Him and enforce the victory of God through their praise and worship. When God inhabits the praises of His people, what can the enemy do against them? It is time for a victory dance and a shout to the Lord! "His mercies endure forever!”
"Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!" (Psalm 33:2, ESV)
If people realized the power of their praise, they would praise and worship Him more. Let's prepare to give thanks to our God because we understand the power of our praise!
First, praise silences the enemy. "Out of the mouths of babes and unweaned infants You have established strength because of Your foes, that You might silence the enemy and the avenger." (Psalm 8:2, AMP) Praise silences lying spirits from whispering lies and accusations against God's people.
Second, praise binds the adversary. "Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 149:6–9, ESV) Praise shuts down the activity of our spiritual enemies.
Third, God lives in the praises of His people. "Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel." (Psalm 22:3, ESV) When my praise goes up, His presence comes down upon me! Putting these three revelations of the power of praise into action positively affects our spiritual lives in extraordinary ways. Your praise silences your enemies, binds your enemies, and causes God to come and dwell in your praises! Get your praise on!
"In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old," (Amos 9:11, ESV)
What was unique about David Tabernacle? The Tabernacle was the first thing David addressed as Israel's new king. He brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem and set it in the tent of meeting. He then commanded Asaph, a worship leader, to worship before the Lord night and day, every day. (1 Chronicles 16:37)
David had 288 singers whose only job was to worship before the Lord. Twenty-four teams of twelve served the Lord every day in this manner. This worship and prayer meeting was the very core of David's government and the nation of Israel.
Later, the number of musicians increased to four thousand, and they played instruments David had designed! David's Kingdom underwrote all the expense of this! Think of what this must have done to the heart of God—enthroned on the praises of Israel! Think of the sound of thousands of instruments, all giving glory to God.
The face of worship is being changed in this hour as more and more people receive the revelation of God's desire for the Tabernacle of David to be once more raised up as in days of old. Praise binds the enemy. Praise silences the enemy. Praise attracts the presence of God. May the Tabernacle of David first be raised up in your own heart. Selah!
"But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." (Luke 10:40, ESV)
This snapshot of scripture shows Martha serving and Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. Which should you be doing, serving or sitting? Many people struggle to answer the question. Actually, the question is wrong. Disciples are not called to either sit or serve, but they are called to both sit and serve. God desires that we find Him in the secret place so we do not get a 'Martha' heart while serving.
Martha was distracted by much serving. The word distracted means to be drawn away from. Martha, in her serving, was drawn away from Jesus. She was drawn away from her source of peace. All her tasks were taking her away from her Lord. Distractions cause stress because they pull us in many directions at once. Distractions make you feel alone and cause you to become self-focused and self-righteous. She even accused Jesus, "Don't you care?" Then she accused Mary, "My sister left me alone to serve." And to top off her stress, she tried to control Jesus: "Tell her to help me!"
Jesus reminds Martha that she has a choice as he commends Mary for choosing the most advantageous thing. You see, you can serve distracted or choose the needed and necessary 'thing' from which everything else flows. You can sit at the feet of Jesus while serving. We call that abiding in Christ.
"You prepare a table before me..." (Ps 23:5)
What does it mean when the scriptures say, "You prepare a table before me." When I think about God preparing a table before me, I see a big table with lots and lots of food! It would be a table that is so attractive that you would stand in awe to look at it.
When I think of God preparing a table before me, I think of the hospitality of God. Think of all God did to prepare the Garden of Eden for man. Eden was such an attractive garden. And in that garden, God greets us and welcomes us. So, the table becomes a place of relationship. So much relationship-building and enjoyment happens around food on a table.
When I think of God setting a table before me, I think of all the food He would have on that table just for me. He is a God of resources. There would be plenty to share! He is God of more than enough!
God's table would be a table of divine provision supplied by Him alone. There is more than food at His table. There is protection, divine health, and healing. There is joy, deliverance, and so much more.
When God sets a table before us, He is saying all this is for you! But to sit at the table, we have to choose to come in and be seated. We have to want it. The table is about God wanting to be with us and to share life 'together' with us. And it is about us choosing to be with God.
"Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord." (Proverbs 16:20, ESV)
Proverbs truly is a book of wisdom! And Proverbs 16:20 is solid wisdom. Jesus said that His words were Spirit and life. Paul, in Hebrews, said the Word is living and active. Isaiah said that the Word produces and will not return to God empty or void but will accomplish what it was sent to do. We also know from the book of Romans that faith comes from hearing the message and the message from the Word of God.
With that said, only a fool would ignore the Word of God. Look at what God promises to those who give thought to and meditate on God's Word. They will discover good and be blessed! God reveals Himself through His Word. Since we know that God is good, it only serves to reason that a person who gives thought to His Word will discover good and be blessed.
The Word of God is like a field full of treasures. You may have to look for them, but they are worth looking for. To those who take time to study God's Word, they find treasures. God has given us His Word to bless our families, finances, children, pantries, ministries, etc. All we have to do is search for it. Mine the goodness of God out of the depths of His Word. The Word works for those who work the Word!
"God, everyone sees your goodness, for your tender love is blended into everything you do." (Psalm 145:9, TPT)
God, by His very nature, longs to bring to us and all His creation joy and blessing! By His very nature, He is good. Goodness is a part of who He is. He cannot escape His goodness, for it is part of Him. And because goodness is a part of Him, you and I reap the benefits. His goodness speaks of His generous attitude towards us. He is not just good; He is lavishly good to us!
His tender love is blended into everything He does! God is love! It is no wonder that He is good! Love desires the greatest good for others. Think about that! God desires the greatest good for each of us. That is why Paul could say in Romans 8:28, "So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God's perfect plan of bringing good into our lives." (TPT)
I want to encourage you today to find three things into which you can see the love of God blended. David says, "Everyone sees your goodness!" Sometimes, we must stop long enough to notice and acknowledge His goodness before we begin to see it everywhere. You may see His goodness in a sunset, a flower, or a newborn. You may bask in His goodness simply because you are born-again, filled with His Spirit, and living in His presence. Take note and be one of those today who sees His goodness.
"Keep protecting and cherishing your chosen ones; in you they will never fall. Like a shepherd going before us, keep leading us forward, forever carrying us in your arms!" (Psalm 28:9, TPT)
He is a good God! What a beautiful prayer David prays! It is good to know that our God is like a good shepherd. He protects. He cherishes. He goes before us as He leads us. And He will forever carry us in His arms. This verse is worth meditating on for a whole week or more until it gets into your spirit and you can 'hang' your faith on it.
David often uses the picture of a shepherd caring for his sheep to describe God's relationship with us. David was a shepherd. He was a good shepherd. Often, while tending to his flock and thinking about God, he drew such powerful correlations between how a good shepherd cares for his sheep and how God cares for His people.
In the middle of this verse, David places one little statement: "In you, they will never fail." Can you say that about yourself? David said it about himself. He could say this about himself because he was convinced of God's goodness. Think of all you know about David: his sins, his failures, his challenges, and his setbacks, and remember how God faithfully brought him through. He led David forward, forever carrying him in His arms. May you live knowing that God is carrying you forward, forever in His arms.
"Moses said, "Please show me your glory." And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The Lord.' ..." (Exodus 33:18–19, ESV)
I have always found it interesting that when Moses asked God to show him His glory, God responded, "I will show you my goodness and declare my name." We can say that 'God is good.' We can sing that 'God is good.' We can think that 'God is good.' But until we know He is good, we can't trust Him, won't trust Him, and will not receive from Him. When God reveals himself to Moses, it is to encourage and empower him to lead a stiff-necked people into the promised land.
Glory is God expressing Himself. Anytime you see God expressing Himself, you are looking at His glory. Isaiah 6:3 says that the whole earth is filled with His glory. That statement demands an expectation that we see God's glory everywhere. Isaiah 43:7 states that glory is what we were made for. If I am made for glory, then I am made to know and encounter His glory.
God intends for us to know Him. God intended for Moses to know Him. If the children of Israel were ever to know God, they must be led by a leader who knows that God is good. If you know the goodness of God, you will trust Him! This is what God was after: that His people would trust Him. That they would glory in His goodness.
"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months, it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit." (James 5:17–18, ESV)
Elijah lived in a time when the King of Israel, Ahab, did evil in the sight of the Lord. He was more evil than all the kings before him. Ahab's choices led to famine in the land. He created desperation in the land of Israel.
Desperate times require bold prayers, not desperate prayers. Many believers pray desperate prayers filled with hopelessness, weakness, and unbelief. God is looking for bold saints who will unapologetically pray bold prayers with faith!
What are bold prayers? Bold prayers are prayers that have God's agenda in mind. They declare what God is saying. Bold prayers are prayers that address specific situations or spirits. You do not say 'Excuse me' to a demon! You say, "Get out! Go!" Bold prayers come out of friendship with God. Moses prayed bold prayers because he was a friend of God. Bold prayers command demons to move, territorial spirits to bow, governments to shift, and nations to awaken. Bold prayers are fervent, not passive. They are persistent, not inconsistent.
We are living in a time that calls for bold prayers to be prayed. Prayers that are so audacious that only God could accomplish them! Pray on Saints of God!
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1, ESV)
One big question asked twice was, "Whom shall I fear?" If God is my light and my salvation, and if God is the stronghold of my life, "Whom shall I fear? is answered, "No one!"
Fear is something that everyone faces, but each one faces that fear differently. David faced his fears by knowing who God is. David did not just know about God. David knew God personally. In 1 Samuel 17, David was poised to fight Goliath. When the giant threatened him, David responded with what he knew. "You come at me with spear and javelin (tools made by man), but I come at you in the name of the Lord."
People may come at you with their strength and worldly tools, but when you stand under the shadow of the living God, supernaturally empowered, the table turns in your favor. In Psalm 27, David makes several references to who God is to him. And each reference to God builds his faith, strengthens his confidence, and crushes his fear.
What do you know about God that empowers you to face and overcome your fears? What can you speak out loud when fear comes against you? To overcome fear, we must have the Word of God hidden in our hearts and ready to speak at a moment's notice. Of whom shall you be afraid?
"... 'At home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!" (Luke 15:17, NLT)
'Home' must be attractive if you want the prodigal to return there. The wayward son in our story remembered that even the hired servants in his father's house had more than enough food. Home was attractive enough to make the prodigal want to return there. This speaks volumes about the Father. Father can afford the servants! Father can afford to feed the servants very well. Father treats his servants very well because he cares for them. It causes the son to think, "Maybe I can go home and be a servant in my father's house.”
We are not God, but we better be the closest thing to God that our child experiences when they return home. We want to be like Jesus: "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." We are to model God to that wayward child.
The real hero of the story of the prodigal is the Father and the action he takes. Fathering is not a passive business. Good fathers take action—accurate action. This demonstrates what is going on in the heart of the Father. He runs to meet his child! He hugs him continuously. He covers him with kisses. He calls him his son. He requests a robe, sandals, a family ring, and preparation for the celebration of a lost son who has come home. What prodigal would not want to return to this home? Home must be attractive for prodigals!
"And when he came to himself." Luke 15:17
I want to revisit yesterday's devotional and focus on what needs to change in us before the prodigal returns. Because the Father in the story of the wayward son is our heavenly Father, nothing in Him needs to be changed. Everything is right about Him!
We, on the other hand, require repair, restoration, and updating. Sometimes, we are so focused on the prodigal that we forget that God wants us to change first. Maybe God wants to work on our pain, bitterness, and disappointments first. Maybe God wants us to find comfort in Him first. Maybe God wants to take a little self-righteousness out of us first. Maybe God wants to change our despair into joy and thanksgiving before the lost child returns home. Maybe God wants us to live in His anointing so that His kindness and pleasure will be clearly expressed to that prodigal when they come home.
Pain has a way of hindering growth. Sometimes, parents fail to grow while the prodigal is away. Then, when the prodigal returns, they find the same judgmental, self-righteous attitudes they lived under while they were home. Most prodigals come home broken and need lots of mercy, love, and patience. Only a mature, growing Christian parent can supply that need. Let's position ourselves before God to become more like the Father. Because we have been with Jesus, may we be everything the prodigal needs and more besides.
"And when he came to himself." Luke 15:17
Most people who have been believers for quite some time have forgotten what it is like to be lost. You may remember being lost and what you did while lost. But you have mostly forgotten what it is to be lost. The heart tends to forget what a lost person feels: the fears, uncertainties, shame, and rejection.
Before the wayward son left home, he was 'in control' of his life. He had no pain, just FREEDOM! Midway into his crisis, his freedom shifts into pain, and life becomes fearful. Next, he knows only pain and fear. Freedom is a thing of the past. Now, he is no longer 'in control.' Isn't it interesting that when famine strikes, he has spent everything? He has moved from freedom to bondage. He has no money. He has no friends. He is spiritually empty. In his hunger, it is here that "he came to himself."
Many ask, How should I pray for my prodigal? 1) Get'm God! But be as tender and merciful as possible. 2) Lord, change me. Sometimes we are so focused on our prodigal that we forget there are changes God wants in us before He brings the prodigal home. 3) May life's pain point this prodigal home. Pain can just as quickly point to a bottle or needle. 4) Use my wayward child's friends and strangers to point them to Jesus. 5) Pray and fast for the Holy Spirit to 'round them up and bring them home'. If God never fails, then you should never quit. In faith, keep believing!
"Is not my Word like a fire, declares the Lord and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces." (Jer 23:28-29 ESV)
There are three basic understandings of fire in the Bible. One is judgment. The fire brought judgment upon people, cities, and nations. Fire separated humanity from the Tree of Life. "He drove out man...and placed a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life." Genesis 3:24. Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed by fire. Sin is a serious issue to God. The Bible is full of small sins that cost people greatly: hitting a rock with a stick, touching the ark, and lying about real estate profits.
The second understanding is cleansing. Fire symbolizes cleansing. Isaiah 6 reveals the temple filled with smoke and fire from the altar touching his lips. Malachi 3:2 speaks of God as a refiner's fire, purifying gold.
These two understandings reveal that the fire of God is to one person death and to another person life. What accounts for the difference? The condition of a man's heart makes all the difference in whether he will know judgment or cleansing.
A third understanding of the fire of God is presence. God's presence! In Acts 2, the fire of the Holy Spirit is seen over each of the heads of the 120 who were present in the upper room. In Hebrews 1:7, God says, "He makes His angels winds and His ministers a flame of fire. Fiery ministers make a great impact on people's lives! Fire of God, come! Judge, cleanse, and empower!
"And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."" (Matthew 14:33, ESV)
While in a boat, in a raging storm, in the dark of night, the disciples see Jesus walking to them on the water. He tells them not to fear. What was Jesus after in this moment? I believe Jesus wanted to teach them how to change their spiritual atmosphere from fear to faith. It did something to Peter as he jumped out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water. Peter, moved by faith, gets out of the boat in the dark, in the middle of a raging storm, to walk to Jesus. Third* lesson: Faith always requires that we get out of the boat. Faith involves risk, and fear will always be an enemy of your faith.
The fourth lesson we find is: Keep your eyes on Jesus when doing the impossible. Peter looked at the wind and waves and started to sink. But when he cried out, Jesus caught him, and they returned to the boat together!
When they got into the boat, the winds ceased and the waves died. Everyone began to catch their breath from the intensity of the moment. Everyone in the boat came to Jesus and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God!' When you have a revelation of who God is, you will worship! Their revelation: Truly you are the Son of God.
* See the devotional dated October 9, 2023 for the first two lessons.
"And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."" (Matthew 14:33, ESV)
When you follow Jesus, you should expect Him to do great things through you. He wants to give you a great story to tell, a testimony. We are contending for revival because revivals produce stories! Stories make Jesus famous in our community! People remember stories. People talk about stories. As they listen to testimonies, they begin to see that God is no respecter of persons but will do for all who ask of Him.
In Matthew 14:25–33, we find the disciples in a boat, in a big storm, in the dark of night. Have you ever noticed how often the bad things in life happen at night? The first lesson of this passage is that sometimes Jesus makes us face big storms in the dark, a long way from shore. Jesus wants them to know He is God of the impossible! Sometimes, we too face big storms, so we will realize that God is bigger than the storm.
The other lesson we find in this passage is that peace is not found in the absence of storms but in the presence of God. Jesus comes walking on the water. The storm is still raging. Yet he says, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." No need to fear! The Great I Am is here!
Jesus invites us to trust Him amid the storms of life. When we believe that He is the great I Am, we become 'water-walking' saints, for we trust Him!
"In him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4, ESV)
One of the most incredible things about a good vacation is being at rest, feeling alive, and enjoying life. This is where the phrase 'This is the life!' is most often spoken. The world has a way of wringing the life out of us, but God has a way of recharging us when we get into His presence and 'by faith' drink Him in!
Jesus is known as the Life! Everyone who believed in Him in the scriptures encountered Him as the Life-Giver. You could not help but be more alive after meeting Jesus! Jesus is life itself! Vitality is what comes out of Him and fills others who believe. When a person is born again, they are no longer dead but alive! The vitality of God causes them to come alive in Christ.
Jesus is God's complete expression, and there will never be a need to doubt who God is ever again! Jesus is the perfect picture of a man 'full of God', 'led by God', and 'enjoying God.' God wants us filled with His life. In fact, John 7:38 says, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38, ESV) You were born to be alive and a source of God, a flowing river of life to so many others. Yes, this is the life!
"Him we proclaim, ... that we may present everyone mature in Christ. To this I toil..." (Col 1:28–29 ESV).
Mature means a final or complete state. Mature is the concluding result. I have always said that you are backsliding if you are not growing. I am sure some may differ with that statement. But there is no standing still when you think of what you can become in Christ Jesus. It is simply Christ in me, the Hope of Glory, into which I am being transformed! It is a lifetime adventure!
Paul fully understood that to mature the saints, they had to hear the continual message of Christ. There is no other way to be made complete. Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). Therefore, we can and must continually set our eyes upon Him and listen to words about Him so we grow up in Him.
Paul said, "For this, I toil." This is what I labor so hard to do. I pour myself out to see others come to full maturity in Christ. What if we thought that way as parents towards our kids, spouses, one another, or our friends? What if we labored to help each other become more for Him? What if we really worked to help others realize what they have in Christ? The more understanding we have of God and His ways, the more like Him we will become. Let us make it our goal to help everyone reach full maturity in Christ.
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