bible, evangelism, Faith, grace, Holiness, hope, prayer, salvation, Spiritual Warfare, Walking in the Spirit

Good From Nazareth?

Luke Chapter 4, tells us that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. ” If you are really the Son of God then prove it,” (my paraphrase)

Jesus does not comply. He had nothing to prove. Jesus knows who he is!

Considering the source, Jesus rejects the temptation. He tells the devil to take a hike.

Then after that temptation trial Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.

There Jesus becomes well known throughout all of that region. Jesus teaches in the synagogues, heals the sick, casts out devils. All the people are blessed!

After that Jesus comes to the city of Nazareth where he grew up and where every one knows him as Jesus the carpenter.

It was in a synagogue in Nazareth (where he probably went every Sabbath as a kid) that Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he is the fulfillment of that Messianic prophecy.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1,2

After closing the Torah Jesus sits down. Everyone’s eyes are on him.

Then Jesus gives notice to all the people that he had grown up with that he is the promised Messiah.

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:21

Only Messiah could fulfill that scripture. He knew that. They knew that.

The people of Nazareth were blown away by that announcement. Is this not Joseph’s son?

Whaaattt? Is he saying what we think he’s saying?

Then Jesus tells these people who he knows on a personal basis.  And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. Luke 4:23

Seems quite fantastic that Jesus knowing full well he would be rejected in Nazareth would make the announcement of his being the promised Messiah there. To all his friends and family.

Is there a bigger picture happening here?

Nazareth was a small town. Populated mostly with farmers, shepherds and labourers. It basically was a place with low social status.

That is why Nathanael said to Jesus “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46

Jesus goes to his own home town, small and insignificant, tells them he is their promised Messiah and they out right reject him!

Who saw that coming?

After Jesus tells them that a prophet is never honored in his own home town the people in the synagogue get so riled up that they literally grab Jesus and haul him to a cliff in order to toss him off. They were intent on harming Jesus. Maybe even kill him.

The guy had the audacity to call himself a prophet! That’s it! He’s out of here!

But passing through their midst…what? How could that happen? They had him by the scruff of the neck and he passed through them?

Well Jesus transported or something because he got away.

Then Jesus goes to the next town and preaches in their synagogue. The people in that place were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

That place loved him! At least they loved the miracles.

I think Jesus was making a point or a prophetic act if you will when he announced who he was in Nazareth.

Nazareth was a foretaste of what was going to happen to Jesus in the future. The whole nation of Israel would reject him but this time instead of throwing him off a cliff they would crucify him.

Interesting but it goes even further than that today. Now it seems the world is rejecting Jesus’ Christ’s claim to be Messiah or Savior of the world with the same old unbelief.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Where is the promise of his coming? Who made that guy a ruler over us?

Jesus gives the same answer today as he always does to the doubters. 

One day you will say to me …if you really are the Son of God ….prove yourself…make these stones turn to bread….fix all these problems we ourselves have created. You are only an historical figure. We don’t want you! Give us Barabbas. You know that rebel! We want him not you!

History really does repeat itself doesnt it?

There is a good ending to this story however. Remember what the angels said after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken up in the clouds in front of over 100 of his disciples?

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11

And don’t forget this time, “Every eye will see him!” Revelation 1:7

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Maranatha! 

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bible, evangelism, Faith, hope, salvation

Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Hebrew is bâţach. It means to have confidence in. To put your hope in. To be secure in.

The Bible tells us that those who put their trust in the Lord are defended and kept safe.

They are healthy and satisfied. They are shielded from danger. Delivered from the enemy’s wiles and they are blessed.

Proverbs 28:25
Proverbs 29:25
Proverbs 30:5
Psalm 2:12
Psalm 17:17

Many in the world do not have this kind of security. They put their trust instead in the universe.

To put one’s trust in the universe is to put trust in fate.

What is fate? By definition fate is events beyond a person’s control that is determined by a supernatural power.

In ancient Greek and Roman mythology fate was determined by the gods. When the gods destined one’s life it was predetermined by fate.

Fate or the universe in effect is luck which is failure or success brought on by fate (whim of the gods)rather than one’s own actions.

To trust in the universe or fate is really to trust in a supernatural power to order the events of one’s life.

What supernatural power are they trusting in?

The God of the Bible requires surrender to his Son Jesus Christ. YHWY requires accountability for actions. The outcomes of one’s life are determined by the choices one makes in life.

Isaiah 1:19, 20
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Joshua 24:14

As any logical person knows the universe is an abstract material element and not something able to determine one’s life outcomes.

The universe is matter and space as a whole that make up life as we know it. The universe is not able to determine the events of one’s life. That would be like trusting in the moon or a comet. These are material elements. There is no mind. No magic wand. No personality.

God on the other hand is a personality. He has a mind and supernatural power.

To trust in the one true God is to trust in a power that is higher than oneself. This requires allegiance. Not the whim and fancy of a fallen star disguised as a deity.

Why do you think that many people put their trust in the universe instead of God?

Because trusting in God means dependence on someone with the ability to have control over one’s life.

Trusting in random chance and the universe are less threatening to those who want to be in control of their own life.

The universe can be manipulated! Bamboozled! Conned into determining their outcomes.

What does trusting in the universe really mean?

Trusting in the universe means trusting in fate. Trusting in fate is trusting in luck, which determines good or bad outcomes.

When people say that they are trusting in the universe, in effect what they are saying is that they are trusting in fate which they hope will make them lucky.

The universe however is not the source of the outcomes because the universe is a material reality not a supernatural reality.

Whence then comes this supernatural reality? Fate is none other than a fallen one spoken of in the Bible.

Isaiah 14:12
2 Corinthians 4:4

A rebel who did not like to submit to the one true God. Therefore that rebel was cast out to dwell over the affairs of all the rebellious who dwell on the earth.

If one does not surrender to God who gave his Son Jesus Christ to save us all from the eternal consequences of having an non surrendered disobedient life then one’s fate is in no way going to be lucky.

In fact the Bible says that rebellion is like witchcraft. That is rebellion just like witchcraft seeks to dominate and control life events through the use of manipulation.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. 1 Samuel 15:23

Kind of like trusting in the universe or trusting in fate to get lucky.

Surrendering to Jesus Christ is trusting in the God who has definite good guaranteed outcomes.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 

Those outcomes are determined by obedience to God’s word which produce an abundant life. A life that is satisfied, safe, blessed and eternally secure.

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Faith, salvation

True Repentance

Repentance means to have sincere regret and remorse for sin. It also means to turn from evil and do good. (Jeremiah 26:3, Mark 1:4)

The Bible teaches that salvation is bestowed upon the one who confesses trespassing against God’s law and putting trust in the salvation provided by God. Under the New Covenant that salvation is provided through faith in Jesus Christ. Unless there is repentance there is no salvation. (Luke 13:3-5)

Belief in Jesus as in intellectual assent is not faith. May I repeat this. Belief as in intellectual assent is not faith. At least not Biblical faith. It is not enough to believe something in order for it to apply to you.

I can believe that soap will clean my body but unless I apply that soap it will have no effect on me. The same is true for salvation. One must receive Jesus through both repentance and faith.

The devil believes in Jesus. He knows Jesus is God who came in the flesh to save mankind but that does not save him. Why? Because he has an unrepentant heart. He is still in his sins and can never be saved. (James 2:19)

This is the same for people who believe in Jesus as Savior but are still in their sins. Salvation means to be saved. Saved from what? Sin! If one still lives in sin then that person is not saved. Why? Because there is no repentance. ( Romans 6:2)

Some Christians battle over the faith and works argument because they leave out a major prerequisite for salvation to occur in the first place. Jesus specifically said that if you do not repent you will perish which means to be eternally lost. ( Luke 13:3)

If one is really saved according to the Bible they will produce godly fruit. (Matthew 3:8-10, )

Works in and of themselves don’t save but works revealing godly fruit is the evidence of having been saved. (James 2:18)

When repentance comes to the heart through conviction or convincing of sin by the Holy Spirit then salvation can occur. Sorrow for sin is a prerequisite for faith to come. How can you reach out to the Savior to save you unless you know you need saving? ( 2 Corinthians 7:10)

To mentally assent to Jesus Christ as the Savior is the first step towards salvation BUT does not constitute salvation in and of itself.

The salvation equation is as follows. GOD reaches out by grace which is undeserved mercy to those who believe in Jesus as the Saviour and repent of their sins. Then faith comes to the heart to trust in the Saviour for salvation.

Biblical faith is not a human quality. To have Faith in God cannot come by one’s own ability. You can reason to believe with the mind in Jesus Christ but you cannot fully trust, rely upon with confidence in Jesus Christ the Savior without the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:17 John 14:6 )

That is where the confusion doctrinally lies. Mental assent is mistaken for faith. The Greek word PISTIS for faith is based on relationship. It is not acknowledging something to be so.

This is why Jesus said in the Bible that MANY will say to him in that day. “Lord, Lord did we not do all these things in your name? Then Jesus will reply “I don’t know you.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This is why James said. “I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-26)

A truly saved person will desire to live according to Biblical protocol. They will desire to be free from sin. They will not love the world or anything in the world. They will be constantly seeking God’s will for their life. (1 John 2:15-17)

If you are still living in your sins it’s best to be honest with God and ask him to bring you to the end of yourself where you hate your sin and want to give it up.

Perhaps, as Paul says, God will be merciful and grant you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:25)

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grace, Walking in the Spirit

The Salt Of The Earth!

Why Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt?

I think the Lord was trying to make a statement like, “I have now cleansed the land.”

Repentance will often lead to tears of sorrow. The salt in our tears are heart cleansing so after a good heart wrenching cry of repentance the soul is cleansed by God.

Our tears also have a physical effect on our body. Scientific studies have shown that tears help the body recover from stress by excreting excess proteins and the cortisol hormone which can be damaging to the body in excess. Emotional tears also release endorphins responsible for reducing pain and improving mood.

Salt cleanses from disease. Our bodies have a perfect balance of salt and water. If we don’t have enough salt in our system then disease may rear it’s ugly head. It’s the same with sin. Sin is a deadly disease. Not only can it kill physically but it can kill spiritually.

That is why the Lord calls his church to be the salt of the earth. As long as God’s people are here there is healing and salvation. But what happens if the salt looses its saltiness? Sin creeps into society and the world becomes perverted. Only salt purifies and preserves.

The ungodly can trod all over the world when there is an unsalty church and that is why we are exhorted by the Lord to be like salt. Be life preserving. Bring the salt to a sin infected world. Bring to others the cleansing of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Be the salt of the earth.

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Faith, prayer

Truth Produces Faith !

God’s word produces faith because the truth sets us free!

According to 1 Thessalonians 2:13 when we receive the word of God, as truth, then the word of God, will effectually works in us who believe it.

To work effectually in the Greek is energeō which means to be ferverently and effectively active.

So in other words if we believe the scriptures as truth in our hearts then the word of God is able to produce an outcome or result with intensity and passion.

The key to this effective ferverent working of God’s word to produce a desired outcome for us is to BELIEVE.

What does it mean to believe? The word believe in this verse is translated pisteuō which means to have faith, trust and confidence in.

How do we get this faith, trust and confidence in?

Roman’s 10:17 says faith comes by HEARING And HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD.

Wait a minute ! You mean in order to believe the word of God I must hear the word of God and believe it? Yes, you see unless the word that you hear is mixed with faith it will not bring you any profit. You can be a hearer but not a doer of the word of God the Bible says.

So you must hear the word of God being proclaimed AND then you must understand what you are hearing. Holy Spirit revelation or rhema is what produces faith.

Faith comes by hearing or inclining your ear to hear and hearing or the ability to hear as receiving truth comes by the rhema or living word of God through the Holy Spirit.

Head knowledge or theological education does not produce faith. Holy Spirit revelation of God’s word is what produces faith.

So how do I get this Holy Spirit revelation of God’s word? By inclining your ear! Reading the Bible with your ear open to heaven. Listening to the Holy Spirit as he opens your understanding to his truth.

This requires frequent visits to the secret place of the most High or as Jesus put it entering into your prayer closet.

As we pray that our understanding may be enlightened and that we can know what is the hope of our calling and the riches of the inheritance of the Saints. Then the Holy Spirit will reveal to us his word and when our understanding is enlightened we will receive manna from heaven or rhema. THEN faith will come ! ( Ephesians 1:18 )

Remember that Jesus was walking with his disciples after his resurrection and they didn’t know him UNTIL he opened their understanding and expounded to them the scriptures. (Luke 24:27)

When Faith comes by receiving rehma then the word revealed to you will begin to
work effectually and fervently to produce the desired result.

What are you desiring from the Lord Jesus? Healing? Provision? Sanctification? Deliverence? Whatever it is the answer is in the Bible. Read the scriptures concerning your need and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his truth to you about the matter by enlightening your understanding.

Then when faith comes for your need wait patiently for God to effectually work his word to manifest the desired outcome!

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Faith, prayer, salvation

Are You IN the Faith?

The Bible says that in the last days there will be a great falling away from the faith. (2 Thess. 2: 1-3) Many countries that once were Christian are not any more and many atheists and unbelievers today once were Christians. But were they really?

Scriptures tell us specifically to examine our hearts to see if we are really IN the faith. (2 Cor. 13:5) Are you really IN the faith or do you just believe in the faith?

Did you know that the devils believe the gospel? (James 2:19) In the same way many people who go to church and are even in the ministry today have an intellectual assent to Christianity but they are not IN the faith.

Just because you hang out in the barn with the cows does not make you a cow. You must have cow DNA and produce cow milk and other cow attributes. You can dress up like a cow, moo like a cow and hang out with the cows but still not be a cow.

The determining factor is your DNA. Were you born with cow DNA? If so then you are a cow. If not then you are an impostor or a cow wanna be and not a real cow.

It is the same with being a Christian. Are you born of God? (John 3 )Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you not only look like a Christian and act like a Christian but do you intimately know the God of the Christian, Jesus Christ ?

The Bible talks about believers who are sensual having not the Spirit of God. ( Jude 1:19) These sneak into homes and families (through many venues) to draw people after themselves. They like to have groupies. These make a loud noise, mimic many Christian attributes but rather than being in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ they are seeking after sensual earthy things. Many times its money and fame.

A popular Christian author personality recently denied his faith publicly. He didn’t live up to his own expectations. He fell from his self made pedestal. Now he is in the marketing profession. It doesn’t take a lot of discernment to figure out that this guy may have been a believer but he was never a Christian in the first place. His fruit is evident. (Math. 7:15-20)

Now I realize some Christians believe one can loose their salvation but from my close examination of scripture I disagree. Oh, one can be an impostor Christian either deliberately or unknowingly and fall away but that is because they never knew Jesus in the first place. Notice that the Lord tells these believers who did works in his name and yet still were in their sins …I NEVER KNEW YOU. (Math. 7:21-23)

When one has God’s DNA born of his Holy Spirit then that child of God not only looks like and acts like God but does God’s works by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in him/her. The born again Christian’s life is hid IN CHRIST and no one can pluck them out of the Father’s hand. Why? Because Jesus said MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN ALL. (John 10 :28-30 )

So here we see the key. No disappointment, trials, tribulations, temptations, failures, short comings or any other thing will move God’s born of his Holy Spirit children out of his hand of security and yes his eternity is secure.

My question to you today friends is are you really born of God? Do you know Jesus by his Holy Spirit in a personal way or do you just know about him? Do you live off of a second hand relationship with God by going to church and Bible studies or do you seek him in your prayer closet having intimacy daily with him. Do you know the Shepherd’s voice or do you just listen to his words from some one else?

If you know in your heart that you do not really know Jesus Christ personally in an intimate way I challenge you today as scriptures exhort to examine yourself. Are you really IN the faith?

If not then go to God and pray. Ask him to make you born of his Holy Spirit and baptize you with his Holy Spirit and lead you by his Holy Spirit. I guarantee you that if you are really sincere, God will make you his child born of his spiritual DNA because Jesus promised in his word that whoever comes to him he will never cast out. (John 6:37)

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