Monday, February 24, 2014

Not Yet the Season for Figs

Mark 11:25 (NKJV) "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."

Mark 11 is such an amazing chapter to study. It begins with Psalm Sunday, announcing the arrival of Jesus---the savior of the world. Then Jesus clears the temple of thieves and robbers. This demonstrated the need to prepare man to be the New Testament tabernacle.

Next, Jesus curses the fig tree. This revealed why we needed to be cleaned. Mankind was rooted in Adam. He was the tree with nothing but fig leaves on, he was cursed. We were withered from our roots. When we receive salvation, we become rooted in Christ.

Then Jesus reveals the power of faith available to man. We can move mountains if we tap into this faith. Faith activates the power of God. Our verse at the top indicates a need to qualify for this faith. Although God wants to move the mountain for us, if un-forgiveness is in the way, He cannot do it for us. Man's sinful nature hinders God.

Mark 11 is about the need for a Saviour. Jesus walked the earth as a flesh and blood human being. To perform miracles, He had to tap into the power of God. He had one very big advantage---He was without sin. He was already a temple of the Holy Spirit, because He was rooted in God. He was born of the Holy Spirit. He had no un-forgiveness or any other sin separating Him from the Father. His nature was righteous.

Before the cross, it was impossible for man to forgive everyone. Even being born-again, it can still be a struggle. Before the cross, mankind was sinful beings. Mark 11:13 says, "... it was not the season for figs." For us to move mountains---we needed to be righteous. Jesus gave us the gift of righteousness by His sacrifice on the cross. When we receive His gift, we become qualified to move mountains. Sin and un-forgiveness will never hinder God again.

Want to move a mountain? Thank God for His forgiveness. He qualified you, He has made it possible.

It is time for miracles.

Be blessed!

Monday, February 17, 2014

House of Prayer

Isaiah 56:7 (KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

In Mark 11:15, Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers and thieves. It was figurative of how He had to prepare us to be a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. That temple was the body of the believer, His new home(1). This was necessary for us to be an acceptable place for Him to dwell.

After clearing the temple, Jesus referenced the verse at the top (Mk. 11:17). Since we are His temple, we are a house of prayer for all people. That means people of all sorts and races.

The task of a born-again believer is to bring the power of God into a world that desperately needs it. We can do this by releasing fruit of the Spirit, speaking God's Word, and through prayer. Our verse at the top says, "I [God] will make them joyful in my house." An amazing benefit of prayer is the Joy it can produce.

I continually pray and bless people. When I bless my food, I also bless the hands that served it and prepared it, even in restaurants. If I drive past a car accident, I pray God brings good out of it for the people involved. If someone seems to get my attention---I pray for them---even if I do not know anything about them, I bless them. I continually bless people and pray for them, and I continually walk in joy.

I pray simple prayers, sometimes under my breath, or even in my thoughts. God hears it, and He is released into their lives, fulfilling my requests.

Praying for others can also be a powerful antidepressant. Psalm 126:5 says, "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." When we pray for others, we sow into their lives. When we feel sad or depressed, God has provided a way out---pray for others.

Of course, we do not have to wait until we are depressed to take advantage of this remarkable gift. Pray simple prayers for all kinds of people and walk continually in the joy of the Lord.

Be blessed!
(1) 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV), "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Withered Fig Tree

Mark 11:13 (KJV)  And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

In Mark 11 we read how Jesus cursed a fig tree that was not bearing fruit (figs). After cursing the fig tree, Jesus went on to clear the temple of those selling animals for sacrifice and exchanging money. There is wonderful revelation in these stories.

The fig tree tells a story about mankind. Man is often likened to a tree in Scripture (Ps 1:3, Jer 17:8). The first mention of fig leaves in the Bible is in Genesis Chapter 3. Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit and realized they were naked. Since they felt shame, they covered themselves with fig leaves (Ge 3:7). When they ate the forbidden fruit, they brought a curse upon themselves (Ge 3:16-19). The Fig tree in Mark 11 is descriptive of Adam and Eve covered with nothing but fig leaves.

Mark 11:20 says the fig tree was withered from the roots. This makes a connection to all of mankind, since we came from Adam. This story is saying that the time of fruitfulness---the season of figs---was not yet come.

After Jesus cursed the fig tree, He went on to clear the temple. The Bible says the born-again believer is the temple of God (1 Cor 6:19). In order for this to be possible, we had to be cleaned out. This all takes place through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus.

Salvation did not come until after the cross. Mark 11:25 says, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." That was before the cross. After the cross, we forgive because we are forgiven (Eph 4:32, Col 3:13).

It is so much easier to forgive when you understand the gift of salvation. It is so much easier to bear fruit when you receive fruit. If you want to learn to love, learn about how much God loves you. If you want to be patient---learn How patient God is for you. The season for figs came after the cross. We are no longer rooted in Adam, but now we are rooted in Christ (Col 2:7).

Be blessed!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Our Own Destructions

Psalm 107:20 (NKJV) He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

The cross is an avenue for God to get involved in all of our affairs. It is a doorway for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. It is a passageway for God to bless His children. In the past, I never fully understood this. I always thought if I did good, it gave God the opportunity that He needed to bless me. All along it was the cross, that gave Him that opportunity---nothing else, just the cross. The cross is the grace of God.

I have always appreciated the Scripture at the top as a healing promise, but it is much more than that. The cross is our deliverance from our own destructions. No matter what we have messed up (or ever will mess up), God can, and wants to fix it. It is the very reason He sent His Son(1) in the first place. To heal us, and fix our mistakes.

If you have been paying for some kind of mistake, look to the cross. It is your solution---no matter what problem you got yourself into. Maybe health problems because of smoking or money problems because of debt. It was all paid for on the cross. And so you don't keep getting into these places, ask God for wisdom. Ask God to multiply His fruit(2) inside you. Ask daily. You will see God fix your mistakes and help you from making more. The cross paid the price so you do not have to.

Be blessed.
(1) John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. -  John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 
(2) Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.