Monday, March 25, 2013

When I sit in darkness ...

Micah 7:7-8 (NKJV) Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.

We have all been there; perhaps some of us are there right now. I have even questioned my own faith in dark times. If you are like me, you could never abandon your faith. There is no denying His presence. There is no denying His love for me. I could never give up on God. Circumstances in the natural may sometimes dictate doom and destruction.

Nevertheless, as the prophet Jeremiah said, "But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones" (Jer. 20:9). No matter what the natural situation says---I could never give up on God. This is because I know God. He loves me and the enemy cannot convince me otherwise.

Some people have been challenged for years. The Bible has several examples of people who have had very good reason, in the natural to throw in the towel. There was Joseph, who gained favor with the Pharaoh, and except for the throne, became the most powerful man in Egypt (Ge. 41:40). There was Ruth who gained favor with Boaz, a man of great wealth (Ru. 2:1, 4:10). There was Esther, who married a King (Es. 2:17), and Mordecai who received the wealth of his enemy Haman, likely equivalent to a billionaire by today's standards (See my post titled, "The wealth of the sinner is yours", Jan. 16, 2012).

These were all people who suffered for years before their breakthrough. Joseph was a slave and imprisoned. Ruth was widowed along with her mother in-law, and a foreigner in a strange land. Esther was an orphan, also in a strange land. Mordecai was also a foreigner; his only family seems to be his cousin Esther. The prime minister wanted him dead and devised a plan to have him executed.

Each of these individuals suffered a great deal of time before their deliverance. However, what amazing restitution! I am a firm believer in, "the more trouble---the more double" (Ze. 9:12). Therefore, we know we have a victory in our future. How do we get through these times before the victory?

There is only one way. Learn to recognize the presence of Jesus in your life. When you discover the true friend He is you will always have light in the darkness. Learn to recognize Him through continual fellowship and communion. When your breakthrough comes, it will be worth the wait, no matter how long it takes.

Be blessed, my wealthy brothers and sisters!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jesus---The end of the Ten Plagues

Exodus 12:29 (NKJV) And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt...

The first Passover we read about in Exodus 12, was prophetic of the crucifixion. It contained several details that were fulfilled by the sacrifice of Jesus. One very interesting revelation hidden in the Gospels, is how the angel of death was released at midnight in the Garden of Gethsemane.

We read in Mark 14:13-26, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with the disciples before going to Gethsemane at the Mount of Olives to pray.

When Jesus began to pray, He sweat drops of blood because He was in agony (Lk. 22:44). He prayed three times (Mt. 26:44). We also know the prayer He prayed was about an hour long (Mt. 26:40), for a total of three hours.

The Bible tells us that while Jesus was in custody, a rooster crowed (Jn. 18:27). A rooster crows at the first sign of light, this would indicate the time to be about 6:00am. The Bible says in John 19:14, "Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour ..."* Then in verse 17 we read, "And He [Jesus], bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull." Then in Mark 15:25 the Bible says, "Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him."

So we know that a rooster crowed during His incarceration. We also know that He was hung on the cross about the third hour; using our current time system this is 9:00am (the Jewish day began at 6:00am). According to John 18:27, we also know that Jesus went to the cross about six hours after His arrest.

From all this we see Jesus shared the Passover meal with the disciples and went to Gethsemane to pray. At midnight, when He began to pray, the agony set in. This marked the beginning of freedom from bondage for the children of God.

In Exodus Chapters 7-12, we learn how God released ten plagues in Egypt to deliver Israel from slavery. The tenth and final plague was the death angel released at midnight, after God's children ate the Passover meal. When Jesus began to pray in the garden, it was just after midnight. The angel of death was released to kill the first-born. According to Colossians 1:15, Jesus is the firstborn over all creation. Jesus was in such agony because the death angel was released.

The Scripture says in Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Then it says in Galatians 4:7 (NLT), "Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir." Jesus freed us from slavery as prophesied in the first Passover." The Scripture calls the ten commandments, the law of sin and death. In other words, the Ten Commandments were ten plagues that we could never contend with. We needed a Savior. The final plague was released on Jesus, that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This is important to understand. Our focus should no longer be on the law. Instead our focus needs to be on God. If I struggle with sin or addictive behavior, I connect with God. Through fellowship and communion, the power of God breaks bondages of sin in my life.

Be blessed!
*There is a little bit of confusion in the translation given to us for John 19:14. The verse says, "it was the preparation day of the Passover." It would be more appropriately translated into modern English as, "it was a preparation day during the Passover." Passover was a week long event also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread". The day after the crucifixion was a Sabbath. The day before a Sabbath was considered to be a day to prepare. Since no work was to be performed on the Sabbath, necessary work was taken care of the day before. This preparation was for a weekly Sabbath that took place during a holy feast, this made it even more important.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Knowing God

Daniel 11:32 (NKJV), "The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."

I know Jesus on a personal level. I have discovered Him to be an amazing friend. He never makes me feel bad when I have done wrong. I can talk to Him about anything. I can share every moment of my life with Him---even the un-holy part. He continually gives me encouragement and even praise. I do not have to hide anything from Him. He will never cause me harm and is always there to defend me if I need it.

Jesus has all the attributes of a best friend. I am not the slightest bit surprised---He created best friends. This revelation brought Him into everything I do. I am in constant fellowship with Jesus. I have gotten to know Him as my best friend.

I thank God for all my good friends; they are a gift from Him. I am especially thankful for this friendship. I am friends with God who created time space and matter (Ge. 1:1, Jn 1:1-3, 14).

The first nineteen years as a Christian, I knew of God but did not know Him personally. I thought I did. I said I did. However, I really did not. I acknowledged Him in church on Sunday. I often prayed during the week. I declared He was my Savior, but it really was not personal.

God never leaves His children. He is omnipresent. If you do not grasp this, most of the time you will turn your back on Him. You would not ignore a good friend that much if you realized they were with you. I began to acknowledge His continual presence. I began to have communion with Him, on my own. After a little time, I began to recognize Him and He began to change me.

Without His personal friendship, I was the weakest of the weak. I had addictive behaviors and I struggled to do right. The more I recognize His presence, the more He infiltrates my being. My weaknesses have become my strengths. I become like the friend I spend the most time with.

I love Jesus---He is my best friend!

Be Blessed.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Keep Moving!

Exodus 14:15 (NLT) "Tell the people to get moving!"

Several times over the years, I have felt led to do something but never did anything about it. I have had great ideas but no confidence in them---or rather---no confidence in me. Whether it was to help a stranger out, an idea for an invention, or a project I was not equipped to do. I did not move on it.

One day I was getting the courage to do something. At the time I had no resources to do it. I just did it. I invented something. In my mind, the idea was as simple as a coat hanger. I realize now that it was all God's idea and He can make anything simple.

The challenges I faced were huge. I had several people working against me. It was the root of many frustrations. I was connected to God through prayer, and even went to church sometimes. However, I just did not realize how present God really was.

Looking back I know how much easier it would have been if I had a real personal friendship with Jesus. I have one now but, none-the-less, nothing can stop the Lord when you acknowledge Him. Even if you are not as holy as you would like to be. This invention eventually provided me with a regular income.

King David had a best friend named Jonathon. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 14:6 (NKJV), "Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few." Jonathon was about to take on numerous men on his own. God gave him the victory.

Whether you feel connected to God or not. I encourage you to acknowledge the presence of God in your life and just keep moving. You may have a battle with health issues, a challenging project, or maybe you do not know what God has for you. The message is still the same---just keep moving.

We all face challenges and road blocks from time to time, do not let them stop you from doing something, even if it is just singing a praise. God will come through I guarantee it.

Be blessed!