The Lord Our Helper

Psalm 18 gives us insight into how we can achieve victory over all our troubles. The first part of the Psalm David declares that the Lord is the one who gives him help. The Lord is able to deliver him from trouble.

This proclamation assures us how mighty the Lord’s power is towards us. When we declare God’s sovereign power over all things then our faith level rises. We are reminded where our help comes from. Not in man or any other source but in the Lord our God.

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:1

David then declares, “I will call upon the Lord who is my strength, my deliverer, my power, my shield and my high tower.” 

From declaring who the source of our help is, David then proclaims that when we call on the Lord in our trouble he is able to save us. It is important to note that calling on the Lord to enter our situation is when he is able to intervene. The Lord will never intervene without our request or the request of an intercessor.

This spiritual principle is seen throughout scripture.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6

David gives the Lord praise. “I will praise the Lord who is worthy.” 

Praise is an important part of spiritual warfare. Praise is different than worship. Praise declares the Lord’s sovereign power over all things including the devil’s plans and schemes.

O Lord, thou art my God;
I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;
for thou hast done wonderful things;
thy counsels of old
are faithfulness and truth.
Isaiah 25:1

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. Acts 16:25

Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope thou in God:
for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11

Next David declares what the Lord is able to do for him. How he is able to deliver! By faith David declares what God is going to do!

I shall be saved from my enemies. I shall be saved from the floods of adversity and sorrow. (depression) I shall be saved from snares and obstructions. The Lord shall silence my accusers. The Lord shall hear me when I cry for justice. He will take vengeance on my enemies and make them bow the knee under the authority of the Lord our God. 

David then sees with the eye of faith what is happening in the spiritual realm as he prays. David sees the angelic realm ushered in by the wind of the Spirit. He sees the darkness and waters of affliction flee before the Lord’s majesty. David hears the voice of the Lord speaking in the heavenlies with the fire of authority. 

David watches in the Spirit as the Lord sends forth his arrows against the enemy. He hears the Lord rebuke the enemy and expose the evil one’s strongholds. 

David declares the victory. “The Lord took me out of my trouble. He drew me out of affliction unto himself. The Lord is my rock. My security. He brought me from bondage to freedom. He delivered me because I belong to him and he loves me. The Lord sees me clothed in his righteousness and knows that I have put my trust in him. Therefore the Lord honours me and shows his mercy by becoming my light in the darkness. ” 

David’s faith is now raised to a new level. “With my God I can run right through an army of the evil one. I can by my God leap over all obstacles. The Lord gives me strength and victory. He sets me above all my enemies. ” 

David has learned the art of warfare. He is taught that the strongholds of the enemy have to come down when he trusts in the Lord to battle for him. David learns that God’s protection is given when he wears the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. David is kept from falling and delivered from all the enemies attacks when he declares God’s greatness and majesty. The devil is put under the feet of the Lord’s righteous, David learns this because the Lord who is a mighty warrior has maintained his cause. 

Then David boasts in the Lord. He declares to everyone that the Lord girded him with strength in the battle. The Lord dealt with those who rose up against him. The Lord has destroyed the avenger and silenced the tongues of his accusers. David is now the head. He is the victor while the enemy is the tail.

David tells others that they too can have this victory. He says to all,  “Blessed is the Lord who does marvelous things ! The Lord will bring the lost out of darkness. He will deliver the captives. He will bring them from darkness to light. He will set the sinner free! The Lord will show mercy to all who call upon him.” 

We learn from Psalm 18 that when we call on the Lord in trouble he girds himself like a mighty warrior ready to fight on our behalf. When we declare the Lord’s greatness and declare what he will do for us then our faith is released and the Lord begins to battle on our behalf. 

As we see by faith what God is doing in the spiritual realm we will see those results in the natural realm. Our victory is sure. We are then able to declare to others what great things the Lord has done for us. When we give our testimony others can also be set free! They can be victorious over all the works of the evil one too. 

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” PSALM 18: 17-19 

For who is God save the Lord? Who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. PSALM 18: 31-39

Steps to victory

  1. Declare that the Lord is the one who can give you help. The Lord is able to deliver you from trouble.
  2. Call upon the Lord to intervene in your circumstance.
  3. Declare that he is able to deliver you!
  4. Praise the Lord. Declare his power, his ability, his greatness!
  5. Declare by faith what the Lord is going to do for you!
  6. Declare by faith what the Lord is doing for you!
  7. Declares your victory!
  8. Boast in the Lord! Tell others what great things the Lord has done for you!
  9. Tell others how they too can have victory in Jesus!

Walk in the Spirit

Scriptures tell us that the Christian’s war is against demonic principalities, evil demonic rulers, and demonic powers in high places, but did you know that the biggest war we wage against is the war against the carnal nature? Demons are like vultures; they can only prey on uncrucified flesh. (Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 2:11)

Our battle according to the Bible, is against the bodily appetites of our 5 senses in this earthly realm which are in constant opposition to God’s word. The bodily appetites of our 5 senses or the carnal nature, are always trying to usurp authority over or exalt themselves above our spiritual born again nature, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5-7, Galatians 5: 17-26)

 The Bible tells us that out mind is where this battle resides. All the spiritual warfare against the satanic realm we do will be useless unless we put to death or crucify the carnal nature.  (1 Peter 1:13,Galatians 5: 17-26)

 If our ways of thinking are contrary to Biblical principles, then the flesh will have the advantage. That is why it is important to renew the mind with God’s word. When we put Biblical principles above what our 5 carnal senses think or desire then we are operating in faith. (Ephesians 4: 23-27)

Faith in Jesus Christ is the key to all victory. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Why?

Because whoever comes to God in faith with their struggle or need, to seek his face for answers, will find that God is both willing and able to move on their behalf. (Hebrews 11:6-8)

 Scriptures tell us not to be conformed to the thinking of this world system but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind so that we will know God’s perfect will for our lives. (Romans 12:2)

Ps 119: 9-11 says that in order for our ways to line up with God’s ways we must seek the Lord with our whole heart. We do this through prayer, meditation and confession of the scriptures. (Psalms 119:15,Matthew 8:8, Romans 10:9,10, 1John 4:2, Jeremiah 1:17, Deuteronomy 18:18)

When the word of God dwells in our heart or spirit, then the word of God, by the Holy Spirit will keep us from yielding to the carnal desires and carnal ways of thinking. (Romans 6:13)

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is like a double-edged sword that rightly divides our spirit from our flesh.

Our spirit will not be dictated to by the flesh or carnal nature when it becomes separated unto God. The spirit man must dominate the old man in order to crucify it to the world and to the ungodly desires of the carnal nature.   

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that a man is what he thinks he is. If we think God’s ways, then we will walk in God’s ways.   

The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit agrees with the word of God to produce Holy Spirit life in us. We cannot become godly or live a life that pleases God in our own ability. ( 1 John 5:7, Romans 8:8, John 6:63,)

Paul tells us that he kept his body under the control of the Holy Spirit constantly. He died daily to his carnal nature. (1 Cor. 9:27)

Without the Holy Spirit making us born of God we cannot crucify the carnal nature. Religion, which is Christianity without the Holy Spirit, is a mechanical carnal exercise that does not please God. (Romans 8:8) 

Jesus said you MUST be born again to enter into God’s kingdom. Only Holy Spirit can make one born of God. (John 3:3)

 I will give an example of the difference between the religious Christian and the Spiritual Christian.

I watched this documentary about a Savant who was musically “gifted.” His parents spent a lot of money on music teachers so that this kid could become a musical “genius”. When I listened to this savant play his music, I could sense in my spirit that he had a mechanical form of musical genius. This savant had the ability to copy and understand musical concepts, but the music he played sounded like it had no “soul.” Although he played well without any error, the sound he produced was a mechanical sound.

I wondered why this would be so. Then when a musician began to play along with this savant in a duet performance, immediately I sensed a big difference between them.

The musician’s playing had life or “soul.” My Spirit felt uplifted when I listened to his playing. Then when the Savant began to play, I understood what I was discerning. The Savant had a form of musical talent, but he did not have a real gift for music. He had a learned structural performance that was very mechanical. His music lacked “life.”

The savant knew all the cords and the structure of music, but he did not have a real feel for music. He had no inspirational influence.

If our ears are opened by the Holy Spirit it is impossible to be fooled by the mechanical performance of the religious Christian. It may look like a good performance but when the real Holy Spirit filled Christian comes along and operates in the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit, you will immediately sense the difference.

You will sense the life of the Spirit, the supernatural gift of God residing in the Holy Spirit filled Christian. (dunamis power)

The mechanical performance of the religious “Christian” is pale in comparison to the Holy Spirit inspired life of a born again Christian.

 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:5-

The word of God and the Holy Spirit work together to crucify the carnal nature. We must have both in order to perform the Lord’s good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)

When the word of God dwells in our hearts by faith, and is ignited by the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit then we will produce a life that pleases God. A Holy Spirit inspired life!

The Gospel of Grace

The Bible tells us that we are justified by grace (Charis) through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:7)

To be justified means to be made innocent. To be made righteous.

However to continue living in sin according to scriptures will produce death. Now some say that this includes spiritual death while others say only physical death due to consequence for sin. Regardless of that age old question let us consider the point of the whole argument.

Death according to this verse in Romans is thanatos in the Greek.

Thanatos is a Grecian deity. According to ancient Greek beliefs this god puts people to sleep and carries them off to the underworld.

That doesn’t exactly sound like a position any Christian wants to find themselves in.

Paul tells us in Romans 6 that Christians are not to continue in sin counting on grace to abound or continue for them.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Romans 6:1

Romans goes on to tell us that those of us who have been baptized into Christ’s death have put off the old man and are raised like Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.

When Jesus rose from the dead he took the power away from Thanatos (to take men to the underworld). So now that old devil Thanatos has no more ability to keep the Christian under his dominion.

Christians who are born of God have a new Lord who rules over their life. Jesus Christ the righteous.

Since this is true, scriptures tell us the old man is dead to sin. Thanatos has no more authority to rule over the blood bought redeemed.

Jesus took the keys or dominion away from Thanatos and his partner Hades. 

These two demons have no power to rule over the Christian.

Giving sin or hamartia place in our life gives Thanatos opportunity to rule over us.

Hamartia is the Greek word for sin. It means to come to a tragic end in ancient Greek literature.

When a character in an ancient Greek story came to a tragic end it was because they  committed a grievous mistake or error in judgment.

Hamartia by the ancient Greek definition is the inner quality or character of a person which causes the action to occur. In other words the sin or hamartia nature. This bad action determines the character of a person.

How a person reacts to life circumstance determines the character which in turn creates the outcome. The consequence for hamartia always results in a tragic end.

This word is used by Paul to show that bad behavior results in a negative consequence. Whether you are a Christian or not. Sin will always lead to a tragic end.

In Jesus Christ this nature or hamartia is done away with. Instead of coming to a tragic end the Christian whose sins are forgiven now result in a good end.

Christians (born of God) have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. To be alive unto God is to have the new man yielded to the Holy Spirit which exercises dominion over hamartia. Thus preventing Thanatos from having his way.

The key to this equation being realized is the phrase “know ye not.”

Don’t you know that you have been baptized into Christ’s death? He has tasted death for every man. Don’t you know that the whole of hamartia has been destroyed? Don’t you know that you are made free from the dominion of Thanatos so you don’t have to come to a tragic end?

The key is knowing. When you know you have been delivered from the power of darkness then you can yield to the Holy Spirit. You are bought with a price. Redeemed from Hades and Thanatos. Set free from their dominion to serve God in newness of life!

So don’t let hamartia reign in your mortal body. Rather yield or give over your members or body to God so he can control your life by his Holy Spirit.

The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-14

Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife?

This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.

Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.

Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.

Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.

Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.

To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.

This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.

Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.

“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.

According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.

Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.

Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?

A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.

What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!

What does the world esteem highly?

John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.

So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.

If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.

Remember that Jesus gave this warning.

Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.

Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.

How did Jesus Christ suffer?

He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.

God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”

John 15:18-25

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

Be a Light

While today we think of the word “offend” as insulting one’s standard or principles, the Bible has a different definition.

Depending on the context of the verse, ultimately the word offense in the Bible has the same connotations. To offend someone does not mean to insult someone’s principles but rather to cause someone to fall.

Offend in the Hebrew  language has several definitions but all pertaining to the same concept. It can be translated as châbal which means to pervert, corrupt or spoil.

It can be translated as bâgad which means to deal deceitfully, be treacherous or unfaithful.

It can be mikshôl which is to be a stumbling block or cause to fall.

It can be âsham which means to perish, become desolate, be found guilty, to trespass.

In the Greek language the word offend can be translated as skandalizō , skandalon or ptaiō which all mean to entrap, to trip up, to entice to sin, to cause to stumble.

In effect, “to offend” according to scripture means: to cause someone to fall, be a stumbling block, to corrupt, cause to err, to pervert, to spoil,

Jesus tells us what he thinks about offending others.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The epistles of the apostles reiterate this admonition.

But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Roman’s 14:13

What the Bible is telling us is to try and live our life in such a way that our conscience is clean. Even if it means giving up something that would cause others to reject Jesus Christ.

In this way we can be a witness in the world.

Now we are not going to be able to please everyone and some people will find fault with us no matter how holy we live but we must not deliberately offend or be nonchalant in our witness.

Paul said he became all things to all people that he might win them to Christ. In other words wherever he went he respected (within reason) the culture he was in. He maintained his Christian witness while not offending anyone on purpose.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22

The cross in and of itself is an offense to some people. They may behave very inappropriately towards Christians if they have an offense towards the gospel. If they do that they may cause themselves to stumble away from the truth. (1 Corinthians 1:22)

However, as Christians we must in all good conscience live in the light, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be a stumbling block deliberately to another person.

That means not causing anyone to do anything that goes against their conscience or doing anything in front of someone that may cause them to fall even if we have liberty to do it.

Jesus gave us an example in scriptures. He paid his taxes so as not to offend, he took a lowly position in order to not be offensive to others, he fulfilled all righteousness even though he was Lord of all and he remained humble throughout his walk in this earth.

Jesus tells us that just as he laid down his life to be a benefit for others so should we lay down our lives for the benefit of others. It does not matter if it causes us discomfort, rejection, or ridicule.

What matters is that we do not offend in all conscience by putting a stumbling block before others.

A perfect example of this is Paul’s attitude in dealing with the Corinthians.

Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:13

Dear Father in Jesus name help us to not be a stumbling block to others in this world. Give us your wisdom in every situation. Let your light shine through us always. Amen

Have the Same Mind!

1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?

Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.

Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.

Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.

God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.

Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.

Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.

According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.

To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit. 

Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.

Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?

 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.

Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.

Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.

Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.

Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.

No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.  

Think about that! When we patiently endure and pray then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.

The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

The Gift of God!

When someone offers a free gift automatically we ask, “What’s in it for you?”

Human nature is not so trusting. Most of us have not fallen off the turnip truck yesterday! Something free usually has a benefit for the giver in there some where.

I would like to point out that God’s free gift has no benefit for the giver at all. In fact quite the opposite. All the benefits go to the recipient!

What could one possibly give to the God who made everything and owns everything? Ever try to buy a rich friend a gift? Quite impossible actually. Even if you gave a home made card all you have given is sentiment. Nice to know they are thought about but still you can’t measure up. They can get anything they want for themselves!

God has given a gift to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Everyone who puts their trust in him for salvation will be given eternal life. They will pass from death to life.

This free gift of God’s salvation is motivated by his love and is an expression of his mercy. This free gift of salvation is God’s undeserved unmerited gift.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

The gift of God is not earned! We can’t work for it! We don’t need to do penitence or any kind of work or ritual to get it. A gift is simply received! That’s it!

The great thing about receiving God’s free gift is that not only are we saved by grace or undeserved mercy BUT a part of the gift is the empowerment to live a life that pleases God! He gives us the ability by his power to endure all trials and tribulations in this world because we have the assurance of an eternity spent with him.

He provides all our needs because he is our all in all! God gives us his free gift of salvation and he takes care of us while we are in this world as well!

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9

 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

God’s grace saves us and also empowers us to live a life that pleases him! As we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we are blessed with God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

Saved by grace is different than being saved by faith as some in error preach. They put the cart before the horse!

This difference is very important. If we are saved by faith we make the salvation experience about our own effort, our own ability, but God has chosen grace because it involves no effort on our part at all.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If we had anything at all to do with our salvation we might have reason to boast but God has made salvation a free gift to those who receive (through faith) this gift of his mercy.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

Not only does God give us grace to be saved but he also gives us grace to stay saved!

Are you trusting in God’s grace through Jesus Christ for his salvation? All you have to do is ask! Turn to Jesus with all your heart for he is mighty to save!

Consider The Lilies

In Matthew 6:28 Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lilies of the field.

The most probable flower that Jesus was referring to is considered by plant specialists to be an Anemone coronaria, a common field flower which can be red, purple or pink with black centers.

The Anemone coronaria incidentally is Israel’s national flower. They are usually found in meadows and grassy hillsides. In Jerusalem the red ones are more frequently found while in the basalt slopes north of the sea of Galilee blue and white are found growing on the hillsides.

The Hebrew name for this flower is Kalanit from the word kala which means beautiful like a bride.

Consider the lilies of the field. The Kalanit arrayed like a bride which Jesus says are more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory.

Jesus likened these field lilies to be more beautifully arrayed than Solomon’s kingdom. 

Considering that Solomon’s glory was a magnificent kingdom full of pomp and splendor this is a fantastic statement.

Why would the Lord say that field flowers were more beautiful than Solomon’s glory?

The fact that their name means bride may give us a clue.

Was Jesus looking to his future bride? His bride so beautiful that she is more beautiful than all of Solomon’s glory?

These field lilies are not only beautiful but Jesus told us that they do not toil or spin. That is they do not do any work!

To toil in Hebrew is kopiaō which means to work hard or labor until one is fatigued.

To spin is nēthō which means to spin yarn.

Spinning yarn was a laborious work in Jesus’ time. Spinning was twisting fibers together by hand in order to make material for clothing.

In Solomon’s kingdom all the pomp and splendor was achieved by hard work. Also the temple Solomon build was constructed by slaves. These slaves did hard labor. Probably from sunup to sun down.

The lilies of the field do not labor or spin. They just naturally grow and become beautiful without any labor at all. With rain and sunshine provided by their Creator the lilies of the field become beautifully arrayed in their glory.

It seems that Jesus is pointing out that under the law like Solomon’s Kingdom, the slave must work to build a temple or building for God to take up residence.

Those under the law are servants of sin who must labor under a ruler or the law, sacrificing animals to atone for their sin in a temple made by men.

Jesus is using a metaphor to tell us that the splendor of the dispensation of the law is not as glorious as the dispensation of grace where the beauty of the Lord resides in his bride.

The bride has no need to labor for the Savior has purchased her with his own blood. The bride has no need to spin or be clothed with the temporary intermedatories of animals because she is clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

The bride is altogether beautiful. Altogether lovely in her pure white garment! Altogether more splendid than the glory of the former dispensation!

Consider the liles of the field for they neither toil nor spin. They take no thought to toil laboriously to achieve right standing with God.

All the work has been done by Jesus Christ the Messiah ! (Yeshua Mashiach) It is finished!

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! 

“I Have Seen the Lord!”

It is interesting to note that the very first person that Jesus revealed himself to after he was risen from the dead was Mary Magdalene.

Why do you think that was? Something to think about!

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ disciples. She is mentioned many times in the gospels.

Because Mary was a common name of the time and several other women called Mary followed Jesus too the name Magdalene was given to distinguish her from the others.

Mary was probably from Magdala. A fishing village in Galilee. This is interesting because Mary Magdalene was the first evangelist to go and tell others that Jesus was risen from the dead!

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4: 19

Mary Magdalene was a disciple of Jesus Christ who also supported his ministry.

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-56

Mary Magdalene was a woman that had seven demons cast out of her. Why would scriptures mention that Mary Magdalene had 7 devils cast out of her?

Scriptures do not tell us that any of the disciples had demons cast out of them. To be demonized meant she had some kind of suffering. Maybe sickness or trauma or a sinful lifestyle. We don’t really know. What we do know is that Mary Magdalene became devoted to Jesus Christ. This means that whatever ailments she had she was truly grateful to be healed! 7 is the Hebrew number for perfection. Mary Magdalene’s healing was complete. She was made whole!

Mary Magdalene stood faithfully with Jesus as he was crucified. She never fled. She was there praying.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mark 27:50-56

This may be one of the reasons why Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus Christ risen from the dead and was commissioned to tell the disciples about it.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18

Since women’s testimony was generally excluded under Jewish law the fact that Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene first and commissioned her to tell the other disciples is significant.

“Women were not allowed to testify in court. In effect, this categorized them with Gentiles, minors, deaf-mutes, and “undesirables” such as gamblers, the insane, usurers, and pigeon-racers, who were also denied that privilege. (On the other hand, a king could not bear witness in court, nor could the Messiah, which somewhat lessens the stigma of that restriction.) ” https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/newsletter-jun-1988/the-role-of-women-in-the-bible/

Jesus never put man’s traditions above his Kingdom. His ways are not man’s ways.

And he said to them, ‘Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep; Mark 7:9

God sees differently than man sees. People value traditions, prestige, success and position.

Jesus sees into the heart. He judges by what is inside a person. He looks at the character.

Many times in scriptures we see what it is that God values.

Jesus values loyalty to him. 
Lowliness of mind,
Faithfulness to his ways
Commitment to his gospel
Obedience to his commands
Zeal for his glory
Faith in his word.

These are the characteristics that we can see in Mary Magdalene.

This is why Mary Magdalene was chosen to begin the very first evangelist outreach.

Have I not said if you would believe you would see the glory of God? John11:40

https://kimbalogh.online/2021/04/08/good-from-nazareth/