NOW FAITH

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ABRAHAM, BY FAITH – Episode 3

Has a coddled and pampered postmodern Church has produced generations of coddled, pampered, spoiled and rebellious people. The time has come, and is now, that they do not tolerate sound doctrine; always wanting to have their ears tickled, they accumulate teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Are we that generation who calls evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitutes bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Are we that generation who is wise in our own eyes and clever in our own sight!

Who are heroes in drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing intoxicating drink, who declare the wicked innocent for a bribe, and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!

As a tongue of fire consumes stubble, and dry grass collapses in the flame, so our root will become like rot, and our blossom blow away like dust; for we have rejected the Law of the LORD of armies, and discarded the word of the Holy One of Israel.

For this reason the anger of the LORD is burning against His people, and He has stretched out His hand against us and will strike us. The mountain will quake, and our corpses will lay like refuse in the middle of the streets.

Despite all this, His anger is not, yet all spent, but His hand is still stretched out. (See the prophetic Word of Isaiah, chapter 5)

Now is the time that we return to Him and live not by our selfish and self-centered faith, but, according to the faith shown to us by our fathers of long ago:

Hebrews 11 is our source material, paraphrased and personalized:

Verse 1.  “It must be now that we return to the faith that is the certainty of things expected, the proof of things not yet seen. Verse  2 Now, we must return to the faith that the people of old obtained a good testimony.

Verse 3. Now, we must return to the faith that causes us to understand that the world has been created by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things that are visible.

Verse 4. Now, we must return to the faith that Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was attested to be righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

Verse 5. Now, we must return to the faith by which Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for before he was taken up, he was attested to have been pleasing to God.

Verse 6. “We must know that without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.

Verse 7. Now, we must return to the faith that, Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Verse 8. Now, we must return to the faith that Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going. Verse 9. The faith by which he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; Verse 10. for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Verse 11. Now, we must return to the faith that Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Verse 12. Therefore, even from one man, and one who was as good as dead at that, there were born descendants who were just as the stars of heaven in number, and as the innumerable grains of sand along the seashore.

Verse 13. All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Verse 14. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. Verse 15. And indeed, if they had been thinking of that country which they left, they would have had opportunity to return. Verse 16. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Verse 17. “The faith by which Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and the one who had received the promises was offering up his only son; Verse 18. it was he to whom it was said, “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE NAMED.” Verse 19. He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Verse 20. The faith by which Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.

Verse 21. The faith by which  Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Verse 22. The faith by which Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

Verse 23. The faith by which Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

Verse 24. The faith by which Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Verse 25, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, Verse 26, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. Verse 27. The faith by which he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he persevered, as though seeing Him who is unseen. Verse 28. The faith by which, he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them. Verse 29. The faith by which they passed through the Red Sea as through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

Verse 30. The faith by which the walls of Jericho fell down after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days. Verse 31. The faith by which the prostitute Rahab did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

Verse 32. And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, Verse 33, The faith by which they conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, Verse 34, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Verse 35. The faith by which women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; Verse 36, the faith by which others experienced mocking and flogging, and further, chains and imprisonment. Verse 37. The faith by which they were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tested, they were put to death with the sword; The faith by which they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented Verse 38, (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, on mountains, and sheltering in caves and holes in the ground.

Verse 39. And all these, having gained approval, a good testimony through their faith, did not receive what was promised, Verse 40, because God had provided something better for those who would follow, so that along with them, we will be made perfect through Christ.

What more is to be said? The “Day of the Lord” is at hand. Be ready!

Thus says the Lord. Amen and Amen!

The following chapters in this series are Biblical teaching on the exercising of your faith and the outcomes. This is not just for reading, but, for you and me to learn to exercise our faith and to see these outcomes in our own lives.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Go to the Next Episode, SAVING FAITH AND THE DEMONIAC

SEPARATED FROM GOD?

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sin-separates.gif

Does SIN separate you from God?

Have you ever heard that sin can separate you from God? I have often heard this phrase, that my ‘sins’ separate me from God, and that sin even hinders or negates my prayers or that God won’t even hear me.

Those who say that sin separates us from God, usually quote verses like Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

Or, New Testament verses like Galatians 5:4, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

Then, when I commit a sin, this phrase comes to my mind, I begin to worry and doubt and fear that I have created a separation between me and my Eternal Hope.

I try to “not sin”, then I sin, anyway. And, the cycle of worry and doubt and fear starts over again.

I have met Christians who have serious challenges with alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual addiction, kleptomania, homosexuality, and other habits of thought, behavioral habits or addictions, and most will either say “the harder I try, the worse it gets” or “I am better, but…” or, they find themselves having to live in the torment. I had found myself in this dilemma, once in my life.

Then there are the few who say they have been delivered from this torment and have been set completely free. How do they do that?

I have read all the well-intended commentaries and the so-called Bible scholars on this matter, and you get answers that differ depending on denominational views.

WHAT A QUANDARY.

The Apostle Paul gives us a word of hope in Romans, chapter 7, speaking about the conflict of the two natures that dwell within us.

Romans 7:14-25, tells us,

“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind I am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh, the law of sin.”

THERE IS DELIVERANCE FROM THIS BONDAGE

Romans 8:1-6, tells us,

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of [c]sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For, those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For, the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”

NOW THERE IS THE NEW COVENANT

The Good News is that Jesus died, ONCE, for all who would believe.

Sin may cause us to separate ourselves from God, but sin will never separate God from those of us who believe.

Romans 8:31-39, says,

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You see, our ‘natural response’ to sin is to withdraw and try to HIDE FROM GOD, due to shame, guilt, worry, doubt and fear.

We can see this played out in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 3:8

“They (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Sin does not separate God from us. God will seek us out. We are the ones who will seek separation.

Sin is a method of Satan to impose guilt, shame, fear and doubt into our minds in order to compel us to withdraw from God and from God’s protection over our lives.

God never withdraws from His own, thanks to Jesus our Christ. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Romans 8 tells us that, “there is now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, those who walk in the Spirit of God. And that the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace!”

SO, WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THIS QUANDARY?

James 4:7 (Think on this, understand this, take it seriously, and do it)

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

YES!! Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

1 John 1:9 tells us that

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

And, on a final note, as helpful as some recovery programs are, this is not a “Two-Step” program for recovering addicts or habitual offenders.

James 4:7, is ALL ONE STEP:  Submit yourself to God AND resist the devil and the devil will flee from you WHILE you are drawing near to God.

In other words, MOVE YOUR FOCUS AWAY FROM THE TROUBLE AND ONTO GOD.  YOU DO YOUR PART, WHILE, GOD IS DOING HIS PART

Again, let’s remember, Romans 8:6, says, “The mind set on The Spirit is life and peace.”  Life and Peace, Indeed!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

 

WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF MAN (AND WOMAN)

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WHAT GOD REQUIRES

Micah 6:6-8.

With what shall I come to the LORD
            And bow myself before the God on high?
            Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
            With yearling calves?

     Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,
            In ten thousand rivers of oil?
            Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,
            The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

      He has told you, O man, what is good;
            And what does the LORD require of you
            But to do justice, to love kindness,
            And to walk humbly with your God?

“For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness, I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.Isaiah 61:8

JUSTICE: noun:

  1. The quality of being just; fairness.
  2. The principle of moral rightness; decency.
  3. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.)

Justice is behavior or treatment that is based on what is right and fair. Just behavior acts according to what is right. Just treatment of another person means to treat them in a manner that is fair. 

How do we determine what is right and fair? Secular scholars have debated this for thousands of years. Does a society or culture decide their own standard? When groups or individuals with different standards are in conflict, how do we know what is just?

The Bible measures right and wrong by God’s standard. God created the world and owns and rules it, (Psalm 89:11), so what He calls just is the definition of justice. He never changes, (Hebrews. 13:8), so the standard He set at the foundation of the world is unchanged and will remain unchangeable.

Scripture is clear that a person’s dignity and worth is not based on their ethnicity or nationality or gender or background or wealth or position or abilities or contribution, (Acts 10:34-35, Leviticus 19:33-34, Galatians 3:28, Romans 3:10-24, James 2:5-9, Ephesians 6:9, Leviticus 19:14, 1 Corinthians 12:4-26). Every person has equal inherent value because we were all created by God and bear His image (Genesis 1:27). People should therefore receive equal treatment, unless they are different in a way that matters in the question at hand. (Crosswalk.org 3/1/2021)

A close ‘first cousin’ of Justice has to be Ethics.

  1. The science of right conduct and character; the science which treats of the nature and grounds of moral obligation and of the rules which ought to determine conduct in accordance with this obligation; the doctrine of man’s duty in respect to himself and the rights of others.
  2. The whole of the moral sciences; natural jurisprudence.
  3. A particular system of principles and rules concerning moral obligations and regard for the rights of others, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions and duties: as, social ethics; medical ethics.(The Century Dictionary.)

Then came “Situational Ethics”.  I can remember when I first heard the term “Situational Ethics”, a system of ethics by which acts are judged within their contexts instead of by categorical principles. Situational ethics holds that right and wrong are determined by context and by a desired outcome in any unique situation.

Situational ethics is different from moral relativism in that moral relativism holds that there is no right and wrong whereas situational ethics holds the situation determines right and wrong, i.e., the person decides what is right or wrong, depending on their own situation or circumstance.  Therefore, the standard for ‘right or wrong’ varies from person to person. This is undependable and inevitably creates chaos and conflict.

What ‘situational ethic’ and personal justice boils down to, throughout history, is perspective. In order to keep this simple, let me say that in the context of situational ethics and personal justice, each individual can choose how they view and apply Justice and Ethics. This is how we get so many differing worldviews and conflicting types of government. This is why we have had ‘wars and rumors of wars’ since man has roamed the earth.

Three of the most influential types of worldviews have been the Judeo-Christian ethos, Greek Reason and Logic, and Marxism and the ensuing variants of each.

The Judeo-Christian ethics, emanates from a Divine Source with a system of justice of fixed standards of right and wrong which employ reason and logic, reward and punishment. This view holds that God is supreme and mankind is made in that image; life is precious and must be cultivated for good.

The Greeks embraced reason and logic, but, with a permanent fixed standard of right and wrong base on their system of justice which they believed emanated from a deity, but, justice comes from a person’s ability to use reason and logic.  The Greek held that the individual as important, but served the importance of the state.

Marxism and it’s variants of Leninism, Communism and Socialism, reject any notion of Divinity.  It’s reason and logic has only one conclusion which is the abolition of God or anything that is not according to the philosophy that “the state is supreme”.  Their standards of justice change with situations and circumstances, but always hold that the state and the few elite leaders of the state are supreme.  Violence, deceit, terror, deprivation and death all are legitimate means to maintain control in governing.

The most successful and, arguably, the most enduring are the principles which come from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

Micah 6:8 tells us to, “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God”.  This is The Trinity of Justice. Seeing these three attributes, these qualities, lived out, uniformly, is rare and awe-inspiring. This is perfect justice, and, it is the justice we, as Christians, are called to live and exercise in our lives. It is the proper balance of judgement and mercy, for correction and training in righteousness.

We are now living in the Last Days, as foretold and described in Scriptures. We are told to engage the enemy and stand firm in our faith and practice. “Doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God” is foundational in our warfare and in our walk with God.

Next, is this video link by:  The Bible Project on the subject of Justice:

I will use this video by Ben Shapiro on Western Civilization and justice, to make this point. Please watch it and think.

Whether considering justice in legal terms, institutional justice, social justice, personal justice or Devine justice, the only system of justice which has brought equity, fairness, balance, dependability, trust and peaceful order, has come from the God of the Bible. It is only when mankind perverts and misuses God’s perfect system of justice, do things go bad for everyone – very bad, indeed.

Let’s draw near to “the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob“, and He will draw near to us.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

STAND FIRM

Are Christians allowing themselves to be led by sheep instead of being led by     The Lion of Judah?

Someplace along the way, over the last two thousand years, it seems that many of the people calling themselves Christians, have come to assume that Jesus was either some kind of a ‘progressive left-wing ideologue’ or a pacifist and have modeled their lives as such. Let’s be crystal clear: Both assumptions are wrong. Dead wrong! (If you are thinking, “I don’t believe either one of those attributes about Jesus”, then, please take this little test, just to make certain:

PART 1.
The Bible CONTAINS the Word of God. We can subjectively pick and choose what parts of the Bible are true.  YES__  NO__
Jesus Christ was a GOOD MAN, probably the BEST MAN that has ever lived, but He was not necessarily God.   YES__  NO__
The birth of Jesus Christ was NATURAL and not SUPERNATURAL.   YES__  NO__
God is the FATHER OF ALL MEN and not just Christians.  YES__  NO__
Man is the product of EVOLUTION  YES__  NO__
Man is the unfortunate VICTIM of heredity and environment, but through self-culture and self effort, he can save himself.  YES__  NO__
There are MANY ROADS that lead to Heaven  YES__  NO__
ALL PEOPLE WILL EVENTUALLY BE SAVED   YES__  NO__
PART 2.
A loving God would never condemn anyone to hell. YES__  NO__
The judgment and wrath of God was Old Testament. YES__  NO__
It is OK to have “MANY FAITHS” and “many faith expressions”  YES__  NO__
It is OK to UNITE all churches and all faiths to believe in God.  YES__  NO__
THE GOSPEL is equal to Social action  YES__  NO__
It is OK to meet a person’s PHYSICAL NEEDS (food, clothing, medicine, etc.) without giving the Gospel message. YES__  NO__
Concerning the RESURRECTION: Jesus did not literally come back from the dead, it was “The influence and example of Jesus that lives on” YES__  NO__
THE PROPHETIC TEACHING of the second coming of Christ is all allegory. YES__  NO__
Jesus was a good man and a good teacher, but, He is not God. YES__  NO__

IF YOU ANSWERED “YES” TO MORE THAN ONE QUESTION, PLEASE GO TO THESE LINKS. READ, PRAY AND THINK.

Christianity and socialism

Christianity and communism

 Bible hub.com

The examples being set by many post-modern preachers and pastors is appalling. Their agenda and practice ranges from CEO-types, dictators and control-freaks, to showmen, and the timid pacifist. (Finding an authentic ‘Fully devoted follower of Jesus styled pastor’ is a tough assignment. But, they are out there, and I strongly suggest you keep looking until you find one. And, for your own sake, don’t put anything ahead of finding a Church and pastor who models and follows the One and Only, Jesus.)

You may be asking, “So, what does the REAL JESUS look like?” It would take more time and space than I can afford at this time to describe all of the characteristics and traits of Jesus, found in the Bible. But, referring to Him as ‘The Lion of Judah’ will get started in the right direction. You can do that in your spare time. I want to focus on just one trait: The dependability and resolve of Jesus.

WHY DID JESUS COME INTO THE WORLD?

 1. TO TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH

John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born, and for this I have come into the world: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”  

 2. TO BRING A SWORD

Matthew 10:34“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Verse 35, For I came to TURN A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; verse 36, and A PERSON’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” 

  3. TO FULFILL THE LAW

Matthew 5:17 “Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.”  

 4. TO CALL SINNERS

Mark 2:17 “And hearing this, Jesus *said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 

 5. TO SAVE THE WORLD

John 12:47 If anyone hears My teachings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”  

 6. TO CAST FIRE & BRING DIVISION UPON THE EARTH

Luke 12:49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! Verse 50,  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Verse 51, Do you think that I came to provide peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather to create division;  

 WHAT HE REALLY MEANT?

John 14:12 “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

I have heard so many preachers and bible teachers try to justify or explain away these Words of Jesus because they just cannot fathom the gentle and sweet ‘dashboard Jesus’ saying such things as we find in the verses cited.  These same confused preachers really get tied in a knot over John 14:12.  They will begin their commentary of teaching it with, “what this really means is…”.

Jesus said what He meant and meant exactly what He said.  We need to get over it and get on with it.

 Jesus’ time on earth was spent fulfilling the purpose, and will of His Father (Matthew 5:19, Matthew 5:39). Jesus was on a singular mission (John 6 :38) and nothing would stand in the way of accomplishing that mission: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus had a divine appointment with a cruel Roman cross. Read what He said when Peter proposed to get in the way of His mission:

Matthew 16:21– 23, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Jesus always, taught the Will of His Father, then, demonstrated what He taught. He expects us to do the same. Ephesians, chapter six, gives us a clear teaching and picture of the type of preparation and resolve we are to assume.

Strong’s Concordance: STAND FIRM (histémi): to make to stand, to stand

Definition: to make to stand, to stand

Usage: make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint; mid: place myself, stand, set in balance, weigh; intrans: stand, stand by, stand still; met: stand ready, stand firm, am steadfast.

to stand, i. e. continue safe and sound, stand unharmed: Acts 26:22.

to stand ready or prepared: Ephesians 6:14.

to be of a steadfast mind; 1 Corinthians 10:12.

(Who does not hesitate, does not waver, of one who vanquishes his adversaries and holds the ground, also of one who in the midst of the fight holds his position against the foe, to persist, continue, persevere: (so as not to fall from thy faith).

Ephesians 6:10-17, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Jesus’ demonstration of steadfast, unmovable courage:

CONFRONTING THE STORM

  Mark 4:35-41, “On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

CONFRONTING DEMONS

Luke 8:26-33 “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

“Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.”

 BEFORE PILATE

John 19:8-12  ”Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”

BEFORE THE SANHEDREN

Matthew 24:57-67, “Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.

“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?”  But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy;  what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him.”  

Jesus did not draw back.  He proceeded boldly to the Cross and secured our salvation!

Remember, Jesus came to earth for these stated reasons:

TO TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH. This, too, is our calling!

TO BRING A SWORD. This, too, is our calling!

 TO FULFILL THE LAW. This, too, is our calling!

TO CALL SINNERS. This, too, is our calling!

TO SAVE THE WORLD through Jesus. In a very real sense, this, too, is our calling, by lifting the Name of Jesus, telling others and leading them to Him

TO CAST FIRE & BRING DIVISION UPON THE EARTH. This, too, is our calling!

Don’t be led or misled by the sheep. Follow the Lion of Judah!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

JUSTICE

(You can listen to the podcast audio while you read along, then, pause the audio while you follow the page links.  When you are ready, resume the audio. Please note: I use page links in lieu of footnotes and references for detail, credits and expanded teaching on a subject)

“For I, the LORD, love justice;

I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness, I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.” – Isaiah 61:8

JUSTICE: noun:

  1. The quality of being just; fairness.
  2. The principle of moral rightness; decency.
  3. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.)

Justice is behavior or treatment that is based on what is right and fair. Just behavior acts according to what is right. Just treatment of another person means to treat them in a manner that is fair. 

How do we determine what is right and fair? Secular scholars have debated this for thousands of years. Does a society or culture decide their own standard? When groups or individuals with different standards are in conflict, how do we know what is just?

The Bible measures right and wrong by God’s standard. God created the world and owns and rules it, (Psalm 89:11), so what He calls just is the definition of justice. He never changes, (Hebrews. 13:8), so the standard He set at the foundation of the world is unchanged and will remain unchangeable.

Scripture is clear that a person’s dignity and worth is not based on their ethnicity or nationality or gender or background or wealth or position or abilities or contribution, (Acts 10:34-35, Leviticus 19:33-34, Galatians 3:28, Romans 3:10-24, James 2:5-9, Ephesians 6:9, Leviticus 19:14, 1 Corinthians 12:4-26). Every person has equal inherent value because we were all created by God and bear His image (Genesis 1:27). People should therefore receive equal treatment, unless they are different in a way that matters in the question at hand. (Crosswalk.org 3/1/2021)

A close ‘first cousin’ of Justice has to be Ethics.

  1. The science of right conduct and character; the science which treats of the nature and grounds of moral obligation and of the rules which ought to determine conduct in accordance with this obligation; the doctrine of man’s duty in respect to himself and the rights of others.
  2. The whole of the moral sciences; natural jurisprudence.
  3. A particular system of principles and rules concerning moral obligations and regard for the rights of others, whether true or false; rules of practice in respect to a single class of human actions and duties: as, social ethics; medical ethics.(The Century Dictionary.)

Then came “Situational Ethics”.  I can remember when I first heard the term “Situational Ethics”, a system of ethics by which acts are judged within their contexts instead of by categorical principles. Situational ethics holds that right and wrong are determined by context and by a desired outcome in any unique situation.

Situational ethics is different from moral relativism in that moral relativism holds that there is no right and wrong whereas situational ethics holds the situation determines right and wrong, i.e., the person decides what is right or wrong, depending on their own situation or circumstance.  Therefore, the standard for ‘right or wrong’ varies from person to person. This is undependable and inevitably creates chaos and conflict.

What ‘situational ethic’ and personal justice boils down to, throughout history, is perspective. In order to keep this simple, let me say that in the context of situational ethics and personal justice, each individual can choose how they view and apply Justice and Ethics. This is how we get so many differing worldviews and conflicting types of government. This is why we have had ‘wars and rumors of wars’ since man has roamed the earth.

Three of the most influential types of worldviews have been the Judeo-Christian ethos, Greek Reason and Logic, and Marxism and the ensuing variants of each.

The Judeo-Christian ethics, emanates from a Divine Source with a system of justice of fixed standards of right and wrong which employ reason and logic, reward and punishment. This view holds that God is supreme and mankind is made in that image; life is precious and must be cultivated for good.

The Greeks embraced reason and logic, but, with a permanent fixed standard of right and wrong base on their system of justice which they believed emanated from a deity, but, justice comes from a person’s ability to use reason and logic.  The Greek held that the individual as important, but served the importance of the state.

Marxism and it’s variants of Leninism, Communism and Socialism, reject any notion of Divinity.  It’s reason and logic has only one conclusion which is the abolition of God or anything that is not according to the philosophy that “the state is supreme”.  Their standards of justice change with situations and circumstances, but always hold that the state and the few elite leaders of the state are supreme.  Violence, deceit, terror, deprivation and death all are legitimate means to maintain control in governing.

The most successful and, arguably, the most enduring are the principles which come from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I will use this video by Ben Shapiro on Western Civilization and justice, to make this point. Please watch it and think.

Next, is this video link by:  The Bible Project on the subject of Justice:

Whether considering justice in legal terms, institutional justice, social justice, personal justice or Devine justice, the only system of justice which has brought equity, fairness, balance, dependability, trust and peaceful order, has come from the God of the Bible. It is only when mankind perverts and misuses God’s perfect system of justice, do things go bad for everyone – very bad, indeed.

Let’s draw near to “the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob“, and He will draw near to us.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

THINK – Part 2 – Repent and live

THINK!  MINDS & THOUGHTS.

*Think, and the God of peace will be with you.

**Think, and you will have abundant life and peace and prosperity.

***Think, and God will reveal His Truths to you.

****Think, and God will give you understanding in everything.

*****Think, and you will be as you are.

In our last article, we discussed psychology and the soul.  This time, let’s take a brief look at what the Bible says about the mind and thoughts.

*Philippians 4:8, says, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Verse 9. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

**Romans 8:5 tells us,For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Verse 6.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on and peace.”

***Philippians 3:15 , says, “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.”

****2 Timothy 2:7  tells us to, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

*****Proverbs 23:7, says, “… For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT OR RELEVANT?

First, no person, with a sound mind, can think one thing and do another.  You cannot say “today I pray to have success”, or “today I will pray to have friends”, or “today I will serve God”, then act in a contrary manner and expect to receive what you desire nor to achieve what you claim.

Secondly, and most importantly, Matthew 4:17, says, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  This is the greatest pronouncement and call to readiness for all Christians:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

This is one of the greatest pronouncements and calls to readiness for all Christians:  Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Repent, in the Biblical sense, literally means,

To change one’s mind; – reversing how you think – to change one’s mind for the better” and it comes from two root words which mean, “Hereafter, have this understanding or perception”.

Repenting is the act of changing your mind which means your mindset, your values, and your worldview is changed.  Some would say you then live by new standards.  But it is much greater than just living by new standards.

Again I say, a person of sound mind cannot simultaneously think one thing and do another, repentance results in a complete change of mind and direction of one’s life.

Another way of saying this is, “As a man or woman thinks, so are they”.

This is not a metaphor.  It is not hyperbole.  It is the literal call from God through His Son, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

BOTH A COMMAND AND A PROPHETIC WORD

Interestingly, Jesus, the Son of God, in fact God Himself, said these very words which is recorded in Matthew 4:17.  Remembering, this is both a Command and a prophetic Word from God.

Jesus said this is what we are to do – Repent – in order to become His disciple and to follow Him, and, this is what will happen is we repent.

The disciples echoed and repeated these very words as they continued to do the Works of God, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is now at hand”.

Jesus says for each of us to Repent as an act of our will and that Repentance will allow the Holy Spirit to come into our bodies, our minds and regenerate our spirits.  We will become One with Him.

Our fleshly desires begin to fade, and our new desires emanate from the Holy Spirit of God.  It is not us producing Spiritual Fruit, it is from The Holy Spirit, and it should pour out of us, liberally.

We begin to desire the Things of God.  We are made new, and we can now walk with certainty, with purpose and power in our New Life.

MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Once we Repent, our new desires move us to a new way of living, new actions, which are the direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Repentance means it is no longer you, or I who lives, but it is Christ, literally, living in us.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”

If you are living in the sin of doubt or fear,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

If you are living under the oppression of poverty, sickness, lack or want, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Rise up.  Proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness, help all who are ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; heal them all.  Matthew 4:24

Go and tell others this exceedingly Good News, and let us all, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Let’s stop thinking as the world thinks and see things from a heavenly perspective (Colossians 3:2), let’s have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), and begin to really live!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous article:  “THINK – Part 1 -Psychology in the Bible? – The Soul”

Next article: “THINK – Part 3 – Where are you Going?”

THINK – Part 1 – PSYCHOLOGY IN THE BIBLE?

 

 

Matthew 22:37 says, “And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

 Also found in Deuteronomy 6:5  says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

 These words are both a command and a prophecy from God, to the Israelites, then, and to us, now, so we can “live in the land which God has promised”.

The ‘land’ promised to the Jewish people is described in Joshua 1:1-9 and is actual real estate.  It is a foreshadowing of the eternal “Land” of the Kingdom of God.  (see metaphors such as found in Matthew 13:44, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Matthew 22:37 and Deuteronomy 6:5 tell us how we are to “love the Lord our God”.  These verses describe the entire person:  mind, body and soul.  We are to love God with our entire being and all of our essence in order to obtain His promises.

Let’s focus on the soul.

SOUL:  From the Greek, “psuché”, meaning, breath, the soul (the phonetic spelling is psoo-khay’).  It is defined as the vital breath or breath of life, (b) the human soul, (c) the soul as the seat of affections and will, (d) the self, (e) a human person, an individual, the mind, will and emotions..

‘Psuche’, (the soul), is the root of the English words “psyche,” “psychology”; the soul (psyche); a person’s distinct identity (unique person-hood), i.e. individual personality.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT OR RELEVANT?

It is to make the point that the Bible speaks volumes about human psychology and is the leading and foremost authority on the matter. Scientists and psychologist are just catching up with the Bible on these matters, but, they still have a way to go. Most psychologists view the Bible as largely mythical or anthropomorphic, and they read it through the biased and ofttimes arrogant lens of scientism.

The main point is, however, is that Matthew 22:37 and Deuteronomy 6:5 tell us HOW we are to “love the Lord our God”.  These verses describe the entire person:  mind, body and soul.  We are to love God with our entire being and all of our essence in order to obtain His promises.

Deuteronomy 28:28,  “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

Verse 2.  All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:

Verse 3.  “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

Verse 4.  “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

Verse 5.  “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

Verse 6.  “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

Verse 7. “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.

Verse 8.  The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

Verse 9.  The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.

Verse 10.  So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.

Verse 11.  The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the [l]offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.

Verse 12.  The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

Verse 13.  The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,

Verse 14.  And do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Finally, and to be sure, all the promises of God are already ours through the finished redemptive work of Jesus.  But, just like the Israelites wandering in the desert of forty years, though God provided them manna to eat and sandals to wear, the children of God still had to pick up the manna and put on the sandals which would never wear out.

The promises of God are here, but, we must appropriate them by believing and obeying God and taking the promises as our own.  Let’s live the Kingdom, now!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

(Next Article:  “THINK – The Mind and Thoughts”)

WAS JESUS EVER MOODY? – The Fig Tree

Jesus turning over tables in the temple.

“Jesus in the Temple with the money changers.”

I had an Uncle (a much loved, Southern Baptist Pastor and Preacher) who frequently said, “Jesus loves you and so do I”.

I also had a good friend (An independent Baptist Pastor and Preacher) who loved to say, “Remember to be kind and gentle, like Jesus”.

I recently thought of these two men, who had an influence on my life, but, I wondered if these two defining statements are compatible.

What do you think?

Here are some Bible verses which are the words spoken by Jesus or about Jesus. I would like to know what you think, so let’s play a game. OK?

1. Assign ONE WORD to describe Jesus’ apparent mood from the highlighted words in each section of verses.

2. Describe the reason for Jesus’ remarks or actions.

3. Answer the question, “Was Jesus being ‘kind and gentle'” and “Was Jesus being loving?”

(I will do the first one as an example. You may have a different idea or opinion, so use your own ideas.)

I. Mark 11:12-26   “On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He (Jesus) became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.

Verse 20.  “When evening came, they would go out of the city. As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

And Jesus answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

Jesus’ mood? ______________________

Jesus’ reason?: _____________________

Jesus found the tree as ‘useless’ and “cursed” it. Was He teaching His disciples, by this act, not to spend their time on things (people?) who were decidedly and purposefully ‘useless’ in the Kingdom.

Was Jesus mood was pragmatic?

He was dealing with this matter based on a practical spiritual application rather than theoretical considerations. He is teaching His disciples how to “do His Works, and greater works”. He was not driven by moods, but by the opportunity to Speak the Words of Truth and to teach the Truth which transcends this natural world, so His disciples could walk in the Spirit and in power.

He also told His disciples, in other scriptures, that if they ever lost their usefulness or ‘saltiness’ they would be good for nothing except to cast out and trod under the foot of men’. Matthew 5:8.

Paul also teaches that God takes no pleasure in those who shrink back, in the sense of being cowardly. Hebrews 10:39 Jesus actions were brave, bold and direct Truth.

Jesus’ acts were always bold. He was not worried about recrimination for destroying the unfruitful tree and teaching it to his disciples. Revelation 21:8 teaches us that “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (This is the bold truth.)

In conclusion, Jesus’ teaching is about faith, the demonstration of faith and the obstacles to faith and to overcoming this world.

It is a Spiritual law that “Unforgiveness” will negate your faith. So when the Bible tells us “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions” it is really saying that you have chosen to abrogate God’s forgiveness toward you and to negate the authority Jesus have given you.

It is our choice, not His.

To wit:

FAITH Mark 11:23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.

DEMONSTRATION OF FAITHVerse 24.  “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

ABROGATION OF FAITHVerse 25.  “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. Verse 26.  “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

Was Jesus “moody”?

Was Jesus always “Kind and Gentle”?

Was He showing love for others?

How does this Truth apply to our ‘moods’? To our speech, conduct and Kingdom effectiveness?

The ministry of ‘changing the world for Jesus’ isn’t over yet. So, let’s Walk Out our Faith in power and in Truth.

Your Friend and Brother

Mike Young

WAS JESUS EVER MOODY? – The Temple

passover.jpg

JESUS, THE LAMB of GOD

Was Jesus “moody”?

John 2:13-17  “The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He (Jesus) made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;   and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”  His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”

Jesus’ mood?:                                               

Jesus’ reason?:                                             

First, let’s recognize that “Passover” Jewish holiday, which commemorates the liberation of the Israelite (The Jews) by God from slavery in Ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses.

It commemorates the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

The New Testament states that the resurrection of Jesus, established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will righteously judge the world. For those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection, “death is swallowed up in victory.” Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”.

Through faith in the working of God those who follow Jesus are spiritually resurrected with him so that they may walk in a new way of life and receive eternal salvation.

Easter is linked to Passover and the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper, sufferings, and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection.

So, Jesus, the Passover Lamb of the New Covenant with God, comes to Jerusalem for the Passover and found those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables, in the Temple.

NOTE: Jesus took the time to stop and braid some cords into a scourge. This shows that Jesus was very deliberate with His intentions.

Was His purpose just to drive the money changers and those selling oxen, sheep and doves out of the Temple?

We read in scriptures

John 2:18-22  “The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”  Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.”

Jesus’ mood? Serious.

Was Jesus Angry?

NOTE: There is not one word, nor is there one tense of any word, nor is there any root of any word, in all of these New Testament verses that indicates a mood or disposition of human anger in Jesus.

The Bible shows Jesus is Resolute. Decisive. Aggressive and Zealous.

And, therein lies the clue: “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.” Zeal in the language used in the Bible means “excitement of mind, ardor, fervor of spirit” and comes from a root Greek word, “zeo” which means “to boil with heat, be hot”. It can be used as a metaphor for “boiling anger for what is good”.

What we are witnessing is also called “Righteous Indignation”.

Read 2 Corinthians 7:11 “For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything, you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.”

An “indignation” that produces “zeal” and avenging of wrong, yet found to be innocent in the matter. Righteous Indignation.

Jesus expressed righteous anger over the sins of the people (Mark 3:1–5; Matthew 21:12–13; Luke 19:41–44). But His anger was directed at sinful behaviors and unmistakable injustice. (this sentence comes from Righteous Indignation and Anger – Got Questions .com?)

James also gives us good instruction when it comes to righteous indignation: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20).

Jesus reason and purpose is to teach Spiritual Truth about

  • FAITH,
  • The DEMONSTRATION of our FAITH
  • The dangers of the ABROGATION of our FAITH (that is, that which negates our faith)
  • Impediments of Access to God
  • Righteous Indignation / anger.
  • Jesus calls every believer to ministry.
  • The Holy Spirit equips every believer for ministry.
  • Jesus sends every believer to the mission fields
  • Jesus calls every believer to serve His Body.

No exceptions. Jesus instructs us to either pick up our cross and follow Him into the mission fields, or go back to where you came from.

  • Let’s FOLLOW Him.
  • Let’s DO as Jesus has done.
  • Let’s KNOW these things
  • FAITH in God
  • The DEMONSTRATION OF our FAITH
  • The ABROGATION (Impediments) TO our FAITH
  • THE COST OF UN-FORGIVENESS
  • THE COST OF DISOBEDIENCE
  • THE COST OF UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER

Now I ask you, was Jesus being “Kind and Gentle”?

Was He showing love for others?

How about You? Does your life and walk demonstrate these Truths? Do you apply them to your speech, conduct and Kingdom effectiveness?

Let’s all master these things as we follow Jesus.

Let’s all Walk in the Holy Spirit and nothing will be impossible to those of us who believe (Mark 9:23)

Please, pray for me. I know that by writing these things I will be held accountable. Let’s pray for one another as we Follow Jesus.

Your Friend and Brother

Mike Young

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

(Please note, links are used in place of footnotes for references and citations.  Please review each link in order to get the full teaching on these matters.  Also, you can pause the Audio podcast to follow a link and resume the audio when ready.)

John 21:25 tells us that,   “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”

There are millions and millions of books, articles, commentaries and opinions describing and defining “What is a Christian”, and, how a Christian should think, behave and what they should do.  It can be a bit daunting and confusing, but, it need not be.

The Bible, if read in context of itself and read at face-value (except for the obvious metaphors, idioms and similes) the Truth clearly emerges.

Here is an example of KEEPING IT SIMPLE when asking…

1. What is a Christian?

2. How does a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, think?

3. How does a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, behave?

4. What is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, to do?

Here are some, out of numerous scripture verses, that may help answer this important, but basic, questions – all without opinions.

1. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?

Acts 11:21-26 ” And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.  The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then, when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with a resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul;  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they [ac]met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

John 13:34  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Acts 1:8  “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

John 15:5  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

 

 2. HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN, A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, THINK?

Philippians 2: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross.

 Philippians 2:1  “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassion, make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

3. HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN, A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, BEHAVE?

 John 5:19  “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever [e]the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

 John 5:30  “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

John 12:49-50  For I did not speak [s]on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

 

4. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN, A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, TO DO?

 John14:10  “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

 MY CONFESSION

(memorize and repeat as your confession, and be strengthened)

 Think.

 Philippians 2: “I will have the attitude in me which is also in Christ Jesus, Who, although existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:1  “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, I will make His joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose as Jesus. I will do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind I will regard others as more important than myself; I will not merely look out for my own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 Behave.

 John 5:19  “Therefore as a follower of Jesus, is say, “As the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing, I will do the same; for whatever the Father does, these things the I will also do, in like manner.

 John 5:30  “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear the Holy Spirit, I judge; and my judgment will be just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of God through the One He sent, that is Jesus.

 John 12:49  “For I will not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Jesus has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Jesus has told me.”

 Do.

 John14:10  “I believe that Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Him, and He is in me.  The words that I say to you, I will not speak on my own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works through me. Believe it when Jesus says that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him, and He is in me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Jesus, the works that He does, He will also do through me; and greater works than these I will do; because Jesus has gone to the Father. Whatever you ask in Jesus name, that will He do, so that the Father may be glorified.  If you ask Jesus anything in His name, He will do it.

Let’s pray for one another and hold one another up, until that day – may God find us faultless when He comes.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

More valuable resources at these links:

Knowing and Doing the Will of God.  Do you ever wonder about “The Will of God for your life” or for your life’s circumstances?  It is recognizing and continually doing God’s Will in the course of my life that determines the outcome of His Will for my life

Experiencing God’s Will.  Have you heard this ‘funny definition’ of Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.”  I guess it is sort of funny, but because it bears so much practical truth, it’s really not that funny, especially if you are struggling with an issue. Sometimes it seems, the harder we try, the worse it gets. We might have success for a while, but then we slip back into the same old patterns. We try to lose weight, or we try to stop a habit, over and over and over, we keep using the same old methods, and nothing changes, permanently.   The Bible says to “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

What We Believe.  Our saving faith in Christ Jesus and our Biblical Christian World View determine how we approach all ares of life. We express our Christian World View through politics, theology, art, sociology, philosophy, ethics, anthropology, the humanities, science, history, law and government. But, in the end, this music video (creed and confession) captures the essence of what we believe.

 

SAVING FAITH and the Demoniac

 

(Please note, links are used in place of footnotes for references and citations.  Please review each link in order to get the full teaching on these matters.  Also, you can pause the Audio podcast to follow a link and resume the audio when ready.)

SAVING FAITH – THE DEMONIAC – Episode 4

Matthew 17:14-20  says, “When Jesus, Peter, James and John his brother came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying,  “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.

” And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”  And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”  And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

This important event gives us a visual of what Spiritual Warfare can look like.

First, this man describes his son as “lunatic” which translates from the Greek word, “seléniazomai”, to be moonstruck; lunatic, to be epileptic (epilepsy being supposed to return and increase with the increase of the moon).  We find out a few verses later, when Jesus heals him, that his symptoms are because this boy has been possessed by a demon.

The disciples had tried to heal the son, but, were unable to drive the demon out of the boy because of ‘the littleness of their faith’.

It is obvious that Jesus is displeased with his disciples, to say the least.  He chastises them, saying, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”

Note that the word “unbelieving”, translates as, incredulous, without Christian faith; not to be trusted, perfidious; heathen), and the word (“perverted” translates as to distort, misinterpret, corrupt).  A harsh indictment, indeed.

It is both interesting and frightening that although Jesus uses the word “generation”, it is apparent that His angst is directed primarily at His disciples.  It is also interesting that Jesus, knowing His time is short on earth and that He will soon face a humiliating and excruciating death, says “how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”, as if to say He would rather be gone than to have to deal with this incredible absence of faith and earthbound, twisted and corrupt understanding of God and His ways.

Jesus concludes His remarks with, “for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” The phrase “for truly I say to you” (‘say’, from the Greek word ‘lego’) is emphatic.  Jesus was not calmly teaching His disciples as much as He was reproving them and admonishing them to embrace faith in Him, do the impossible and “move some mountains”.

This is not just a story for us to read, to muse over or get excited about.  It was, and is, a message from Jesus to His disciples, both then and now.

His words were spoken prophetically and emphatically (and, in the aorist tense), which means that this is a command and an action which has no regard for the past, present or future, it is an ongoing action; i.e., it was true yesterday, it is true today, and it will always be true!  This means that these words were not just for the disciples or for the people of that generation, His words were for all people of all time.

These Words are for you and for me:  “Have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this or any mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

This is how we – you and I – will engage the enemy, Satan and his demons and beasts – with faith the size of a mustard seed.

You and I will silence the ignorance of foolish men, we will pull down strongholds of darkness, we will destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.  We will be ready to punish every disobedience.

We will put armies of the darkness to flight and will destroy the devil’s works of sickness, disease, fear, doubt, calamity, poverty, loneliness.  This is how we cast out demons, vanquish evil from our land and cause the devil and his legions to flee.

He has given us – you and me, as His disciples – authority

  • Over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and
  • To heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness
  • To Heal the sick,
  • To raise the dead,
  • To cleanse the lepers,
  • To cast out demons.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10)

As important as the foregoing message is to us, let’s be mindful that it is not the “MAIN THING”.  The primary message for us is,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.”

Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Everything else follows the primacy and the Name of Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters and friends, let’s please enter into His service and be about doing what He has called, commanded and commissioned us to do.

The following chapters in this series are Biblical teaching on the exercising of your faith and the outcomes. This is not just for reading, but, for you and me to learn to exercise our faith and to see these outcomes in our own lives.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Go to the Next Episode, ASK IN FAITH BELIEVING

 

FORGIVENESS and RECONCILIATION

If you ever find yourself in these circumstances, this may be one of the most important messages anyone could hear, Christian or not, if you will only take it to heart and apply these life giving principals.

Pastor Chris Voorhees is the congregational life pastor at Covenant Church, Naples, Florida.  For brevity and to get to an important part of this message, “The Forgiveness of Sins”.  You can set the video to start at the 35:00 minute mark.  Listen to at least the 40:03 mark. (Or, listen to the entire message).

Forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation“,  is the article from Steve Cornell, founding and senior pastor of Millersville Bible Church, Millersville Pennsylvania, explains the important differences.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Lord, I pray you help us all see your Truth and embrace it, so we may live life securely and with an abundance of your Peace.

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.  3 John 1:2

THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  

John 6:29

It is interesting that Jesus commands His disciples (Christians) to do the works that He has done and even greater works than these.  We are to continue in His mission, using His methods and His ways. (John 14:12, Matthew 10:1).

  • This is how we fight this Spiritual war.
  • This is how we overcome by the word of our testimony and by the Blood of the Lamb.
  • This is how we endure to the end.

Most of those chasing around after Jesus, during His earthly ministry, misunderstood what He was saying about His Works, and not much has changed to this day.

For example, a large crowd that had stayed on the far shore, saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them.  Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. So, when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him.  They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

“Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”   John 6

It can be a bit confusing, but, take heart.  Jesus told us that He has prepared His Works ahead of time so that we, His disciples, would walk in them.  And, He promised us that He will be with us, in His authority, giving us direction and even giving us the words we should use.  (Matthew 28:16-19, Luke 21:15, Luke 12:12)

He prepared the good Works; we just ‘walk in them’.

Many churches are teaching to do your own good works, in your own ways as if to say, “those were things they did THEN. But, these are the things we do NOW.

But, NO!  Man’s ways are failing.  They are failing to engage the enemy .  Our enemies are evil, fear, doubt, hatred, vengeance, lust, poverty, war, disease, sickness and more.

Here are Jesus’ methods and ways, and here is exactly what He has told us to do:

And, Jesus said, And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  

Here is our methods and ways, just as Jesus has told us:

  • Believe on the One whom He has sent.
  • Jesus will give us the words to speak.  
  • The Bible is the Sword of God.  
  • Jesus has fulfilled the law on our behalf.  
  • We are made to be His witnesses.  
  • When we lift Jesus, people are drawn to Him. Jesus will heal the sick; raise the dead; cleanse the lepers; cast out demons.

Each of us must develop and have our personal plan and intention of making disciples, following Jesus’ model, in His Name.  I pray you will work on yours today!

Again, let’s please remember, it is God Who does these Works through His disciples. We do not accomplish these Works on our own.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS: Do these “Works” of Jesus sound like the 2021 postmodern Church?  It would seem that, many claiming His Name, are so far off His Message, His Methods and His Means, that one has to wonder what He will have to say upon His return?

(Will it be, “‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’;  or, will it be “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”)

Imagine with me, if you will, that the world could witness these works being performed on a global scale. Don’t you think it would change how the world thinks and behaves?  It’s our job now, to be obedient and available for Him to do His Works through us, remembering, it is not us who does the Works; it is God Who does them.

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 17

  • Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8  “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7–8).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  This teaching is, essentially, about prayer.  Jesus is not teaching just how to pray, but, He is commanding His Disciples to pray effectively.

Jesus is teaching about the critical importance or prayer.

He is telling us how we get results!  In contemporary terms (metaphorically), Jesus is saying that prayer, is a search and rescue mission!

At first look, it may seem like praying is making a simple request and presto, like calling a genie from a bottle, we have our answer. Or, glancing about and easily finding that which you are hunting.  Or,  tapping on a door and the gates of prosperity swing wide open to you.

Reading the rest of the verses in context of the Biblical teaching on prayer, we see the seriousness urgency of the matter.

Verse 9.  “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?

Verse 10.  “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?

Verse 11.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

The Greek word for “Ask” in these verses, “aiteó”, literally means to beg, to call for, to crave, to deeply desire, to require.  It is in the “imperative mood” which expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding.  Thus, the word Jesus uses, “Ask”, is not at all an “invitation,” but an absolute command requiring full obedience on the part of all hearers.

It is the same for the Greek word for “Seek”, (zéteó), which means, to seek in order to find out by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to inquire into; to aim at, strive after, to require, to crave, to demand something from someone.  This, too, is in the “imperative”.

To “knock”, (krouó), is also in the imperative and carries the idea of “unfailing”.  This is saying that it is not enough to ask and seek, but you must not fail to knock.

God tells us we must pray fervently to have effectual prayers.

In other words, you must use all resources at your disposal, praying fervently, seeking intensely, knocking persistently, with the purpose of obtaining the thing you seek, keeping in mind that God tells us that His Word will achieve the very thing it is purposed to achieve.

Most importantly, Jesus reminds us that He can only do what He sees the Father already doing, and we, AS HIS DISCIPLES, can be no greater than our Teacher.  It is God, Who accomplishes His Will through His servants, as we pray.

“THE EFFECTIVE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS CAN ACCOMPLISH MUCH” James 5:16

 Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?  _____________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH  THIS? __________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous:  AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – LESSON 16

ARE THE PROMISES OF GOD FOR YOU?

– FOR CHRIST FOLLOWERS ONLY –

THE PROMISES AND THE ‘ORACLES‘ OF

GOD’S BLESSINGS & PROSPERITY

“Biblical Prosperity” may not be what you thought.  Keep your understanding and practice of the Word of God in context of the entire Bible.

How to start:

  1.  Know and follow Jesus as His disciple.  This is the hard one.  So many people believe they are Christians because they followed some “Plan of Salvation” prayer.
  • But, Matthew 3:16  says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 And, verse John 3:21 tells us that “He who practices the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

One way to be sure about this is by checking on your prayer life, your attitude toward others and your humility before God.

Another test is, do you exercise Spiritual disciplines, or do you do what seems right or feels right to you?  If you only do what ‘feels right’ you are on the wrong basis.  (Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”)

Until you are truly a follower and a disciple of Jesus, what is written here will NOT work.

  1.  Know and understand the CONTEXT of what Jesus represents and taught.

(a)  Jesus came into the world to save people from perishing.

(b)  Jesus became ‘sin’ on our behalf and took the punishment of sin for us.

(c)  Everything that Jesus said or taught was from a Spiritual (Heavenly) Perspective. We must have that same mindset before we “claim” any promise of God.

James 4:3 tells us that “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.“

And, Philippians 2:5 tells us to “Have the same attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”

In other words, the material world emanates from the Spiritual realm and is controlled by the Spiritual realm.  We come from the Spiritual realm and will return to that realm, whether it is with God in Heaven or you perish into outer darkness and into Hell.  Jesus teaches this and until you understand this and adopt it as your basis for learning, you will never receive His Blessings and you will miss the Prosperity Jesus is offering.

  1.  Abide in Him and put His Word in you.  Dwell, Meditate, Speak and Act.

John 15:7  says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Matthew 21:21  tells us that “Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Sound easy?  Think again and read what Jesus says about His Teachings.

  1.  You must be born of water and The Spirit in order “to see and hear” (i.e., to understand and to do).  As an example:

Matthew 13:1  tells about, “That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.

Verse 2.  And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.

Verse 3.  And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow;

 Verse 4.  and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.

 Verse 5.  “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.

Verse 6.  “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

 Verse 7.  “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.

 Verse 8.  “And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

Verse 9.  “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Verse 10.  And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

HERE IS THE ORACLE OF GOD, found in Verses 11 and 12.  “Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

“For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

 Verse 13.  “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

HERE IS THE ORACLE OF GOD, found in Verses 14 and 15.  “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;

FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

 Verse 16.  “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

 Verse 17.  “For truly 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.

 Verse 18.  “Hear then the parable of the sower.

Verse 19.  “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

 Verse 20.  “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

 Verse 21.  “yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

 Verse 22.  “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

HERE IS THE ORACLE OF GOD, found in Verse 23.  “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

  1.   Blessings and Prosperity must begin on the ‘inside’ (the Spiritual Realm) in order to manifest in the natural world.  3 John 3:2 “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
  2. Every good material gift (blessing) comes from, emanates from, originates as, a Spiritual Blessing.  Even then, the material gift fades, but the Spiritual Gift remains.  It is never the other way around.  PUT YOUR FOCUS, YOUR MIND, ALWAYS ON THE SPIRITUAL, on the things above.
  3. Matthew 6:19  tells us, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
  • Verses 20 and 21.  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
  • Verse 22“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
  • Verse 24. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

 III.  Blessings & Prosperity of the Soul are Eternal, material blessings fade

  1.  Another way to see that the ‘material world’ is fading is found in Romans 8, which tells us that the mind set on the flesh, is DEATH.  But, the mind set on The Spirit of God, is life and peace (Spiritual Blessings and Prosperity).

Romans 8:5 tells us, that, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but

  • those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
  • Verse 6For the mind set on the flesh is death,
  • but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

 BIBLICAL PROSPERITY

Now that we have established that

  1. You must be born again to experience the blessing and prosperity from God
  2. The Blessings and Prosperity from God are of a Spiritual Nature
  3. The natural blessings which manifest or flow from the Spiritual (life) are temporary and fade (death)
  4. Spiritual Blessings and Gifts are Eternal
  5. You cannot serve both God and wealth
  6. You must stay focused on things Above, that is, on the Spiritual (GOD)

HERE ARE THE BLESSINGS OF SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY

  1.  ETERNAL LIFE: John3:14 says,As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; Verse 15. so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

John 3:16 tells us that, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Verse 17. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Verse 18. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  1.  ABUNDANT LIFE: John10:9 says,“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
  2.  PROSPERITY AND GOOD HEALTH: 3 John 3:2 says, Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
  3. MANIFEST BLESSINGS:
  4. OBEY GOD:  Deuteronomy28:1 says, “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being   careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, The LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
  5. IRRESISTIBLE BLESSINGS:  verse 2. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God:
  6. OMNIPRESENT BLESSINGS:  verse 3. “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
  7. GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS: verse 4.  “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
  8. NATURAL BLESSING:  verse5. “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
  9. CONTINUAL BLESSINGS:  verse6. “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
  10. PROTECTIVE BLESSINGS:  verse 7“The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.
  11. OMNISCIENT BLESSINGS:  verse 8 “The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
  12. HOLY BLESSINGS:  verse 9“The LORD will establish you as a holy peopleto Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. verse 10. “So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.
  13. ABUNDANT BLESSINGS:  verse 11“The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
  14. ESTABLISHED BLESSINGS:  verse 12“The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
  15. BLESSINGS OF AUTHORITY: verse 13.  “The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,

“Do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”  Deuteronomy28:14

(NOTE:  “The RIGHT and The LEFT” in these verses, from the Hebrew language translates as:

When you have a need or are praying for a blessing, do not turn to the “RIGHT” hand of personal effort or in your own strength

 Nor to the “LEFT” hand of wrapping yourself up in the cares of this world so as to make your request in your own image (imagination)

As Joshua 1:7  says “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

Repeating them or simply ‘claiming’ them will do little.  Do not decide in your own mind what the answer will look like ahead of time.

You must believe God at His Word.  Meditate on the Word, pray His Words fervently to Him, believe it will happen and give thanks!   Wait upon the Lord, He is faithful complete the thing He has begun.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young