Tuesday, April 18, 2017

To Stretch Your Faith, Tame Your Fear!

If you’re going to make a fresh start with faith in your life, you must face your fears. Fear has an incredible ability to paralyze our potential, to keep us from launching out, to keep us from having faith in our lives.

 Giving into our fear makes us skeptical. We become afraid of trying anything new when we’re afraid.

 Remember the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10 in the Bible? He faced a fear that most of us face: the fear of rejection and disapproval.

 He was blind and in need of healing. Jesus was walking by, but Bartimaeus knew that to shout out at Jesus in that crowd wasn’t the culturally acceptable thing to do. He knew that people would look down on him for it, but he was desperate.

And he knew that Jesus Christ was the only one that could help him.

 Bartimaeus shouted. And sure enough, people in the crowd criticized him for it. When he shouted out to Jesus, the Bible says in Mark 10:48, “Many scolded him to get him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (NET).

 When he shouted out, everyone around said things to him like, Don’t do that. Be quiet. Quiet down. Don’t make a scene. Surely Jesus Christ isn’t interested in you. He’s got more important things to do.

 The Devil whispers things like that to a lot of us. And those kinds of thoughts often keep us from having faith. When you see before you the opportunity to change, to be healed, to take another step forward in your spiritual journey, all kinds of shouts from inside and outside of you tell you not to rock the boat.

 But here’s an important question: Whose disapproval do you fear the most? Whoever that is, that person is your god. That person can keep you from having faith or invite you to have faith. Peer pressure isn’t just for kids.

 It’s possible that as you read this, God is asking you to do something greater than you’ve ever done before. He’s asking you to depend on him in a way you never have before. Of course it’s a little scary.

 Here’s my encouragement: Tame your fear and move out in faith!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Confronted with the Cross, Jesus Trusted the Father with His Life.

During the time leading up to Christ’s death on the cross, His human side showed up big time. He felt the weight of the burden He had come to bear. How would you like to know the exact day you were going to die and the barbaric way it was going to occur? “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,” He told His disciples (Matthew 26:38).
We often talk about the deity of Christ. It’s what makes Him one with God. It’s what separates Him from every other person that has been born of a woman. But during His sufferings leading to His death, Jesus ministered as a human servant. Emotionally, the assignment was overwhelming. He prayed three times requesting that the bitter cup He was about to drink would pass from Him, if it were possible.
Though omniscient, prior to the cross, Jesus did not know death first hand. He did not know what it was to be separated from His Father. He had live every day, abiding in the Father’s love. But now the One who knew no sin would become a sin offering for us. As such, He became separated from the Father. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He cried on the cross (Matthew 27:46).
How could the Lord endure this ordeal? Where could He find an anchor for His soul amidst the utter darkness of those hours leading to His death on the cross? It was but in the arms of the Father that He could find such a place: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
Because Jesus trusted the Father with His life, He could see beyond the agony of the cross. “After I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee,” He said to His disciples (Matthew 26:32).
In the arms of God, His life was in good hands. Jesus is our example. Like Him, we must entrust our lives into the hands of the Father. In the appointed time, He will raise us from the grave.
So it was on that first Easter (or Resurrection Day, or whatever). When Jesus died, He laid in the grave the appointed time. He trusted the Father with His life. On that historic and victorious day, God raised Jesus from the dead. Our hope is in the power of that same resurrection. Our life is in the loving care of the same God.
Because Jesus lives forever, we too shall live forever. Then will be fulfilled the saying, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).

Sunday, April 2, 2017


You are beautiful, well-thought-out of God. You are not an accident! Before time began, God loved you, and when the time was right, He made you. You have always mattered to Him; but for some reason, when we go through hard times, we forget how cherished we are by our maker.

Rather than seeing the dark moments of our life as God's loving moments, we reflect on the feelings we're experiencing. But God teaches us through every moment of life, whether good or bad. He may not desire evil things to happen to you, but He sometimes allows this for your growth or to test your sincerity. There are a few times, however, when God does bring difficulties on us to rebuke us for the sake of repentance. This is not God's wrath but, rather, His loving hand gently breaking us. Like a master sculptor, He uses the hard moments of life to chip away the unnecessary pieces of our hearts. But His finished work is beautiful.

In everything He does, God loves you, if you reflect on His love for you rather than on your disdain for something about yourself or someone else, it will edify your heart to speak words that bring healing. Everything God says is spoken in love. There isn't a single word of His that isn't founded on love in one way or another. Even in condemning the evil at judgement, His words are yet spoken in love-love for justice and love for you the person He is setting free from the surrounding evil.

When your struggling with faith or with self-condemnation, you need to remember how the Lord sees you. Satan enjoys tearing us down, nagging us in our thoughts with our failures and things we can't stand about ourselves or others. But if we ignore his destructive words and focus on the Lord and His love for us, God's joy overtakes us instead. Every word begins with the heart. If we allow the love of God to change and shape our heart, our words will follow.

If you are struggling financially, will He let you suffer in need forever? While it may seem like forever, if you are patient with God, He will provide for you in His own timing. But whether you wait patiently or not, He will save you. He Has appointed a day on which your trial will be over.

If you are looking at yourself with a negative self-image, you need to stop being so critical and focus on the Spirit of God. When we look at our own issues, it causes us to reflect on self rather on than the Lord. The only way to experience His Joy is through focusing on Him, then darkness can establish a foothold in our hearts and minds.

If you have the ability to change what you don't like about yourself, then lay it before the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to keep you accountable, that you can continue in confidence. If you ask God for change, He will give it to you. But no matter where you're at in life, and no matter who you are, what you have done, or what you look like, God loves you. He cherishes you, and the only thing He wants to change in you is your heart. So focus on the plan He Has for you. Embrace His purpose, and you will discover how much you are really worth.

God once described that, "No one can take you from Him. You are His child. You are His son and His baby. Heaven and earth will pass away, but His love for you shall never pass away!" This is how God feels about you. You are so precious to Him! You are His beautiful baby. He loves you so much, and nothing will separate you from His love.

While you may see your failings, your shortcomings, and your sin, God sees you as beautiful and altogether precious. He will heal you and cleanse you of all these things. But the real question is : Will you let Him?

Run away from your past and straight into the arms of Jesus. Let it go, and embrace God instead. Then let your words reflect a heart that's wholly sold out to God. If you constantly reflect on God and His love for you, how might that change what you do and what you say? If you reflect on what you hate in yourself, it will damage your heart, and your words will show it.
For Jesus Said,

"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

I  you have a damaged heart, it will be evident through your mouth. So draw near to God, that Jesus can heal your heart. Whether your heart is broken or not, you must grow in Christ, drawing near to God always. Especially, let your heart be conformed to His so you may speak the words of Love and life that Jesus would speak.

Grow in every facet of life. Study your Bible diligently, that the word of God may be on your lips continually. If you want power in your words, then let your mouth speak the word of God and the words of the Spirit. The only way to have the word of God on your tongue is to study it. And the only way to have the words of the Spirit is to listen intently to His voice. As it is written,

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him." Colossians 3:16-17

Before you say anything about yourself or someone else, consider how God views each of us. Become the living example of His love and let your words reflect it.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.
Here Paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.
It is a mine of wealth, a Paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.
It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and will be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


The Kingdom Of God  
Read Matthew 13:10-17
This passage follows the very first parable spoken by Jesus, “The Seed and the Sower,” or “The Parable of the Soils.” The last words Jesus spoke in the parable is, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9) 
After hearing the parable the disciples were surprised that Jesus used this particular teaching method.A parable was usually a short simple story that placed one thing beside something else for the sake of comparison. Therefore, figurative sayings, similes, and metaphors were all considered parables. 
In his book, “Interpreting The Parables,” A. M. Hunter defined a parable as “a comparison drawn from nature or daily life and designed to illuminate some spiritual truth.”
 After Jesus had told this parable, He answered the disciples question as to why He was teaching in this particular manner or way, and in so doing relates a misunderstanding about the Kingdom of God that many people have.
People today think of Christianity and our teaching of the Scriptures and using biblical terminology as ancient and outmoded seeing how we’re living in the 21st century with all of its scientific advantages and philosophies, as compared to those who lived in the 1st century and their unsophisticated world. 
Further they have a problem with miracles and the supernatural because science hasn’t been able to explain the power of faith and belief. Their point is that as long as we continue to give the gospel message with all this biblical baggage, as they call it, attached, then it’s all just old religion, and it isn’t applicable for our day.
They basically say that we have to get back to the simplicity of what Jesus taught, and that we have to leave behind theology, biblical terminology, and all these outdated ideas that led to the Reformation. And what even sadder is that many within the church, and a lot of the teaching that comes from the pulpit, seem to agree with this assessment.
 They have made their messages seeker friendly, so much so that people confuse church services with motivational talks. They have also done away with words like sin, Satan, and hell, along with their doctrines. 
And the really incredible part is that the words Jesus spoke concerning parables in our text directly refute that position.
So let’s take a look at what Jesus said about the Kingdom of God. 
                          1.It’s A Mystery
 “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:11 NKJV
Wow, talk about being seeker unfriendly. “I speak in parables so they don’t get it,” Jesus was saying. People today say that the whole idea that Christian truth being something that is simple if we just get all these words and old fashioned ideas like Jesus’ miracles, absolute truth, and when we get out of the way that Jesus is the only way, then everything will be fine, but this is totally against what Jesus was saying.
The Apostle Paul said,
 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV) 
The New Living Translations says, “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” 
The misunderstanding comes from a misperception that unconverted people by nature and reason can understand God’s word, follow what it says, and put it into practice.
 But Jesus said, no way. The reason He spoke in parables is because the Kingdom of God is a mystery, that is, it’s totally and completely unlike anything humanity has ever heard, or even imagined. And until they’re born again, until they’re minds are spiritually renewed and have the Holy Spirit living inside, they never will.
The word Jesus uses is “mystery.” The message concerning the Kingdom of God is neither obvious nor is it simple. This is seen in that the disciples didn’t know what He was talking about in His parable. 
Jesus actually told them of the necessity of His leaving, and that was to send the Holy Spirit who would then be their guide into God’s truth. 
It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you … when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:7, 13a)
Yet, prior to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and accession, the disciples were like all the others, they didn’t get it. When Jesus spoke of His upcoming death and resurrection, Peter basically said it should never take place. Peter didn’t understand things from God’s perspective or point of view.
 Here Peter and the rest of the disciples who had been with Him day and night for three years still didn’t get it, and they were downcast and rejected even though Jesus told them up front what was going to happen and why.
The Religious leader Nicodemus didn’t get it either, even with all his religious training. When Jesus said that to enter the Kingdom of God a person must be born again, Nicodemus didn’t understand and questioned how someone could go back into their mother’s womb. 
Jesus said, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (John 3:10 NKJV) Jesus went on to tell Him why, because they are only spiritually discerned, and He wasn’t.
 Paul said that this mystery is the hidden wisdom of God.
 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7 NKJV
Paul didn’t speak just any words, but words of wisdom, but not the wisdom of man, but the wisdom of God that had been hidden in times past. 
A mystery is a truth that’s been hidden and has to be revealed in order to be understood. It’s a truth supernaturally revealed through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. In other words, our own natural abilities and understanding cannot fathom it, so it must be divinely revealed through the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth as Jesus promised. 
Another reason Jesus spoke in parables is that if He had spoken directly, had He told them exactly who He was and why He had come, they would have tried to kill and silence Him, which is just what they tried to do after He did tell them. 
          •In Nazareth Jesus spoke directly from the prophet Isaiah and told them that the Scriptures  had   been fulfilled and how a prophet is never accepted in his own country. They immediately picked up stones and tried to kill Him. 
           •And at the end of His ministry, when on trial He spoke plainly and those who heard             Him cried out for Him to be crucified.
 And so the message concerning the Kingdom of God is not something that is obvious, but it is a mystery, and needs to be divinely revealed through the Holy Spirit.
 To the churches in Revelation Jesus said, “Let those who have ears hear what the Spirit is saying.”
 Next Jesus tells us those things that are hindering our understanding. 
  2.Hindrances to Understanding the Mystery 
Most think the main hindrances to understanding the mystery of Gods’ Kingdom is terminology; that we need new and more modern terminology, and get away from all that doctrinal stuff. Others think we should leave biblical theology behind and just teach biblical morals. 
But are these really hindrances? According to Jesus, they’re not. So what is?
                         1.Pride of Intellect
 “I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13 NKJV) 
The trouble with the Scribes and Pharisees is that they were thought to be the men who knew God. They knew the law and their interpretation of it. That’s’ why they got nothing out of Jesus’ teachings. It was a confidence in their own knowledge and in their own ability and capability.
 In Jesus’ prayer He said, 
I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.” (Matthew 11:25 NKJV)
 It was the know-it-alls, the intellectuals, the religious who rejected Him, not the everyday man and woman on the street.
 Paul said,
 “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Corinthians 1:26 NKJV)
 The reason that Paul mentions this is because no one can boast in God’s presence. (1 Corinthians 1:29)
 Intellectual pride is a great obstacle to belief in the gospel message and to an understanding of the Kingdom of God.
 “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15 NKJV)
 Their hearts were hardened. It’s not that the terminology is wrong, it’s outright prejudice against the gospel, against the Bible, against God and the idea that He rules and reigns over people’s lives.
 Notice they deliberately shut their ears and eyes. They’ve dismissed the gospel of Jesus Christ without ever hearing it or reading the Bible. 
Today people dismiss the case for Christ, dismiss the gospel message without ever giving it a fair hearing, because they are prejudiced. People don’t come with an open mind, but rather they believe they are being intellectual to deny Christianity. 
                    3.A Calloused Heart 
For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (Matthew 13:15a NIV
There is an interesting translation of this word “calloused” when John Wycliffe translated the Greek into Latin. He said that their hearts were “en fattened.” The picture is of a heart that has too much fat around it where it cannot work properly.
 In Jesus’ explanation of this first parable he likened the seed that fell among the thorns as those who heard the message but had it choked off by the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.
 They are filled with everything of the world, they were enfattened, and they haven’t got a clue as to what the gospel is saying, nor they cannot listen for long, or they can only listen in short sound bites. 
     3.The Mystery is God’s Plan of Salvation
 Let’s take a look now at the second part of Matthew 13:15 
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15b NKJV
The mystery is that God, before the foundation of the world had His salvation already planned out. The message of the Bible is God’s plan of salvation, or God’s great purpose for our redemption. The Old Testament is not so much a history of the Jews as it is the history of God bringing into purpose His great plan of salvation.
 To remedy the problem of sin, God set up the law in order to set up His Son to make a way for humanity to get back into His presence through the sacrifice Jesus would make upon the cross so our sins can be forgiven.
 And this was not just for a chosen few, but for everyone through belief in Jesus Christ. 
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 NKJV
Jesus, in our text said that the mystery that was unknown for the most part throughout the ages has been made clear in and through Him.
 “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:16-17 NKJV)
 In essence Jesus said, “I am the mystery. I am the one who brings in the Kingdom.”
 Paul confirms this saying,
 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)
 The mystery of salvation is Jesus coming into this world to save, heal, and deliver us from our captivity to sin and death, and He did it in a manner that the world ridicules, He did it by dying upon the cross.
 Paul said, 
We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NKJV)
 On the cross Jesus made the way for humanity’s salvation to come, which is at the heart of the very first parable in how God’s kingdom is growing like a seed, and new life is produced blessing those who receive it. 
Those blessings are forgiveness, adoption, salvation, and His abiding presence just to name a few.
 One last principle given in what Jesus said about this mystery is 
            4.Mystery Becomes a Judgment 
For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:12 NKJV)
 The teaching concerning the mystery divides the whole of humanity into two groups, the haves and the have-nots.
 When the gospel is heard, when the mystery is revealed, it brings judgment: to those who believe, everlasting life and heaven, but to those who don’t, everlasting condemnation and hell.
 The wise and the knowledgeable that look upon the gospel with distain, what they have will be taken away, and on the Day of Judgment will find that they have nothing left but an eternity in hell. 
What value is all our scientific knowledge? Does it tell us anything about the human soul, or how to avoid sin? Does it help when things go wrong or when a loved one dies?
 And so the mystery of the Kingdom of God is that Jesus Christ came, died upon the cross, and rose from the dead on the third day, and all who believe in Him shall be saved
Living Waters​ -Fellowship-