Chapter 16

Chapter 16

The tasty ‘nuggets’ that are in The Word, of which you will get your fill.

He is the LORD our God: His judgments are in all the Earth. Psalm 105:7

As often as we want to acknowledge that there is a prince of this world, we have to realize it to and learn how to place all at the feet of our Father. On many occasions he was called such. As shared, we were placed here on God’s Earth to be caretakers. This was robbed, earlier man had not a clue as to what existed before him. All is without age, the Heavens were created and set apart from the Earth. Parallel existences they are.

At times people are taken to see what lies ahead. We read it in Scripture:

Stephen “looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” Acts 7:55

Paul wrote that he “knew a man” (likely himself), who was “caught up to the third heaven” 2 Cor. 12:2

John “was in the spirit; and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” Rev. 4:2

When we ‘strive’ it is an opening for blessings! But The Spirit of God said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Chapter 17

Role of happiness. Teaching of happiness. Why happiness is important

Are you happy? This is our key reason for all we do, think and attempt as we strive to live. It is the key to our existence. Are you happy? I just have to ask. What is your definition of ‘happy’? Yes, I asked that. More importantly, what is The bible definition or explanation of ‘happy’?

Many verses paint a very different picture from the self-centered happiness that we pursue. For example:

“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves” (Job 5:17, NASB).

“Happy is he who is gracious to the poor” (Prov 14:21, NASB).

“Happy is he who keeps the law” (Prov 29:18, NASB).

“Behold, we count those blessed who endured” (James 5:11, NASB).

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed” (1 Pet 4:14, NASB)

“Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment”  (1 Tim. 6:6, NASB).

What does it take to make happy?

“He whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20, KJV).

When Jesus eventually came to the house of Mary and Martha, the dead Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Martha in believing what she had learned and knew, she told Jesus that if He had come early enough, Lazarus would not have died. Martha’s statement implied that Jesus came too late to do anything to help Lazarus.  Even though she believed that Lazarus would resurrect on the last day, she had hoped that Jesus would have come in time to heal him.

(John 11:5, 32–36.)

The wonderful news, however, is that Jesus is the resurrection and life. To our comfort, He is the same yesterday, today and for always. The positive, awesome thing is that when He came to save us. There was doubt in the heart of the enemy. “Oh! I can change him!” He thought. “I know scripture. I was here when it was spoken. The heart of God, I am aware of.” These must have assailed his spirit and, Yes! He tried. No matter what he tried, he came up empty handed.

Moving straight into the next phase. “I will turn these people, His supposed people against Him.” No matter what we read, He had no sin! Even the cetruriona at the crucifix believed!

The Holy Martyr Longinus the Centurion, a Roman soldier, served in Judea under the command of the Governor, Pontius Pilate. When our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified, it was the detachment of soldiers under the command of Longinus which stood watch on Golgotha, at the very foot of the holy Cross. Longinus and his soldiers were eyewitnesses of the final moments of the earthly life of the Lord, and of the great and awesome portents that appeared at His death. These events shook the centurion’s soul. Longinus believed in Christ and confessed before everyone, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54).

According to Church Tradition, Longinus was the soldier who pierced the side of the Crucified Savior with a spear, and received healing from an eye affliction when blood and water poured forth from the wound.

After the Crucifixion and Burial of the Savior, Longinus stood watch with his company at the Sepulchre of the Lord. These soldiers were present at the All-Radiant Resurrection of Christ. The Jews bribed them to lie and say that His disciples had stolen away the Body of Christ, but Longinus and two of his comrades refused to be seduced by the Jewish gold. They also refused to remain silent about the miracle of the Resurrection. )https://oca.org/saints/lives/2012/10/16/102980-martyr-longinus-the-centurion-who-stood-at-the-cross-of-the-lord)

Whether we live or die, we are alive in Him! Moreover, God is always on time to perfect His will in our lives. Are there some situations in your life which you think are beyond hope and help? Jesus proves from today’s reading that He always has perfect timing.  Sarah passed the age of child bearing, yet God caused her to conceive and bear a child. No situation is hopeless in the hands of God. He can cause dead dreams and hopes to come to life. He did it for Lazarus. He can do it for you. Only trust Him!

PRAYER: By the power of the Holy Spirit, I command everything that is dead in your life, health, ministry and business to resurrect in Jesus name, Amen.

Chapter 18

We have ‘meat’ to eat and will not go ‘hungry.’

Now just what is meat?

He hath given meat unto them that fear Him: He will ever be mindful of His covenant. He hath shewed His people the power of His works, that He may give them the heritage of the heathen.

Psalm 111:5,6

And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his MEAT was locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4 )

But we go back to the original tongue this was written in broma pneumatikon, “food spiritual”. I understand that English has its ‘weak’ spots.

Nourishment for the soul, referring specifically (1 Corinthians 10:3) to the manna by which the children of Israel were miraculously fed and which was made by Paul prophetically equivalent to the broken bread of the Christian sacrament symbolizing the body of Christ. Hence,

(1) Christ Himself as the food of the soul:

“I am the bread of life” (John 6:48-58);

(2) anything that nourishes the spiritual life:

(a) obedience to the will of God:

“My meat is to do the will of him that sent me” (John 4:32-34);

(b) the truths of God in the Scriptures:

“Word of righteousness” = “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12-14); “word of God” (Matthew 4:4);

(c) the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)

I should ask: “Are you hungry?” Spiritually I mean. You can ‘eat’ in the pasture and have your fill. We can graze in His pasture and be touched, filled up till we spill over.

We, being of the Kingdom have been given so much.

Our prayer:

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. Psalm

51:14

blood·guilt

ˈblədɡilt/

noun

guilt resulting from murder or bloodshed.

We sin with thought and word, what we do and fail to do. Stand right!

A wonderful way to end this is meat for our soul.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

Psalm 63:1-8

Our meat to eat for the moment! Keep praising Him, He Loves you! There is none like Him in all the Universe! Hallelujah!

Just want to add a testimony.

And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Matthew 3:9

Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

God makes you laugh when He turn his prophesies into decrees. There is a difference between prophesies and decree. When you hear “Thus says the Lord” that is the prophecy for which you will need to wait to see its fulfilment. In contrast, when God suddenly decides to issue a decree, such as “Let there be light”, you will know that your waiting period is over, as your miracle will manifest immediately. In Genesis 1:3, when God said “Let there be light”, there was no need to vote on it, and neither was there any delay, because He had decreed it. Psalm 33:8-9 says one reason why the whole earth should fear God is that whenever He speaks, it is done. All He has to do is to speak, and the next moment, it is done. By the grace of God, I have witnessed God operate in this dimension. Sometimes ago, a couple came to us believing God for the fruit of the womb. I asked them, what kind of baby do you want? Their response was simultaneous: the man wanted a boy while his wife wanted a girl. So I said we should make it twins – a boy and a girl – and both of them said “Amen”. Exactly nine months after, the man was carrying his baby boy and the wife carrying her baby girl. This season, God is saying let there be light, healing, fruitfulness, increase, promotion, victory over enemies and fullness of joy in your life, and so shall it be!

Moreover, God makes you laugh when He decides to show you His Almightiness. After declaring that Sarah would have a child, she laughed, but denied laughing when He asked her why she laughed (Genesis 18:11-15). Then He asked, “is anything too hard for the LORD?” Every man definitely has his limits, and even spirits are limited, but not the Father of spirits (Hebrew 12:9). Hence, Luke 1:37 says nothing is impossible with our God. He can suspend physical laws and have His way any day.Matthew 3:9 says this God can produce children out of stones! Whatever the specialists have said cannot hinder my God. Where they are limited, He is not. The resources they lack, He has in abundance. What they do not know, is common knowledge to Him. His word is full of power and gives direction to anything he wants done. This is why I know that this season, everything standing in your way to laughter shall give way so that you can laugh. You shall laugh last and your laughter shall be unstoppable!

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”

– John 5:24

We are in Him and with God already. Time to start living our Life as promised.

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2

There are lots of scandals among church leaders today. Have you been hurt by a church leader or member? Are you feeling disheartened and disgusted, angry and tempted to forget about Christianity altogether? Stop! A certain pastor was out visiting homes, inviting people to church. He mentioned to a man that his neighbour was already a member of the church. On hearing that, the man said there was no way he could go near the church, because the guy had hurt him so badly, that he wanted nothing to do with a religion that would include such a person.

The pastor was quiet for a moment. Then he gestured towards a nearby piano, and asked the man’s little daughter to play a piece by Beethoven that was lying on the piano. The man protested: Beethovens music was much too advanced for his daughter. But the pastor insisted, and the little girl gave it a trial. It sounded dreadful. It was awful. When the little girl finally finished butchering that glorious piece of music, the pastor looked at the man and said, _”Boy, that Beethoven sure wasn’t much of a composer, was he?”_. The man got the point. He had been judging Christianity by the performance of one player, rather than focusing on the composer Himself, Jesus Christ.

Don’t turn away from Jesus just because some religious people turned out to be corrupt, or you have been wounded and bruised by some religious leaders. If you’re going to base your attitude towards God on the actions of one person, make sure that person is the Lord Jesus. Christianity is Christ.

PRAYER POINTS:

1. Lord Jesus, help me to focus my attention on You in my Christian journey.

2. Lord, help me to walk worthy of the calling You have given me, so that I dont become stumbling block to anyone in the Christian path.

3. Pray that God should soften the hearts of people who have left, or who refuse to join Christianity, because of some supposed Christians who had hurt them.

Chapter 17

“Let me do this…”

“I think I can…”

“What will they say…”

“If I may say so, this I’d pretty impressive…,

“Compred to what they had previously, I am a genius…”

Do any of these sound familiar? Ok, not ‘sound’, more importantly can we identity with the speaker? Difficult to day, but a few of those will not stand too far off from what we feel/express. Can we find anything to do with this in The Word?

I wouldn’t ask If You couldn’t. Let us read:  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Philippians 2:3

This encompasses our actions. You know what? For a second, I considered if God were not. The bible as a ‘guide’ to life lifts none up. It focuses on one pint. In reviewing ‘religios sharings’, we all have to focus on something. In our case as believers, it is God.

Jesus who came of Him, is a part of Him., and we review:

Jesus the Son is not a creature but rather shares in the selfsame nature as the Father. The Holy Spirit is then the life-giving Love breathed out between the Father and the Son.

Almost everyone believes that Jesus lived, that he was a teacher, a famous prophet, even a miracle worker, although they may not accept everything the Bible says about him. Islam believes he was a good prophet, that he died and went to heaven, and that he will come again (as a prophet of Islam); but it does not believe that he is God and that his death was salvific. And liberal teachers in the churches today might claim something similar, that he was a good Man, a great teacher, a wonderful example, but not God in the flesh. But the Bible and thereafter the traditions of the church claim much more for Him.

Pause! Lay it all down! For real, stop! And thinks on/of this. Is being a believer wrong? I already said that we should place my sharing to the side.

Let’s say that after this ‘life” there is more. No matter the belief system, we are laying footwork for a time and place to come. Now stands as the point- Time to throw in your lots/cast the dice. I am sure a lot do not ‘gamble’. Nut this represents a ‘gamble’ for your eternity. We are presented with choices daily; the “what” and the “why” are given. In this case, we take it a step further “where?”

There is so much to consider. We stand In a ‘spot’ and cannot help but wonder “What next???” We are besot by so much “need”. Even if we do not believe in God, a “Help me Lord!” escapes those lips. Who then are you seeking? Even if it is who I suspect it is just Who I think you refer to. Why, O! Why do you not remember Him when times are ‘good’? I can go through so very much here, but I think you can imagine a few things. But if you have those, do you give this ‘unseen force of goodness’ credit that is due?

We are introduced to The LORD, your saving grace- your all;

“As you sit quietly in My Presence, remember that I am a God of abundance. I will never run out of resources (our God made all that exist, I add that it was fairly simple, He spoke and it was and still is!);

“My capacity to bless you is unlimited. You live in a world of supply and demand, where necessary things are often scarce. Even if you personally have enough, you see poverty in the world around you. It is impossible for you to comprehend the lavishness of My provisions: the fullness of My glorious riches.

(Here again, I encourage you to take a break and think, you know what? Go for a walk and think while you are moving and be moved by His excellence. Let us take a moment to consider that which he has made. He placed all here. Let us contemplate: What are the most valuable things in life?

What are the most valuable things in life?

Family; the only people who will always love me, never judge me and always stand by my side, no matter what the circumstances. My parents are my friends and mentors, while my younger sibling is the trigger for my transformation into a child once again.

Faith and patience; these are two qualities that I highly value. Believe in yourself and God (if you do believe in Him) and learn to be patient. He who has mastered these two qualities can perform tasks that would be considered miraculous.

A small, tight group of friends;

A career based on passion and not pressure; I consider myself fortunate to be pursuing a career which I truly wished for. I have encountered many people who are frustrated with their careers and life, because they did not know where their desires lied.

A collection of good books; who wouldn’t want to visit Hogwarts again (Harry Potter), re-discover him/herself (The Alchemist), unravel mysteries with Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, understand the origin and basis of life (religious books) and have symbology lessons with Robert Langdon (Dan Brown Series)?

Childhood memories; I still feel nostalgic when I watch The Lion King, Toy Story, Tom and Jerry or read Tintin and Asterix. I also feel nostalgia when I realize the innocence and dreams I had as a kid. Growing up surely changes quite a lot.

Lifetime Experiences; reminiscing about travels to different countries, pranks with friends, crushes and love affairs, etc. If you don’t collect experiences when you can, you may regret it when you are no longer able to.

Gratitude and being content; the key to true happiness is being content and grateful for what you possess. Without gratitude, one cannot truly enjoy the pleasures of life. Not being content with what you have leads to greed and misery. Beware!

The ability to love, forgive and live in the present; we no longer love unconditionally, rather we love others until our interests are satisfied. We do not forgive those who have wronged us, even for the most trivial matters. We are so caught up in our past and judging others, we lose out on living and experiencing life.

A positive attitude towards life; being positive even in the toughest of situations will surely bring happiness to you. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Wa all remember this story, let us quickly go through and pull out its importance.

Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.

A lot of people have gotten their finger burnt in the place of seeking an alternative to God’s promise. When God’s promise is seemingly delayed, some Christians do not have the strength of character to keep waiting on the Lord and holding on to His promise; they therefore seek out and accept man’s alternative to God’s precious promises. Not only does man’s alternative take you off God’s course and provide you with quick fixes that cannot really fix anything, they also give you monetary joy that cannot absolve you of sorrow. This was the experience of Sarah. In today’s Bible reading, after Sarah gave her maid, Hagar, to Abraham to raise children through her, she was happy and relieved that her problem of barrenness seemed solved. But her relief soon turned into grief as her happiness became sorrow. Genesis 16:4 says,

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.”

Sarah took good care of Hagar, in expectation of using her as a means to an end. For the purpose of child-bearing, she exempted her from the usual chores that her fellow maids would perform. However, the moment Hagar conceived, the tables turned against Sarah. Suddenly, all attention shifted to the new queen of the house. Everyone and everything had to be at her beck and call. She no longer had regard for her mistress. Realizing she now had what Abraham earnestly wanted, she used her pregnancy as an excuse for gross misbehaviour. She took over Abraham’s attention and the poor man hardly even had time for Sarah anymore. When she was disobedient and her mistress tried to correct her, she would simply tell her, “Madam, if you were ever pregnant, you would understand what I am going through. “That was the beginning of Sarah’s sorrow”

When you are tired of waiting for God’s will, plan or timing, and you decided to follow one of the alternatives that comes your way, you will only be hurting yourself. May you not use your own hands to undo yourself! When God blesses you, he removes every form of sorrow from it Proverb 10:22, but whatever blessing you think you can derive from substituting God’s plan with an alternative will only be short-lived and will definitely come with sorrow. Some people who knew and turned down God’s will in marriage, following the dictates of their flesh, ended up in sorrow. A good number of them are secretly weeping today. They cannot cry out because people warned them before venturing into such marriages, but their ears were deaf to those warnings. In your own interest, take time to find out God’s will for every area of your life and apparently follow it. In years to come, you will understand why that was the best decision you ever made.

Key Point:

It is better not to be ‘blessed’, than to be blessed and have sorrow with it. For a true blessing comes with joy and peace.

Chapter 18

God Is Your Unfailing Source

‘The brook dried up.’ 1 Kings 17:7 NIV

The psalmist wrote, ‘Joyful are those…whose hope is in the Lord their God.’ Psalm 146:5

One author writes: ‘Sometimes when there’s not enough money to make ends meet, people tell us to budget and we chuckle. We look at the situation and say, “No way.” That’s the time to trust God. Your possibilities aren’t limited by past or present circumstances. If there’s not enough to pay legitimate expenses, do your best and then let go. Trust God to supply your need, then look beyond your wallet. Look to your source. Claim a divine, unlimited supply. Do your part. Strive for financial responsibility in thought and action. Ask for wisdom, and listen to God’s leadings. Then let go of your fears and your need to control. We all know money is a necessary part of living—and so does God.’

FB Meyer said: ‘The education of our faith is incomplete till we learn that God’s providence works through loss… There’s a ministry to us through the failure and fading of things. The dwindling brook where Elijah sat is a picture of our lives! “Some time later the brook dried up” (1 Kings 17:7 NIV) is the history of our yesterdays and the prophecy of our tomorrows. We must learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the giver. The gift may last for a season, but the giver is eternal. If the Lord had led Elijah directly to the widow at Zarephath, he’d have missed something that helped make him a better man—living by faith. Whenever our earthly resources dry up, it’s so we may learn that our hope and health are in God.’

Has your brook dried? Time to rise up and be blessed. I had seen an episode of “America’s got talent.” Which has become a world wide phenomenon. The amazing girl who had no arms came out to sing and play the piano with her feet! Yes, you got that right. Not only was she awesome, nut the crowd, the judges burst into tears. She was a singer but more so, could play the piano with her feet! I stop touched, amazed and corrected. I have and I habe to excess praise The LORD for family and for doing his will. Again, if someone had ever told me that there was a possibility of…I would have called them “crazy.” Now, take it, I know I am blessed. I have a chance to start again. Most of the time, peoples ‘start again’ will be right where they left off. I on the other hand truly have the ability to ‘start again.’ Yes, difficult to know just where, but by God’s grace, I know He has a plan for me.

Amazingly, the first thing that I felt/thought about/focused on was what I lost. How about what I have? Family, true friends. This is what you need to be truly see- your tomorrows!

Chapter 19

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.

(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

Numbers 12:1-3

Cush, also spelled as Kush, (/kʊʃ, kʌʃ/; Biblical: כּוּשׁ Kûš) was, according to the Bible, the eldest son of Ham, who was a son of Noah. He was the brother of Canaan (land of Canaan), Mizraim (Egypt) and Phut (land of Libya), and the father of the Biblical Nimrod mentioned in the “Table of Nations” in the Genesis 10:6 and I Chronicles 1:8. Cush is traditionally considered the eponymous ancestor of the people of the “land of Cush,” an ancient territory that is believed to have been located on either side or both sides of the Red Sea. As such, “Cush” is alternately identified in Scripture with the kingdom of Kush, ancient Ethiopia, and/or the Arabian peninsula.

In the first Hebrew translation of William Shakespeare’s Othello the hero of the play was named Ithiel the Cushite (איתיאל הכושי)

The word Cushi or Kushi (Hebrew: כּוּשִׁי‎‎ kūšî) is a term generally used in the Hebrew Bible to refer to a dark-skinned person usually of African descent. Initially the word was used by Hebrew-speaking Jews to refer to individuals of Ethiopian origin, derived from the Biblical land of Cush

I will start with this to draw quite a few pictures that tell a story. We are aware that Moses became a ‘friend’ to God. We will not that his choice of wife was a Negro. Yes, we aren’t supposed to use words like that in this day and age.

We are left to figure out exactly what he looked like. This goes farther, Miriam and Aaron (who had been chosen by God to assist Moses in addressing the Egyptiann pharoah) spoke against Moses for his acts and were punished for their thoughts spoken in ‘private’. Once again we see that there is no ‘privacy’. Yes, in our realm there may be noone watching, but in the parallel realm there may be myriads. As we pointed out, we have our memories. Funny enough if we really had ‘mind reader’s’ what would they see?

you and I are not just a number computers can trace; Jesus Christ knows all your needs, he knows each one of us by our names, he knows each one of us by our faces. Where on earth can we run away from the all knowing God! At times this is what most of us would think. We are so ignorant to think that the God who created us do not know our needs in this daily life. Friends, you and I are an Open Book before the Lord. There is nothing about us that is hidden from Him. Whatever concerns each one of us are already in His book. God knows us even before we were born. It was God who formed us in our mothers womb. In the Book of Psalm 139:13-16it clearly states how well God knows each one of us.

We can definitely know and say:

‘If you, Lord, kept a record of sins… who could stand?’

Psalm 130:3 NIV

We live in a results-oriented society where we’re rewarded for our performance in school, in sports, and at work. But God doesn’t reason like that, too many times we are equating God to ourselves who in fact are made in His image. In no way e rd God have eyes, a nose, a mouth. We are made in His image. It is wonderful to know that in the next existence we will have no hunger, thirst or need. There activities will in the spaceless realm. There are no limits. For example we have spoken about the ‘limits’ here on Earth. This ‘limits’ being gone in the place of our next and last stop (and best; undoubtedly.) At times it is a wonder to see people with a ‘knowledge’ wait patiently. Actually, I kind of figured that out. If we are rewarded for the good we do.  you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do…Ephesians 6:8.

God’s thoughts and ways are far above ours (see Isaiah 55:8–9). He’s not impressed by empty duty. ‘Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to Him.’ (1 Samuel 15:22)

Feelings and emotions are powerful, but they’re seldom objective. And when you base your worth as a Christian on your performance as a flawed human being, the enemy has a field day. Satan is called ‘the accuser of our brethren’ (Revelation 12:10); he wants you to run a checklist of your failures and mistakes. That way he can torment you by reminding you of all the times you lose your temper, criticise, fail to speak up for what’s right, or let a misconception go unchecked to make yourself look better. David said if the ‘Lord, kept a record of sin… who could stand? ’

Even the most disciplined believer has areas where he or she struggles and fails. It’s why we need God’s grace and forgiveness 24/7. ‘He knows how weak we are’ (Psalm 103:14 NLT), and He’s never surprised when, despite our best intentions, we fall short.

Reimar Schultze says: ‘God doesn’t measure us by our performance, but by our love for Jesus. Indeed, in the Kingdom of God our love for Jesus is our performance. Everything else is secondary. Desire to be with Him, to abide in Him, to keep in fellowship with Him, to please Him, is what our Master longs for.’ So put away your measuring stick and be glad God’s not grading you based on your performance, but on Christ’s performance.

We even go one tiny step forward, we being here on earth segregate people on culture, color, creed or belief. If a ‘mam of God, a prophet that came to know God in intimate ways would consider ‘inter-racial’ relations. Who are the ancestors? Or more importantly we have a picture that has been laid out. We are all essentially the same. So, we can start there.

Chapter 20

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

– John 3:3

We hear this so often, it must wear ‘tired’ in our ears and on our senses. What exactly does it mean to be ‘born again’? We should go back to the original Scripture and see what in its original form it described.

The Wikipedia definition is “In some Christian movements, particularly in Evangelicalism, to be born again is a popular phrase referring to “spiritual rebirth”, or a regeneration of the human spirit by the Holy Spirit. … Individuals who profess to be “born again” often state that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” In essence, a ‘realization’ that doing it ‘alone’ is a challenge. Surprisingly, The Word draws upon this concept so many times. We may have worries, problems, challenges and they are made do much easier when we learn how to lay them out.

The reminder to leave my burden at Jesus’ feet is one that I’m really working on right now. Sometimes, though, I really am not sure how I’m supposed to do that. What does it look like, practically speaking, to leave my burdens at His feet? Do you have a specific example of a time in your life when you did this?

The question is tough because we are taking sometimes intangible items (our burdens) and placing them in an invisible, though real place (Jesus’ feet)

In I Samuel 1&2, we find the story of Hannah, a woman whose greatest desire was to have a child. We can imagine the anguish this desire caused Hannah to have. In my book, The Sensational Scent of Prayer, the two prayers of Hannah are examined and described. The first prayer of Hannah simply requests that God give her a son. Without explaining all the detail contained in the book, let’s look at Hannah’s own description of her prayer:

but have poured out my soul before the LORD. I Sam. 1:15

Think for a moment of a pitcher filled with water.

This pitcher represents our life and the water represents our burdens. Wow- that pitcher sure is heavy when filled with all the burdens!

So we go to time with God and pour some water out of the pitcher. We talk to God about our burdens and we attempt to listen to what He is telling us.

But the pitcher is so heavy, we tire of holding it. And while much of the water (our burdens) remains contained in the pitcher, we walk away from our time with God, carrying the burdens with us.

A little while later, maybe hours, maybe days, we return to the Lord in conversation with our pitcher of burdens still in tow. And that pitcher seems even heavier than before because of the weight.

But instead of relinquishing it all to God, we carry our pitcher back out of our time spent with Him. Lugging the weight of burdens like we enjoy it- though we claim it to be our worst enemy.

Hannah gives us a wonderful description of what she did with her burden. She poured out her soul before the Lord.  She wasn’t about to walk away until she told God everything on her heart regarding the matter. She wasn’t about to leave that place until she had spent every ounce of her energy, strength and dignity explaining her need to God.

Again, I ask “What does it mean to be born again?” A born-again Christian is someone who has repented of their sins and turned to Christ for their salvation, and as a result has become part of God’s family forever. All this takes place as God’s Spirit works in our lives.

Even growing up Catholic at the time of confirmation though it is missed by many. In baptism as a baby; our parents made the decision for us. Now being ‘older’ and able to understand the ‘right from the wrong.’ And just what is ‘asked of us’, we are told where to leave our concerns our worries.

In the past, when John the Baptist baptize in the river, it was a big thing. But even he said, there is one coming whose straps on His sandals, I am not worthy to loosen. We have Him waiting patiently for us to open the door for Him to come in our lives.

And we see what was said; Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

– John 3:3

What did He mean? Jesus made this statement to a man named Nicodemus who was a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus had heard Jesus preaching about a new kind of kingdom, and he came to ask Jesus questions about it. Jesus told him that the way to enter this new kingdom was to be born again.

Nicodemus asked Him the same question you or I might ask: How can a man be born again? Can he enter into his mother’s womb again? Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the new birth He was talking about was not physical but spiritual. It was the beginning of a new life in a new kingdom.

Jesus answered, “Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.”

– John 3:5-7

The way back to God is to acknowledge our need of a Savior and to accept Jesus Christ

The term “born again” is one of the most used phrases among present-day Christians. Yet, if asked what the term born again means, most church members could not give a clear explanation. The importance of this subject is shown in what Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Jesus is saying that to be born again is to be saved. Being born again is the plan of salvation that Jesus authored at Calvary. It is imperative that we understand what is required for us to be born again!

All agree that when Jesus went to the cross, He brought in the means of salvation for everyone who will accept it. But what really happened at Calvary? What can it do for me? How do I accept what was done there in my own personal life?

At Calvary, there were three steps to the work of Christ: death, burial, and resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-4). It is very easy to see that these three steps make up the act of being born again spoken of by Jesus (John 3:1-5); to die, to be buried, and to rise again—that is to be born again. So we see that Jesus, through His death, burial, and resurrection, bought for us the plan of being born again spoken of in John 3:3, whereby we receive salvation.

The fact that Jesus purchased a plan of salvation for us is the greatest news the world has ever received. The thing we must understand is that not only was it necessary for Jesus to do something, but also it is absolutely essential for us to act upon what He did. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

The phrase “born again” literally means “born from above.” Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1-4, 18). John 1:12, 13 indicates that being “born again” also carries the idea of “becoming children of God” through trust in the name of Jesus Christ.

The question logically comes, “Why does a person need to be born again?” The apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (NKJV). To the Romans he wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sinners are spiritually “dead”; when they receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth. Only those who are born again have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God.

How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” When one is saved, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is the means to be “born again.” “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, will you consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart? You need to be born again. Will you pray the prayer of repentance and become a new creation in Christ today? “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).

Being born into a Catholic home, the term was really never used much. Of course I wondered why. Was this solely a “‘believers church thing”? I can be more specific. If ones ‘true’ relationship starts with the knowledge of Christ, what He stands for, came to fulfill and where we are in Him. We are part of a HUGE family (of believers)  and this concept ‘allowing old things to pass away and all things becoming new.’ 2 Corinthians 5:16 I would say “Sums it up.”

Published by Fellowship of Praise: ALL praise to God our Reason, Hallelujah!!!

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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