THE RIGHT AGE???

June 19, 2019

thinking over feeling

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (2 Tim. 2:15).

There is an entirely baseless sentiment abroad which assumes that every teaching of the Lord Jesus must be binding upon the believer during this age simply because He said it. The fact is forgotton that He, while living under, keeping, and applying the Law of Moses, also taught the principles of His future earthly kingdom, and, at the end of His ministry and in relation to His Cross, He also anticipated the teachings of grace. If this threefold division of His teachings is not recognized and maintained, there can be nothing but confusion of mind and consequent contradiction of truth.

 Because the thing is in the Bible does not warrant the conclusion that it is God’s will for the Christian. We must seek rightly to divide the Word of truth. What was formerly right for the Jews is for us nothing but the elements of the world. These forms pointed to a reality that is now come; the Body is of Christ. The blessed position of a Christian is, that he has died even to the best things of the world, religious and otherwise, and he is alive to the highest things in the presence of the Father; for the Lord Jesus Christ is his life, in whom he is hidden (Col. 3:3).

 The Gospels are complex almost beyond any other portion of Scripture, since they are a composite of the teachings of the law, of grace, and of the coming kingdom. (Operative word ‘coming’ kingdom) it is unfortunate especially in Pentecostal circles, that kingdom principles are taught above almost everything else. Yet we need to remember that the kingdom was offered to the Jews and they rejected it. Therefore the Kingdom will not be offered again until the 2nd coming of Christ.

  “We realize our privileges and possessions in the Lord Jesus by faith; we enjoy them by the Spirit.”

  “Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Daniel, 5 years old and battling Leukemia. I met his grandparents today as they were on their way to John Hopkins Hospital. Daniel is receiving radiation treatments everyday. And the number of chemo treatments he has been through is staggering. Yet, his grandparents can only speak about how resilient he is and brave. Be in prayer please for this family who is going through so much.

THE MIND OF GOD

June 18, 2019

D.L. MOODY, THAT GREAT PREACHER OF LONG AGO ONCE WROTE; “I felt I had the Lord’s mind for the message.

MANY GREAT PURITANS FELT THAT IF YOU WERE NOT READING THE BIBLE LOOKING FOR CHRIST, AND DOING SO PRAYERFULLY, ONE WOULD FIND NOTHING.

IT WOULD BE A TOME, AND NOT A BRIEF DEVOTION, IF ONE WERE TO ATTEMPT TO ELUCIDATE ON KNOWING THE MIND OF GOD. SO LET’S SEE WHAT WE CAN EXAMINE IN A BRIEF SPOT, AND A SHORT TIME.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:16 For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ

LIKE DR. MOODY ARE WE COMFORTABLE ENOUGH WITH SCRIPTURES AND OUR PRAYER LIFE TO SAY WE UNDERSTAND GOD, SCRIPTURES SAYS WE CAN.

WE HAVE DONE A GRAVE INJUSTICE TO THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO AS A PART OF THE TRINITY, IS TO LEAD US INTO ALL THINGS ABOUT GOD. BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS GOTTEN A BAD RAP, BECAUSE OF PENTECOSTALS, CHARISMATICS AND OTHER ‘FULL GOSPEL’ LUNATICS. THE ROLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES IS USUALLY ONE OF EXTREMES; WE EITHER PAY TO MUCH ATTENTION TO HIM OR NOT ENOUGH.

YET WE ARE TO TRUST HIM AS HE IS THE ONE GIVEN TO US TO LEAD, GUIDE, FILL, AND BLESS. One of those purposes for the indwelling of the Spirit is so He can search what is going on inside of us, take our needs to the Father, and then bring back to us the answer to what our Father’s will is about this specific situation

AND SO THEN WE WOULD HAVE THE MIND OF GOD. SEEMS EASY DOESN’T IT?

The Holy Spirit is that part of the trinity who has the ability to see into all the dark places of our lives! And since he also is the only one who knows what our heavenly Father’s will is in all situations, he can help us make sense out of life by communicating to us what God wants us to do. That is why frequent bible reading and bible memorization is so important. Since the bible is God’s letter to us, the Holy Spirit uses the bible to lead us into God’s will. What if someone told you that you can only enjoy heaven based on how much scripture you know? Well, thankfully that’s not the case but for a moment there I had you worried.

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

New International Version (NIV)

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[a] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[b]

But we have the mind of Christ.

WELL I PROMISED BRIEF SO I HAVE TO STOP, BUT PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS, YOU CAN KNOW THE MIND OF GOD.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Pray for Brent W, a pastor that just confessed to his church a serious problem that he has. He is in counseling with his wife and the church is doing all to help him.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain, depression and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

For Caliste and Stephanie, pray for peace and no fear in their lives.

Salvation for Cristina B, and her husband Oscar, who has been dabbling in witchcraft.

Salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Larry R, Elena’s daughter Yolanda.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Remember baby Eli, weight gain and good health.

ANOINTED TO PREACH

June 17, 2019

silhouette and grayscale photography of man standing under the rain

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

THANKS TO STEVE H, FOR GIVING ME THE TOPIC FOR TODAY’S DEVOTION.

We need to ensure that we maintain biblical balance concerning the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for any preacher to be effective, fruitful, or balanced in his ministry without acknowledging, and giving place to, the lordship, leading, illumination, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can transform all your preparation (study of the text, outline of your sermon etc.) into a message from God that is accompanied by the power of God. You may rightly divide the word of truth; you may correctly study and analyze the text (the subject, structure, and substance of a text) and you may preach what you have prepared logically and flawlessly, but only God through the Holy Spirit can give your sermon the power to effect a spiritual transformation in someone’s life.

This is sometimes called the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit, or the “unction” of the Spirit, or the “empowerment” of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to enable us to conduct thorough, scholarly study of the text in preparation for preaching, and we must also seek the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit to use the message to accomplish His work.

So, what is anointed preaching? What does it mean to preach with “unction”? How does a preacher obtain this empowerment of the Spirit?

First, let’s look at a definition of the term itself. “Unction” is an old fashioned word that is synonymous with “anointing.” For the purposes of this article, we will refer to “anointing” as the special empowerment of the Holy Spirit on the preacher. This is not the general empowerment of the Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life. This is the preacher’s access to special power for preaching through the Holy Spirit such that what we preach has supernatural consequences. Or, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts it: “It is God-given power … that lifts it (what we preach) up beyond the efforts and endeavours of man to a position in which the preacher is being used by the Spirit and becomes the channel through whom the Spirit works.” 3 E.M. Bounds puts it this way: “(Divine unction) supports and impregnates revealed truth with all the energy of God. Unction is simply putting God in His own Word and on His own preacher.” 4

Now, let’s look at some key biblical references. Luke 4:18-19, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Here, Jesus is in the synagogue reading from Isa. 61:1-2. In what sense does Jesus mean that the Spirit of the Lord had “anointed” him?

There was no evidence of any particular bodily change in him, no change in his manner of speaking, nor any sort of spiritual experience. It appears to have been a normal reading of Scripture. The only difference from any other Scripture reading in the synagogue was his characterization of the text as prophetic of his ministry, and the claim that the prophecy was that day fulfilled.

In the way Luke has constructed his narrative, however, it becomes apparent that this event (Lk. 4:18-19) is directly connected to the infancy narrative (Lk. 1:35) and the baptism (Lk. 3:21-22), all three of which are designed to emphasize that Jesus is the anointed Son of God – the One sent by God, the One set aside by God, the One empowered by God to proclaim (and, indeed, to inaugurate) his kingdom. 5

This seems to be, then, the nature of Jesus’ anointing here – namely, the affirmation of Jesus as the one whom God has specially set apart for the task of preaching the good news and specially empowered for his ministry. What is most striking about this is that even the Lord Jesus himself received special anointing from the Holy Spirit to carry out his earthly mission.

Luke 24:49, “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Here the disciples, who had followed the Lord for three years (they had heard him preach, learned his teaching, imbibed his commands, witnessed his miracles, observed his death and burial, and seen him after his resurrection) are now promised that they will be “endued” (invested) with power by the Holy Spirit, which, of course, took place at Pentecost as Acts 2:4 records: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

You would not think that men such as this would need any special empowerment for their ministry. They didn’t need any additional knowledge or conviction of the truth about Jesus. What they needed was the power and ability to carry out their ministry and mission (the extension of Jesus’ ministry) now that Jesus had gone. And this is what they were endued with in Acts 2 – a special power from the Holy Spirit specifically to enable their witness and work to have supernatural effect.

The effect of this special empowerment is astounding. Peter, who had previously denied the Lord with oaths and curses, is now able to preach with boldness and authority such that 3000 people are converted in one day.

Acts 4:7-8, “And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…’”. Clearly, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost. So, why did he need to be filled again? Because the filling of the Spirit is a repeated process by which the Spirit empowers God’s servants to accomplish specific ministry. Once again he received a fresh supply of the Spirit of God that filled him for the particular task on hand here in this chapter – namely, his trial for healing the lame man in ch. 3. There are many more references to this same phenomena in Acts (e.g. Acts 4:31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), but these will suffice for our purposes.

1 Cor. 2:1-5, 1 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

This is Paul’s self-testimony concerning the manner of his preaching and teaching which shows us that spiritually powerful preaching is not accompanied with outward evidences and inward subjective experiences of some sort of mystical power. Indeed, neither the content of Paul’s message nor the manner of his preaching were designed, at least at a human level, to be manifestations of power.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for salvation for Mona R, Barbara D, Norma Perales, her husband Rick  and her adult son Rick Jr. also Bonnie W, Sherri Jones, Cristina B and Gena G.

Healing for Caliste Burt and Stephanie Taylor. Inoperable brain tumors.

Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain

Eli, Olivia and Tim’s baby, he needs to put on weight.

Staci C, salvation, and the marriage she has just put on the rocks.

accessory blur close up cloth

Photo by Mat Brown on Pexels.com

I have counseled with many women who profess to be Christians, but they are engaged to be married to unbelievers. I always ask, “Do you want God’s blessing on your marriage?” They always say, “Yes.” I’ve never had one say no. I show them in God’s Word that He commands us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This creates a trial for the young woman! She wants to marry this nice (they’re all “nice”!) unbelieving man, but God’s Word says, “Don’t do it.” Not only would it be very difficult to break up with him, it would also mean being single with no prospect for marriage in sight. That’s a trial! The test is, “Will she obey God, or choose her own selfish ways?”

One woman told me that she had prayed about marrying her unbelieving fiancé, and she “had a peace about it.” I told her that she had sinned by praying about this situation, because God has clearly revealed His will about marrying unbelievers. She didn’t want to know God’s will; she only wanted to do her will. So if we want God’s wisdom in any decision or in any trial, we must be fully committed to obey Him and His Holy Word.

I’ve never quite figured out why this is more of a problem for women than it is men.  Maybe it’s their biological clock ticking. What I see in men is ‘missionary’ dating. We’ll just date for a longer time and pray she gets saved before we get to the altar.

Or my all-time favorite, we can’t have sex (mister) until you accept Jesus. Talk about quick trip to an altar call. So the conversation goes like this; “well last night I accepted Jesus as my Savior, will you have sex with me now?” followed shortly by a pregnancy because we can’t’ use condoms because that would mean we planned on having sex and that would be wrong, versus “it just happened”. (of course, the brushing teeth and shaving the legs and taking a shower and putting on deodorant and cologne or perfume was planned either ‘it just happened’).

Folks, it’s pretty simple; ‘all the bible all the time’ you can’t pick and choose what parts you will follow and which you will ignore.

Yes, that right folks, God still expects us to be sexually pure, before marriage and after the marriage. It’s not old fashion it’s the bible.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember emails, prayer requests, questions or comments to the email address.

WISDOM FROM ABOVE

June 15, 2019

silhouette and grayscale photography of man standing under the rain

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

To ask God for wisdom implies that He can deliver. The Bible plainly states, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). It warns, “There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). In other words, if worldly “wisdom” contradicts or goes against God, it is false “wisdom.” Only God’s wisdom stands.

Paul contrasted the so-called wisdom of this world with God’s wisdom as seen in the cross of Christ (1 Cor. 1:18-30). He sarcastically asks (1:20-21), “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

The point is, if you have not come as a sinner to the cross of Christ to obtain God’s mercy through faith, you do not know God and thus you cannot obtain the wisdom that comes only from Him. But, how does God impart the wisdom that we need?

God’s wisdom comes directly from God and is revealed in His Word. It especially centers in the knowledge of Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3; see also, Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16-17). God reveals His wisdom by the Holy Spirit to those who are spiritual (1 Cor. 2:6-16). That wisdom has to do with knowing how to apply biblical truth to particular situations in life. Thus if you are not spending consistent time learning God’s Word, you will not have the wisdom that you need when trials hit. The time to seek wisdom from God is before the calamity hits (Prov. 1:20-33).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Bill Warneke, chronic depression and neck pain.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement and strength.

Patty R, married 8 times. She is staying married this time because she thinks her looks are failing and couldn’t “catch” the big fish. (PS, needs salvation)

Jeremy L, several years ago lost his wife and baby to a drunk driver. To his family’s chagrin he’s dating the woman that killed them. Says it’s part of the healing process.

Pray for Eli, Olivia and Tim’s little baby boy, he needs to gain more weight.

Caliste and Stephanie, faith and no fear, as they manage their lives with inoperable brain tumors.

Remember our salvation list.

STRAIGHT FROM ABOVE

June 13, 2019

clouds

Photo by Emma Trewin on Pexels.com

James the Apostle knew that it’s relatively easy to live as a Christian when things are calm. But it’s a much more difficult prospect when the storms of life hit with full force. At such times, it’s easy to get off course or even to make shipwreck of your faith. His readers were facing various difficult trials. They were dispersed abroad (1:1), mostly due to persecution. They had suffered the loss of their homes and possessions. Many were not able to escape persecution even in the places to which they had fled. James wanted them to know how to navigate through these trials so that they could not only endure, but joyfully endure (1:2).

“Consider it all joy” (1:2). We can do this if we understand a reassuring truth, “that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (1:3). But it is necessary to submit to the refining process: “let endurance have its perfect result” (1:4). But there is a further ingredient that we need to endure trials joyfully so as to bring glory to God, namely, God’s wisdom. So James tells us how to obtain wisdom from God:

When James says, “If any of you lack wisdom,” he is not suggesting that some have it together so well that they have no need of wisdom. The Greek conditional sentence implies that we all lack wisdom when we face difficult trials. But, we don’t always see our need for God’s wisdom. Thus,

  1. To obtain wisdom to endure trials joyfully, see your need.

We need to be clear about the terms that James uses here:

  1. JAMES IS TALKING ABOUT GOD’S WISDOM THAT ENABLES US TO ENDURE TRIALS JOYFULLY.

When you study the Bible, it is crucial to study the text in its context, and also to understand how the words are used in Scripture. In the context of James 1, wisdom refers to the wisdom that we need to endure trials with God’s joy, so that we will be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:4). James realizes that in a time of trials, God’s people often do lack His wisdom on how to endure those trials with joy. Thus he adds verses 5-8. Of course, we can ask God for wisdom in any matter in life that we face, but in the context here, it is focused on asking God for the wisdom that we need to endure trials joyfully.

Enduring trials with joy goes against our natural inclination. When trials hit, we’re all prone to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” But that is usually the wrong question. Sometimes, God graciously reveals to us the reason for our suffering, but not always. Often the answer to why we suffer must wait until we’re in heaven. The important questions to ask when a trial hits are, “How can I understand this trial from God’s perspective? How can I navigate through this storm in such a way as to bring glory to God? How can this trial help me grow in maturity?”

Pastor Warren Wiersbe (Be Mature [Victor Books], p. 29) tells about a secretary of his who was going through difficult trials. She had had a stroke, her husband had gone blind, and then he had to be taken to the hospital where, as far as they knew, he would die. Wiersbe saw this woman in church one Sunday and assured her that he was praying for her.

She startled him by asking, “What are you asking God to do?” He replied, “I’m asking God to help you and strengthen you.”

“I appreciate that,” she said, “but pray about one more thing. Pray that I’ll have the wisdom not to waste all of this!” Wiersbe observed, “She knew the meaning of James 1:5.”

It also helps to understand the meaning of the Old Testament word for wisdom (my sources here include, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament [Moody Press], ed. by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, 1:282-284; and New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology [Zondervan], ed. by Colin Brown, 3:1026-1029). James is steeped in the Old Testament. The main idea of Old Testament wisdom is that of skill. It includes the skill of workers who made garments for the high priest and who were able to work with metal, stone and wood (Exod. 28:3; 31:3-5; 36:1-2). It also extends to those who are able to execute a battle plan (Isa. 10:13), lead in government (Deut. 34:9), and shrewdly assess a difficult situation and persuade others to take necessary action (2 Sam. 20:22). It refers to those who speak prudently (Ps. 37:30) and use their time carefully (Ps. 90:12).

Rather than just theoretical understanding, biblical wisdom focuses on practical living in obedience to God’s revealed will. The fool in Proverbs is not the man who is mentally deficient, but rather the man who is morally deficient. He ignores God’s commandments and lives according to human wisdom. The wise man lives in obedience to God. Thus he skillfully puts together a life that is beautiful from God’s perspective. Thus the Bible affirms (Job 28:28), “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (see also, Ps. 111:10)

So, by wisdom, James is talking about the skill that enables us to live obediently before God in the midst of trials. The result will be a truly beautiful life that glorifies God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for our salvation list.

Remember Bill Warneke in prayer, chronic depression, neck pain and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement and strength.

Pray for Debbie G, battling breast cancer (4th time).

Stacey Keebs, welcome to America.

Remember Paul K, pastor, spot on his lung and cysts on his pancreas.

Olivia and Tim’s baby boy Eli- strength, growth, wellness, weight gain.

Yolanda V, her mom was hit by a scooter, downtown, you know those things that you rent in the city. The person never stopped, then his compadre, ran over her hand. They were both clotheslined about 10 seconds later by 2 attorneys. So yes hell has frozen over.

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD

June 10, 2019

thinking over feeling

  “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22).

  The darkness of this place will in time turn us to the light of His face—”the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

 When the believer has a real understanding that he belongs to that new place in glory, the Holy Spirit delights his heart with the things of that place. ‘Set your affection on things above.’ I used to pity those who are alone in the world. I pity no one now who has a room where he can find himself isolated from everyone, to be with the Lord Jesus where He is; where he can have his spirit renewed, to come out and face all the roughness here.

  “May the Lord lead us into the shelter of His holy presence, that we may daily grow in the elevation to which He has raised us, and consequently into moral distance from the old man which is so entirely estranged from the light and perfection of the Father’s presence.”

  “If I am risen with the Lord Jesus, I must occupy myself with Him where He is, or I shall fall back to the things out of which He has risen; and the very fact that I am in the scene where He is not makes it the more necessary that I should be fellowshipping with Him where He is.”

 We are conversant with man in death and sin and distance from the Father, for that is our state by nature; but to know the Man in glory, One in acceptance with the Father according to all His moral greatness, is new to us and magnificent. And according as we know Him there we become not only superior to, but distanced from, our own state with which we are associated.

  “For. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement

Little baby Eli, not quite 2 months old, pray he continues to put on weight and is healthy.

Pray for Bill Warneke, chronic depression, severe neck pain, the beginnings of Parkinson’s

Remember our salvation list.

Pray for Caliste and Stephanie, only divine healing and intervention by God is going to ‘fix’ everything.

Have you ever sat in church, listening to the soaring music or the impressive sermon, and your thoughts were all turned inward?

 

Here I am in church, 200 people, 4 friends, God how could I be so alone?

 

Thoughts like: No one here cares that I am hurting desperately. When I first was widowed or divorced or when this illness first was diagnosed, or when my child became a problem, people prayed for me, called me on the phone, visited me, sent me notes. But now that time has passed and everyone is used to me, I guess they expect that I do not need anyone, that I am coping with my problem and that I not really hurting anymore. Maybe they even think that if I were really depending on the Lord, I would be able to handle my situation without any difficulty. But I am in pain and I do not think anyone cares. I sometimes wonder if even God cares!

 

There was a woman in the synagogue one Sabbath morning when Jesus was teaching there that might have been feeling just like that.

 

Luke 13:10-11

Think about her a little. She was probably middle-aged. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. She had been crippled like this for 18 years! Can you imagine what her life was like? She could not stand at all, could not sit comfortably, could not lie down except on her side. Walking was difficult. Eating could not have been pleasant. Her appearance was pitiful, her face etched with pain. But what had caused her illness? She was crippled by a spirit? This was not a form of arthritis. This was a Satanic attack that affected her body. But do not you think that she also suffered emotionally and spiritually as well? She must have often felt discouraged, depressed, and even abandoned by God. Yet she still worshipped, she still was there in the synagogue on the Sabbath. She still listened to Gods Word. She still had faith. I have to give her credit for just being there.

 

It is interesting that her condition was caused by a demon. There are many different symptoms mentioned in the Bible that were caused by demon activity: Matthew 9:32-33, dumbness; Matthew 12:22, blindness; Matthew 17:14-18, seizures; Luke 4:33, 8:26, mental disorders, insanity, and abnormal strength. This of course does NOT mean that these conditions are ALWAYS demonic in source. But the Bible clearly says that this condition was. This should teach us that Satan is a real and very busy enemy. Over and over it is recorded that Jesus cast out demons of all kinds. He came to defeat Satan and to make him powerless against believers, and he clearly demonstrated his ability to do this while here on earth. We have to realize that His power and authority over the spirit world has not diminished one iota.

 

Ephesians 1:19b and 21

That is why we can have confidence that Jesus will protect us. He has authority over everything in heaven and earth. But we must be alert and armored, because Satan does not play fair or come out in the open. He masquerades, sets traps, hides behind fun games, self, development philosophies, even religion. He actively works to fragment our families, to destroy relationships, to cultivate selfishness and independence from God, to make us doubt God’s Word and distrust God’s character.

 

Peter warns us of that: 1 Peter 5:8. Likewise, Paul tells us about our armor—our protection— in Ephesians 6:10-14.

 

This woman had been the target of demonic attack for 18 years, but it had not destroyed her faith. She was still worshipping God on the Sabbath. As she stood there, bent over, with her head lifted as far as she could, listening to Jesus, and looking at Him, suddenly he noticed

 

Luke 13:12-13

He stopped in the middle of His teaching, pointed to her and called to her to come forward. She shuffled up to Him, surely wondering what He wanted her for. Then He spoke: “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”

 

He spoke these few words, He touched her and she straightened up instantly. She was totally healed and she immediately praised God. Did you notice the word Jesus used? He did not say healed. He used a word that is translated in other places, “loosed, put away, let go, set at liberty and released.” She had been bound by Satan and Jesus set her free.

 

Can you not imagine the joy she felt and the excitement that ran through the spectators as they realized what had happened? The noise level must have risen as the people turned to each other in their enthusiasm. Suddenly a stern cold voice broke through the furor.

 

Luke 13:14

The chairman of the board of elders was very displeased and scolded the people. I think he was just a little afraid of openly attacking Jesus directly after such a display of supernatural power. God had made the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week, our Saturday, a holy day, set apart to worship Him. There were 3 major reasons given for Israel to keep the Sabbath.

 

Exodus 20:8-11 (10 Commandments)— It followed God’s example of doing the work of creation in 6 days and resting on the seventh.

 

Deuteronomy 5:12-15— It commemorated their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Egypt— where they never had a day off and could not worship their own God. God gave them the Sabbath to show them that they were a free people, free to rest from their labor and free to worship their God.

 

Exodus 31:13— It was a sign of the covenant given from Sinai between God and Israel. God had given them a day off a week for worship, joy, freedom and rest. 1500 years later it had evolved, by the addition of hundreds of restrictions, into a legalistic bondage that was more concerned with external behavior than with human need. The religious leaders watched Jesus like a hawk because He was always violating their manmade rules about the Sabbath. They had had several sharp confrontations with Him and had always come out the losers. In one incident when He healed a man with a withered arm, He reminded them that they would rescue a sheep who had fallen into a pit and a man was more valuable. Then He said: “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:11-12, NIV)

 

Another time He reminded them that, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27, NIV)

 

God gave the day of rest because people need time to relax, regroup, change their routine, worship and serve God without the pressure of other responsibilities.

 

Jesus claimed authority over even the interpretation and observation of the Sabbath. Why not? Was not He the One who had established it in the first place? His restoration of the true spirit of the Sabbath had enraged these men so much that they plotted to kill Him because of it. (Mark 3:6)

 

Now here He was doing it again! The ruler had rebuked Jesus by scolding the people and Jesus answered him. He is a wonderful Defender. Have you ever been unjustly accused or misunderstood and the only thing you could do was to say to Him, Lord, You must be my Defender. You must reveal the truth. There is nothing I can do but trust You. HYPOCRITES! (Originally, a “hypocrite” was an actor who wore masks in amphitheatre plays.) They pretended to be zealous for God, to be righteous. But they were not interested in what God could do in their lives. Their hearts were cold in the face of human need. They had more compassion on their oxen and donkeys than on this poor woman. They released their animals so they could drink but objected when Jesus released this woman, a Jewess, from the bondage of the enemy on the day that commemorated their freedom from bondage. How wrong these men were! They claimed to represent God, but they were completely the opposite. Jesus revealed the true heart of God. Jesus exposed their hypocrisy by His true revelation of the invisible God. He hated their pretense and they hated Him for exposing it.

 

Earlier in Luke He gave a stinging analysis of the Pharisees and experts in the law where He accused them of being only concerned with being externally clean, but inwardly they were full of wickedness. He accused them of injustice and pride. Then He said,

 

“Woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. …you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering. (Luke 11:46-53, NIV)

 

Do not you have to wonder what He must think of the greed, lust, and crimes that have been done and are being done in His name today? He still hates hypocrisy. Yet closer to home. Do we make a distinction between what the Bible actually says and what other people say it means? Do we make our application as binding as God’s? That is how legalism flourishes. Always check to see if our applications are consistent and Biblical. When we have a lot of rules about what we can or cannot do in order to make little loopholes that violates the very spirit of God. The religious rulers did that. For instance, they had a rule that you could not journey farther from home than 3000 feet (1/2 mile) on the Sabbath. So the day before, they would go ahead and deposit some food by a stone a half-mile away. That would then become their home temporarily and they could go another half mile, where they had deposited another sandwich, so they could travel another half mile. In this way they found ways around God’s law about the Sabbath, and violated the spirit of this holy day. This is just one example. They had 60 columns of regulations about the Sabbath.

 

Maybe you are wondering at this point if we should keep the Sabbath today. The Sabbath was given to Israel. It is the ONLY ONE of the Ten Commandments that is NOT repeated in the New Testament. The disciples and the early church worshiped on Sunday, the first day of the week to commemorate the Lord’s resurrection. Sunday is the Lord’s day.

 

We do not have rules about it in the New Testament. But we do know what they did on the Lord’s Day. They met together, studied God’s word, prayed, celebrated communion, and gave their offerings. Surely the Lord’s Day should have some special meaning for us. It should be a day of worship, learning God’s Word, service, praise and thanksgiving, giving our offerings, joy and rest and a time with family and friends. It should be different from the other six days of the week. After all, we have so much more to commemorate than Israel did: the resurrection of our Savior from the dead.

 

Look at the effect Jesus had on the people in the synagogue.

 

Luke 13:17

Can you imagine what His power and His authority meant to the common people who were under the burden of religious oppression as well as political oppression.

 

What Did He Reveal About God?

Jesus revealed the compassionate heart of God in this story. He initiated this woman’s healing.

He demonstrated that God knows everything, the cause and the cure!

He revealed some of God purposes for the Sabbath. It was not a day for misery and bondage, but a day for praise and freedom.

He revealed that God knows the motives of the heart and is not impressed with external behavior that masks unbelief, jealousy, and hatred. GOD HATES HYPOCRISY.

He revealed that God is greater than Satan and has authority over him.

But now I want to go back to verse 12. Woman, you are set free from your infirmity. The word for “infirmity” is translated in other places as “diseases, sickness, weakness.” It means literally, “without strength.” Very few of us are sick all the time, but all of us know what it is to be without strength.

 

We ALL have weaknesses. Do not you have things that fill you with dread when you have to face them? Fear of flying, fear of anything. Do not you have areas where you have consistently failed? Are there not relationships that you just cannot handle, people that rub you the wrong way? Maybe your weakness is a sense of worth that you have let someone else impose on you. Maybe your weakness is a habit you have not been able to break. Maybe your weakness is a disposition that always sees the bad side of everything.

 

Maybe your weakness is a crippling sin that keeps you from going on to maturity in your Christian life. Is it love of money and the things money can buy? Is it a desire to please people more than God? Is it a thought life that you would be ashamed to have projected on a screen for all to see? Is it a selfishness that keeps you from making a commitment to anything that will interfere with your own plans? Is it self-pity, pride, hypocrisy, a violent temper? I have suggested a lot of things to stimulate your thinking, and I may have missed your issue. But you just thought of it, did you not? Jesus came to set us free from our weaknesses. How does He do it?

 

First, we must come to Him for help.

 

Hebrews 4:14-16

We come to one who can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was a human being living on this earth, subject to all the temptations we face and He did not sin. He will give mercy and grace to overcome.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

He may not remove our weakness, because then we would be independent. My weakness is given me to teach me to depend moment by moment on His power. His power is demonstrated where I am powerless. This changes my attitude towards my weakness.

 

Instead of hating myself for failing, I can see this as God’s opportunity to work in my life. God becomes real. Jesus really does live out His life in me. But it is only when I admit my weakness and depend on Him that I will experience His strength.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to say to each of us today, “Woman, you are set free from your weakness.” He calls you to come to Him for freedom and strength. Will you come?

 

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

pray for Tina Miller, young mother, 32, three children, her husband Todd was shot yesterday at an ATM, he survived, shot in the back for 50 dollars, he has a long recovery period. The perp was caught by a legally armed permit holder, as soon as he saw a man with a gun he literally threw his gun on the ground and fell down begging not to be shot. COWARD. Turns out he was only out of prison 6 days. Guess what for? Yep, you guessed it, the exact same thing.

 

Remember Caliste Burt, inoperable brain tumor, pray for divine healing and/or a lack of fear of what could happen.

 

Visited with Stephanie she says thanks for your prayers and asks for continued support. She is a very private person and sharing and asking for help in not really in her wheelhouse.

 

Remember those on our salvation prayer list, Barbara d, Mona R, Norma Perales, husband Rick and her adult son Rick Jr. and pray they are not only saved but delivered from gambling.

 

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

 

Bill Warneke pray he takes his medicine, it would help with 80% of his problems, chronic neck pain, chronic depression and the beginning of Parkinson’s.

 

Pray for Pastor Paul K. health concerns and he’s really sad about seeing his mom 90+ years begin her decline into dementia. Plus he has 2 cysts on his pancreas, not cancer or growing right now and they found spots on his lung.

 

Resurrection-Doubting-Thomas

To all the patient readers, doing this short series on “The Jesus Narrative” has been a personal blessing and for those that have ‘waded’ through thank you, we only have 2 more to go after this devotion and we will return to a shorter format. In this hurry up world it has been hard to find the time to post these and for those that have kept steady I hope this has been a light for you on the precious Son of God.

The Bible has hundreds of references to light and darkness. God’s first recorded words were Let there be light. God is Light. Satan is the prince of darkness. Sin is hidden by darkness and exposed by light. We were born in darkness and born again into light. The contrasts are sharp, unmixed, with no shadows. Light is good, darkness is evil. We must have light to live. Today’s lesson is about two kinds of darkness—physical and spiritual. Of the two the worst is spiritual darkness.

Jesus and His disciples had just celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles which celebrated their years in the wilderness. One of the features of this celebration was the lighting of giant lamps in the women’s court of the temple enclosure. The people sang and danced before the Lord as they remembered that He was their Light in the pillar of cloud and fire all through their wilderness wanderings. During this celebration Jesus had declared the second of His great “I AM” statements.

John 8:12 (NIV) I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

There can be no physical life without the light of the sun, and no spiritual life without JESUS.

This was a claim to be both God and Messiah. The O.T. called both God and Messiah Light. He promised light for all of life to those who believed in Him. But instead of seriously considering Jesus’ claim, the Pharisees challenged and argued with Him for the rest of the Chapter. They were determined to not believe regardless of the evidence.

Their discussion ended with an attempt to stone Him. But Jesus slipped away from them and as He and His disciples went along they saw a blind man sitting there by the side of the road. Blindness is one of the most dreaded afflictions that can happen to a person. And this man had been born blind. He had never seen his parent’s faces, never seen a flower or tree, a river or mountain. Never seen any colors at all. He lived in constant unrelieved darkness. The only thing he could do was beg for a living.

Notice the difference in the way Jesus and His disciples viewed this man.

John 9:2

To the disciples this man was just the trigger for a theological discussion. There was no compassion, no expectation or even a request that Jesus heal him. Jesus had healed blind people before. One of the signs of the Messiah was that He would make the blind see. (Is. 35:5, 42:7) but all they could think of was a question with just two alternatives!

“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (NIV)

There was a popular assumption that some sin before birth was responsible for congenital blindness. This idea came from pagan sources which believed in reincarnation. This man had sinned in another life. Their other suggestion was that this man had reaped the consequences of his parents’ sins. This of course is possible. (Venereal disease, drugs)

We can see from this that the idea that all sickness or affliction is the result of personal sin is not a new idea. We often believe or hear the same thing today. Jesus gave them an answer that can help us today in trying to sort out the reasons for the trials we may be going through.

John 9:3

Jesus did not mean that this man and his parents were sinless, but that the blindness was not a direct consequence of their personal sin. Really said, “This man is blind so that I might come and cure him and God might receive the glory.”

That is pretty heavy stuff. Think of all the years he had suffered in the darkness. For this moment!

Time does not mean to God what it does to us. If you and I could look at the suffering we are going through and say, ALord, you know all about this. You can change this situation immediately if you want to. But if not, all I ask is that my response and the outcome will bring glory to you. Let other people know that it is only Jesus who enables me to endure this day by day. What a difference that would make.

John 9:4-5

Day meant the time He had left on earth to finish the work God sent Him to do. Night was coming. His death and the time He would no longer be in the world. Now was the time for Him to do the miracles that proved He was the Messiah. He had said He was the Light of the world and now He would prove it.

John 9:6-7

Imagine the blind man. He did not know who Jesus was, had never seen him or heard his voice before. Suddenly he felt some wet heavy clay being placed over his eyes. And an authoritative but kind voice said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.”

The pool was a good distance away. Jesus did not even tell him why He was sending him there, gave no promise of healing. Would he do it? The man got up and groped his way there with his eyes covered with mud. When he reached the pool he bent down and splashed water on his face. When he opened his eyes he could see for the first time in his lifeClight, color, beauty and human faces. Can you not see him running home, shouting for joy! But notice the reaction of his neighbors.

John 9:8-12

First they questioned his identity and he had to insist that he really was the blind beggar. Then they were just interested in the mechanics of his healing. There was no sharing his joy in being healed, just one question after another. But all he knew was that a man called Jesus had given him his sight. So they brought him to the Pharisees for further questioning.

John 9:14-16

Talk about missing the point! The only thing some of these Pharisees focused on was that Jesus had violated their Sabbath rules. They had added hundreds of restrictions defining work on the Sabbath. Making clay was forbidden. And healing someone was also forbidden unless their condition was life threatening. But they argued among themselves because some of the others had sense enough to reason that miracles like this could only be from God.

John 9:17

Even though this man was illiterate, he knew something about the Scriptures and he could think for himself. The Old Testament prophets performed miracles, so this man must be a prophet. This made sense to him. Notice the fact that he had not even seen Jesus yet, but his perception of him was gradually increasing. But the Pharisees were relentless in pursuing their investigation.

“Maybe we are dealing with a fraudulent healing here. Let us find out from the man’s parents if this really is their blind son, and no one else has been substituted for him.”

John 9:18-23

Notice the parent’s cautious answer. They knew only three things. Their son had been born blind, he now could see, and he was of age to speak for himself. They really did not know how he had been healed and they did not want to be excommunicated from the synagogue. They knew that was the predetermined penalty for believing that Jesus was the Messiah. This was a kangaroo court. Who would have ever thought that being healed from congenital blindness could cause so much trouble?

John 9:24-25

Put him under oath to tell the truth. “We know this man is a sinner.” (NIV)

But he was not going to be drawn into their argument. He knew one thing, “I was blind, but now I see.” He stuck to his guns. No one could obliterate the evidence or nullify his experience. All the theological discussions in the world could not erase the reality of what had happened to him. There is no argument that can win against a personal experience. That is why we must always share what Jesus Christ has done for us personally with others–not just give cold facts.

John 9:26-27

Now they provoked him to the point that he lost his fear of them and became sarcastic. This illiterate beggar had the nerve to challenge them, the strict keepers of the law, and actually imply that they would want to be Jesus’ disciples!

John 9:28-33

They were the authorities, unused to having their word questioned and here this ignorant nobody dared to stand up against their decision. But the former blind man’s logic was wonderful.

  1. Even they knew that God did not listen to sinners but to the godly.

  1. But no one had ever given sight to a man born blind.

No record in Old Testament of miracle like this.

  1. Therefore this man must be from God.

And you smart people cannot figure that out!

Nobody was going to tell him that this miracle was not from God. He did not care what these influential men with all of their degrees had decided. He was the one who had been blind and now he could see.

Sometimes we have to stand alone against rigid positions people take because of the way they interpret the Bible. We must stand firmly that the only way to God is through faith in Jesus Christ.

I remember when I was about 12 and my mother, sister and I moved to a new apartment. We had a landlady who believed you must worship on Saturday. One day after her efforts to convince us seemed to be getting nowhere, she told me, “You will never go to heaven unless you worship on Saturday.” But I knew she was not right. My mother had shown my sister and me the truth from the Bible and I was able to stand in the truth without doubting.

We must not believe that because something is legal that it is moral (abortion).

We have to help our children in school to realize that they do not have to believe in evolution, just because some scientists with a lot of degrees say that it is the way life came into being. The Bible says God created the world and everything in it.

The Bible says sex before or outside of marriage is wrong even if everyone else says it is OK. Teach them to stand for truth while young.

The Pharisees’ dishonesty, pride and hostility to Jesus were revealed by their response.

John 9:34

How could a person be “steeped in sin” at birth? These experts were sure that his blindness was for personal sin even before he was born. How dare he lecture the righteous! So they excommunicated him. He was cut off from fellowship with the community of his people. This was really serious!

Can you not see him as he started back home. He was mystified, angry and probably a little glum. The day had started with him in his usual place, blind and begging. Now he was penalized because he could see. He was alone. Even his parents had been wishy-washy instead of sharing his joy. Just did not make sense.

This should not surprise us. When we take a firm stand for Jesus Christ the results are not always trouble-free for us. You may not be given a promotion at work. You may be rejected by members of your family. You may lose some old friends. Your children may not be invited to some parties. You may have your good name slandered. Jesus warned that these things would happen.

Matthew 5:11-12

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NIV)

This man had received his physical sight instantly, and his spiritual sight was increasing gradually. He first called Jesus, “a man they call Jesus,A prophet, then a man from God, but He still did not know Him.

Now Jesus took the initiative again to bring him full spiritual sight. For the first time He actually saw Jesus.

John 9:35-38

Son of Man was a title for Messiah to the Jews. Daniel the prophet saw all men and nations worship Him. (Dan. 7:13-14) Jesus asked this man, “Do you personally believe in the Son of Man?”

His response was so open. “Tell me who He is so that I may believe.”

Jesus completely revealed His identity. “You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you.”

“Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him.

He now had both physical and spiritual sight. He had responded to light and was given more light until he could fully see. Rejected by religious leaders. Welcomed by Jesus.

John 9:39-41

This confrontation is explained by

John 3:16-21

What a great illustration this incident was. The blind man received his physical sight through the touch of Jesus. When he received further light he believed on the Lord Jesus as his Messiah and his spiritual eyes were also opened.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, claimed to have spiritual sight, but they rejected Jesus, the Light of the world, as their Messiah, so they were spiritually blind. They condemned themselves and remained in darkness.

God is very patient with ignorance. He gives further light. But He will not tolerate arrogance. They remained guilty before God because they claimed to have light while still in darkness. They claimed to be righteous when they were sinners. They rejected the true Light of the world.

Have you ever noticed how many false religions and self-development courses claim to have light? Light from the eastern religions, light from the mystics, light from within, light from the energy of the universe and on and on. This is because “Satan masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

How many followers would he get at the start if he really exposed himself as the prince of darkness? Do not fall for any of these seductive appeals. Light from any source other than Jesus Christ is darkness. He is the True Light that gives light to every man 1:9.

John 9:5

But He is not physically in the world now. Who is the light of the world now?

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Do you see the responsibility that the Lord has placed on you and me? In our daily lives, at home, at work, at leisure, at hobbies, at church, whatever we do—we are to be light bearers. Christ’s light should shine through our words, attitudes, and actions. There is a distinguishable difference between light and darkness. Have you ever noticed how a very small light can overcome a very great darkness? You do not have to be a famous person reaching thousands to be light to the world. You have an area of influence, a place where others are in darkness, where you can shine as light. That is why we must have this as our goal.

John tells us something more in his first epistle.

1 John 1:5-7

In the days when light was given by oil lamps, the wicks had to be trimmed and the glass kept clean for the light to shine clearly. The same is true of us. What part of your life, your thought, attitudes, actions are in darkness? In God there is no darkness at all. When we hang on to favorite sins, we do not have fellowship with God or with other believers. We may say we do, but we are lying. Our light is not shining brightly. Our Father wants us to be in warm, close fellowship and He has provided for our cleansing from these sins that hurt us. The blood of Jesus Christ keeps on cleansing us from all sin. The Pharisees remained in darkness because they would not confess their blindness, their sin. Let us not let that happen to us.

Is there a particular sin that God has convicted you about? Will you confess and let Him cleanse you? Then as you carefully follow the Lord, you will see the impact you can have on others as His light shines through you to overcome the darkness of the world around you.

What does Jesus reveal about our heavenly Father in this story?

Our Father is omnipotent.

Our Father notices and cares for each individual.

Our Father has a purpose for our lives, even through suffering, that will bring Him glory.

Our Father takes the initiative to give us both physical and spiritual light.

Our Father can act in our behalf without a requestCthat He knows our needs.

Our Father is not limited by wrong human perceptions or bound by man-made rules about what He can or cannot do.

Our Father is patient with ignorance and intolerant of arrogance.

Jesus revealed that those who do not respond to His light condemn themselves to greater darkness.

Have you responded in faith to the Son of God as the only one who can guide you into the light you need for time and eternity?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

pray for Tina Miller, young mother, 32, three children, her husband Todd was shot today at an ATM, he survived, shot in the back for 50 dollars, he has a long recovery period. The perp was caught by a legally armed permit holder, as soon as he saw a man with a gun he literally threw his gun on the ground and fell down begging not to be shot. COWARD. Turns out he was only out of prison 6 days. Guess what for? Yep, you guessed it, the exact same thing.

Visited with Stephanie today, she says thanks for your prayers and asks for continued support. She is a very private person and sharing and asking for help in not really in her wheelhouse.

Remember those on our salvation prayer list.

Pray for Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Bill Warneke, pray he takes his medicine, it would help with 80% of his problems.

Pray for Pastor Paul K. health concerns and he’s really sad about seeing his mom 90+ years begin her decline into dementia.

Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

BEAR WITH ME, WE ARE ALMOST DONE WITH THIS SERIES, WHICH I KNOW EACH POST IS LONG, BUT TRUST ME IT IS WORTH IT TO WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH THIS POST. BLESSINGS!

 

What do people all over the world spend most of their time and energy doing? What are the barest necessities of life? Food, shelter and clothing. We spend most of our waking hours working to obtain these necessities. But of them all, food is the most important. Physical hunger is so consuming that we cannot think of anything else until it is satisfied.

Jesus used the legitimate cravings of the body for food to describe a deeper hunger the hunger of the soul for God and the longing for eternal life. And He demonstrated vividly His ability to satisfy that hunger forever. The disciples had been on the road with Jesus for over 2 years. They had heard His teaching and seen His miracles. He had been training them and now it was time to send them out in teams of two.

Luke 9:1-6

Do you see what He did? He delegated His power to them to do the same miracles he did. But He also sent them out by faith. They were to take nothing for their material needs. They were to trust God to supply their needs through other people day by day.

Can you imagine how excited they were when they returned? They had cast out demons and healed many sick people. And all of their personal needs had been supplied. What an experience!

Mark 6:30-32

Rest and refreshment. Time to be alone with Jesus. Time to relax and shareand be restored. How important that is for all of us. Have you ever had an exciting and productive experience and when it was over, there was a letdown? This is the remedy. Time alone with the One who made you fruitful and gave your life an impact.

Mark 6:33

The people ran around the northern shore of the lake and when the boat landed at Bethsaida, there was a large milling crowd waiting for Jesus. They wanted to see more miracles. This certainly was an interruption in His plans, was not it? How would Jesus react?

Mark 6:34

He welcomed them and had compassion on them. They were like sheep with out a shepherd. That does not mean much to us today, because very few of us have flocks of sheep. But a sheep without a shepherd has a very short life span. On its own a sheep cannot find safe pasture to feed on or still pools of water to drink. It cannot clean itself, defend itself or find its way home. Without a shepherd a sheep is totally helpless and hopeless and in peril for its life.

Jesus had come to be their Shepherd. So He healed their diseases and taught them God’s Word. This was what they needed most.

The hours went by as the crowd listened attentively. But the disciples began to worry about some practical matters. This was a very large crowd, 5000 men plus women and children; over 10,000 people. There were no Krogers or Tom Thumbs, and no Holiday Inns. How could these people be fed and find shelter for the night? They had better tell Jesus to quit preaching and send them home.

Mark 6:35-36

They were right to be concerned, but they had the wrong solution. The answer for anyone’s need is not to send them away from Jesus but to send them to Him. He is the only One who can meet any need we have, physical or spiritual.

But Jesus really surprised them with His answer:

They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat. (Matt. 14:16, NIV)

Who? Us? Surely Jesus did not expect them to buy bread for a crowd like this. Now remember, they had just come back from an extended tour during which all their needs had been supplied as God had motivated others to share with them. Surely they should have considered the supernatural in their equation. But they did not. Are we not like that? We do not remember God’spast provision when faced with a new crisis. Our faith for the new trials we face in the future will remain sturdy if we deliberately remember God’s provision in the past. Each experience should build on the last.

The disciples looked at the impossibilities, not at Jesus’ proven ability. They looked at their own inadequate finances and not at His limitless resources. They looked only to their helplessness and not at His power to work through them. Jesus was giving them the opportunity to be part of a great miracle, the only one that is recorded in all four Gospels besides the resurrection. He wanted to use them and all they could think of was their checkbook balance.

Are they really so different from us? God gives us a challenging child to raise, a difficult marriage, a job that stretches us, a family of origin that was unhealthy, an illness that saps our strength, finances that end before our expenses do. And we look at our inadequacies and poverty and say, “How can I do this? Surely God, you do not expect me to get through this.” And that is true.

He does not intend for you to find the strength you need from within yourself. 2 Co. 1:9 tells us that these things happen so that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God.

Mark 6:38

John tells us that a boy gave his lunch to Jesus: his five little barley loaves and two small fish. I wonder as the disciples went through the crowd asking for food, if there were others who had food but hung on to it selfishly. This little boy gave everything he had to Jesus and Jesus accepted his gift and used it. I think that children still respond this way to Jesus. That is why we must not wait till they get hardened and unbelieving as adults are before we tell them that Jesus loves them, died for them and wants them to trust Him. In fact, Matt. 18 says that adults must come to Christ humbly as little children do.

Mark 6:39-41

The crowd was now seated in orderly groups on the green grass. Jesus stood before them, took the tiny little lunch in His hands, and looked up to heaven. He thanked God and then divided the loaves and the fish. The disciples stood before Him with their empty baskets and he started putting bread and fish in each one. Before their astonished eyes the bread and fish just kept on multiplying till all of their baskets were full. Then they turned and distributed the food to the crowd.

I believe that even as the people reached in and took as much as they wanted, that the bread and fish in their baskets never ran out. Jesus took what was given to Him and multiplied it to feed all of these people. He used the little boy’s lunch and He used the disciples to meet the needs of over 10,000 people. You see, He never expects our resources to be adequate. He just wants us to give what we have and what we are to Him and He will multiplyour resources and use us to feed those who are dying of spiritual hunger all around us. But of course, the catch lies with us. How much will we give Him of our resources and ourselves? What was the result?

John says “Everyone had as much as they wanted.”

Mark 6:42

They all ate and were satisfied. Is not that the way it always is with Jesus? Just as He satisfied their physical need, He is the only One who can completely satisfy our spiritual hunger. This does not mean just the initial act of receiving Him as our Savior. This means that our spiritual life is sustainedand constantly renewed by Him alone.

John 6:12-13 (NIV) When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”

We never come to the end of what He wants to give us. He supplies more than enough. He came to give us an abundant life, not just mere subsistence. Nothing wasted: always enough for us to share with others. (One way to measure this is to see what God does with our money when we give it to Him. There is always enough there.)

As wonderful as this story is, there is significant meaning behind it that the Gospel of John goes on to explain. This miracle, in contrast to the others affected everyone there.

John tells us the crowd was so excited by this miracle that benefited all of them that they wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him King. This was not His timetable for that, so he withdrew from them and went back to Capernaum. The next day the people found Him there.

John 6:25-27

Jesus knew that they were there to get their stomachs full every day. That is how shallow their interest was. But he used their desire for food to teach them that He could give them something permanent-eternal life.

John 6:28

No different than millions of people today. They were so sure that if they just knew that special formula of works they could do, then they could do it and earn eternal life. Jesus answered them in words that could not be clearer.

John 6:29

There is only one work that will give you eternal life and it is not a work at all. It is simply to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And God will give eternal life as a free gift.

To show you how materialistic and obtuse they were, listen to their next demand.

John 6:30-31

What miraculous sign will you do for us? Incredible! These were the same people who had all been fed just the day before. Now they challenged Him. They really meant, Moses gave our forefathers manna, bread from heaven, for 40 years. Can you top that? We will follow you if you feed us every day like you did yesterday! Jesus’ answer to this arrogant demand was very revealing.

John 6:32-35

Jesus here makes the first of seven claims about himself in John beginning with the words I Am. Surely this should have reminded them of the name God revealed to Moses at the burning bush, I AM WHO I AM. He is the Bread of life, (bread that is living/or gives life). Really saying to them: Do not compare me to Moses. Compare me to the manna. The rest of his conversation with them shows how God was giving them something greater than the manna that He sent their forefathers every day but Saturday for 40 years in the wilderness.

MANNA

JESUS CHRIST

Picture

Reality

Sent by the Father

Sent by the Father

For All

For all

Bread from Heaven

True bread

They had to pick and eat

We have to believe

They hungered again.

We will never hunger

Physical/temporal

Spiritual/eternal

They died

We live

Picture

Reality

The manna was just a picture of what Jesus Christ would be when He came to earth. He is the reality.

Sent by the Father.

Over and over Jesus states that the Father sent Him to give eternal life to everyone who believed in HIM.

For ALL

Just as the manna was for all the 3 million people of Israel. Just as the bread and fish were for all the 10,000 so Jesus Christ was sent for all the people in the world.

Bread from heaven/True Bread from heaven

The manna was bread from heaven. Ex. 16:4I will rain down bread from heaven for you. But Jesus was the genuine, real Bread from heaven. Six times in this chapter alone He claims heavenly origin.

They had to pick and eat. We have to believe

The manna did not keep them alive just by being on the ground. They had to eat it. It is not enough to know that Jesus came into the world, that He did miracles and that He died for sins. We each personally must put our faith in Him. That is why He kept using terms like eating, drinking, coming to Him. They all involved an act of the will to believe in His Person and His work.

They hungered again. We will never hunger or thirst

They picked the manna every morning for the day. They ate breakfast each day from it. After a few hours they were hungry again and had to eat again and the next morning had to gather it again. Jesus claims to completely satisfy the hunger of the human heart for God forever.

Physical-Temporal/Spiritual-Eternal

The manna kept them alive physically for 40 years in the wilderness. Though it was bread from heaven, its purpose was earthly and temporal. Jesus is the One Who gives life to our spirits, eternal life. Eternal life is a new quality of life as well as quantity.

They died/We live

The wilderness became one vast cemetery. The manna was just food for their bodies. Jesus gives us eternal life for our spirits now and resurrection for our bodies when He returns. Then we will be with Him in heaven forever.

Now He explained how He was the Bread of Life.

John 6:51-54

This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. (NIV)

Can you imagine how repulsive this was to the Jewish mind? Blood was forbidden and human flesh! They missed the point entirely.

You see, again here that Jesus used material and physical things to explain spiritual truth. He used physical digestion to illustrate the process of faith. When you eat food, your body digests it and assimilates it and the food actually becomes part of your body. Jesus was telling them ahead of time that He would die for the world. That death and resurrection is an historical fact. But it does not apply to you unless you believe that Jesus Christ died in your place and you receive Him by faith. Eating and drinking are just another way of explaining what it is to believe. When you do that He comes to live in you and you live in Him.

Gal. 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

This means that He not only gives us eternal life when we initially trust Him, but He actually lives in us. He is our life. He exchanges our sinful, failing, inadequate life for His holy, powerful, fruitful life. He gives us the strength to endure suffering, He continues to change us and bring us to maturecharacter. In using the term Bread of life, Jesus is really saying that He alone is all that we will ever need to have eternal life, to know God, to be kept secure, to experience resurrection.

What was the result of this revealing discourse with was preceded just the day before by a spectacular miracle that illustrated it so powerfully?

John 6:60-66

REJECTION! It was a hard teaching to them to “eat flesh and drink blood.” Even though Jesus explained that He was talking about spiritual realities, not literal flesh and blood, they did not believe. And these uncommittedfollowers left Him.

Can you not hear the pathos in His voice as He turned to the Twelve?

John 6:67-69

FAITH These men did not understand everything Jesus said and did, but they trusted Him and were committed to Him. This sequel to the great miracle tells us something important. Miracles do not necessarily produce faith.That is why it is so important not to be presumptuous and demand of God that He do something spectacular for you to believe. Jesus Christ has already done everything miraculous that needed to be done for us to believe that the Father sent Him to reveal God to us and to give us eternal life. There are only two responses we can have to the claims of Christ.

Belief or unbelief. This applies to our daily walk with Him as well as our initial birth into God’s family.

What does Jesus reveal to us about God, our Heavenly Father?

  • That our Father’s heart is moved with compassion for us as we wander in our hopeless, lost condition.

  • That our Father knows both our physical and spiritual needs and provides for both.

  • That our Father is not impatient with us even when He knows our motives are self-serving.

  • That our Father will multiply what we give Him and use us to have an eternal impact on those around us.

  • That our Father will put us in situations that stretch our faith.

  • That our Father supplies abundantly, not skimpily.

  • That our Father always knows the degree of our commitment from the start.

  • That our Father sent Jesus to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. This is the only “work” we can do to be saved. We cannot earn eternal life by our own efforts.

  • That our Father gives us to Jesus and he will never drive us away. We are safe forever.

  • That it is our Father’s will that believers have eternal life and resurrection.

  • That our Father requires that we make a decision. We can choose to not believe in Jesus Christ. But there is no other way to God.

  • That our Father provides for our spiritual life to be sustained daily by “feeding on Christ.”

Are you feeding on Christ? How?

Matthew 4:4 (NIV) “Man does not live on bread alone…”

Reading His Word, obeying it, talking to Him, depending on Him and letting Him be our life. Jesus is the one who gives us the strength to face the trials and inequities of life. He is the One who gives us joy that is unrelated to our circumstances. He is the One who will take us all through this life with all of its uncertainties and then take us to be safe at home with Him. He is the Bread of Life and all we need.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember Eli, that he gains weight and is a healthy baby

Pray for Caliste and Stephanie, both are doing well and they are staying busy enjoying summer and keeping their mind on the Lord and not on their brain tumors.

Pray for Elena, Norma Perales, Rick Sr her husband and Rick Jr her adult son, Barbara D, Mona R, Cristina B, Geena g, all in need of salvation.

Remember Bill Warneke, chronic neck pain, depression and the beginnings of Parkinson’s.

Pray for Willie s, since his wife died he really hasn’t grieved and dealt with the loss and anger.

Remember Steve H, strength and encouragement.

Remember Pastor Paul K, health concerns and his mom 90+ years of age, in great health physically, but the beginnings of dementia.