Tag: abundantly blessed
Daily Reading: (John 10:10):
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus did not come only to free us from sin or to give us a new nature. He came to give us a new life which includes other wonderful things too. When we preach the Gospel, we are telling people about the new life that Jesus offers to all. “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out, saying, “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life” (Acts 5:20).
God never gives us anything bad (James 1:17) meaning that God does not give us sickness, diseases, or any other sort of physical afflictions. Satan is the one who wants to steal from your health. He wants to destroy God-given dreams, dismantled families and friendships. He lies to you to destroy you because he knows there is a call and purpose on your life that is only for you. Our Lord Jesus said He came that we “may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The Greek word used for life is zoe, and it refers to the highest form of life, the life God lives by. He does not want you to simply keep breathing. He wants you to live a long, satisfying life, full of His goodness, wholeness, and peace.
The question I get asked from time to time is now that the devil has robbed something from me, what do I do now? The answer was always a part of John 10:10, “the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but…. I have come so you might have life, and have it to the full.” The restoration to abundant life that you seek is found in Jesus. The word restoration begins with rest. As you rest in Jesus’ grace and finished work, you will see your restoration, we find this truth in Matthew 11:28-30. No matter what you have lost, according to His Word, you can believe God to redeem all that has been stolen from you.
You don’t have to accept defeat or live in despair. You don’t have to be fearful of the future. Instead, you can say, “Lord, restore to me!”, knowing that His sacrifice at the cross has qualified you to receive and enjoy His incomparable restoration.
There was a young woman who was looking forward to starting a family with her husband. Only to have her dreams shattered when her husband died at a young age. Although her mother-in-law urged her to return to her own country to start over, the young woman refused. Clinging to her mother-in-law, she said, “Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).
When Ruth followed Naomi, her mother-in-law to Israel, she soon found herself in a tough predicament. Being a Moabite, she found herself among people who were in conflict with Moab, and she had no husband to protect her. It seemed as if the odds were stacked against her. But Ruth didn’t dwell on her unfavorable circumstances. Her declaration of her faith in the God of Israel revealed her dependence on the Lord.
“Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor,” she said to Naomi (Ruth 2:2). Her trust in the Lord as she embarked on the ordinary task of finding work to support her mother-in-law and herself became the starting place for God’s incredible restoration in her life.
What seemed impossible in the natural, Ruth’s life went from having nothing to having an over abundant, blessed life. She had no family, to now having a husband and a son. From being destitute to being well-provided for. And from being an outcast to being not just an accepted and well-loved member of society, part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. This is what the restoration of the Lord will do for you. Because our Lord Jesus has purchased every blessing, including restoration, for you at the cross, you can believe God to redeem all the time that has been wasted and lost. God’s heart is to restore to you whatever the enemy has taken from you.
God’s principle of restoration is not that when the devil has robbed you of something that God will simply restore it back to you. That would be nice but it would simply put you right back to where you started. God’s restoration is not 100% but 120% and even more in the New Covenant! 120% is based on the principle of restitution in the law of the trespass offering found in Leviticus 6:4–5. This principle of restoration was under the Old Covenant of the Law. How much more we who are under the New Covenant of grace—a far better covenant with God, based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6).
In the same way the Lord didn’t want Ruth to just survive, He doesn’t want you to just barely eek through life. Our Lord Jesus never brings us back to where we were, He will increase, improve, promote, and make everything better. Instead of dwelling on unfavorable circumstances, turn to your Savior and expect things to change in your favor. When you put your trust in Him, nothing in your life is beyond His restoration.
Daily Reading: (Exodus 14:2):
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.”
It would appear that they are hemmed in. They are turning back to camp. They are located opposite the center for worship of the lord of the north (Baal Zephon) who is the god of the sea and storm. What God will do by splitting the Red Sea right in front of the center of worship of the god of the sea and storm is to declare that Baal Zephon is no god at all. There is only one true God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
How did the Israelites camp? We learn in Numbers chapter 2 that God had a prescribed way in which the Israelites were to camp out? They would form a cross. The children of Israel all faced the tabernacle and trusted the Lord to defend them from their enemies. The message is that we are to look unto Jesus and trust Him to be our rear guard! We don’t have to look around us at what the enemy is doing, trust that the Lord will take care of us against the attacks that come from the enemy.
Why did God tell His people to turn back?
“Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this” (Exodus 14:3-4). If God didn’t reveal why He was doing this, I’m not sure the people would have listened.
What was the Israelites’ part of the plan in order to experience the victory of the Lord over the Egyptians? Camp out, rest up, and trust in God. This hasn’t changed. Our job is to enter into the rest Jesus gives us. It is His finished work at the cross that gives us victory over what comes against us.
Did you know that Exodus 14 is a picture of Psalm 23 and our Good Shepherd leading us? Listen to this.
They encamped Pi Hahiroth which means a place adorned with green grass. “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).
I use to think “why would God need to make me lie down in something so beautiful?” Wouldn’t I want to volunteer to lie down in green pastures? Exodus 14:2 shows us why we might need the Lord’s help to rest in such a beautiful place, perhaps we are hemmed in at this place by a powerful foe that is against us. We might not feel like lying down and taking up camp in the green pastures if it involves camping out near a powerful enemy. When we lie down in green pastures it says; God has got this, I trust Him. I will rest in Him and believe He is orchestrating something amazing because He led me here. God is preparing a victory feast for me. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5).
Green pastures in Psalm 23:2 is plural, there is more than one. God is leading you from one green pasture to another. That is why the end of Psalm 23 declares “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
What comes next in the 23rd Psalm? “He leads me beside quiet waters,” What do we read next in Exodus 14? “Encamp between Migdol and the sea” Exodus 14:2).
Psalm 23:3 “He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths”. How do we know that the Israelites were guided to the right path here? We learn from the previous chapter that God was the one who was leading them.
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night” (Exodus 13:21).
Why would God do this? The Psalmist says, “He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake”. What are we told in Exodus 14 of why God is doing all of this. “But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord” (Exodus 14:4).
The parallelism continues as Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. It is obvious that God is with His people, but is there also a mention of a staff in Exodus chapter 14?
“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:16).
“And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant” (Exodus 14:31).
The people (yare’) stood in awe, in reverence and put their trust in God. The journey to the miracle led the people to a place where they put their trust in God (Exodus 14:31).
The victory in our lives is already ours, so don’t let fear fill your hearts. Walk in the victory of Jesus Christ by faith as you rest and receive His love for you. Know that God is with you as a Good Shepherd leading you from one green pasture to another. Sometimes the path goes through an unexpected desert path but the journey will strengthen our trust relationship with Him as He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. God’s actions will display His glory for His name’s sake and so others might receive the salvation of His Son.
Friend of God: Name Dropping
Friend of God
Daily Reading: (Romans 5:11):
“Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
We have the opportunity every day in our lives to boast about the victory Jesus has given us. We boast about different stuff all the time. Just look at bumper stickers, “my kids is an honor student”, “I ran 26.2 miles”, “I am an alumni of XYZ University”. Social media is full of places we have been, the food we ate, and things we have experienced that we are proud of and want to share with the world. There is something within us to want to share the wonderful things we have been a part of, and here Paul is saying we can and should boast in the greatest thing to ever happen to us, we are now reconciled to God our Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What is crazy is God didn’t give this great gift to His best friends, God gave the gift that was the life of His son, to His enemies. Enemies? That’s strong language but it is what we were apart from Jesus,“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life” (Romans 5:10)!
That is why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, because this is what I did for you. When someone is persecuting you, causing you trouble, we have the Holy Spirit who gives us love, joy, peace, etc… This person who is not acting like a friend, but more like an enemy, I can pray for them, they are the perfect candidate for someone who needs Jesus. This is where miracles take place. God loves them too and wishes for them to have their lives forever changed by the Gospel.
So, we use to be enemies with God (Romans 5:10) but being reconciled to Him through Jesus, we are now friends of God and part of His family. We are friends and even family of the One who made the Universe.
We have now received the reconciliation. The word “received” means that this reconciliation is a gift that we receive by grace through Christ. Reconciliation is special in that it is not like most other gifts. Let’s say it is your birthday and your significant other buys you a lantern. A lantern is a practical yet fairly lame gift. Most people don’t ask for a lantern for their birthday, you might even question how well they know you or have been paying attention to you over the year. But if your power goes out you might be thankful for the lantern. Then when the power is restored, you put the lantern away, and then forget about it entirely until the power goes out again. Then you feel thankful again for the gift again.
This is different from what Paul means by receiving the gift of reconciliation. He means receiving it in such a way that what is in the package makes you rejoice all the time. And what is in the gift, is God reconciled. The gift of reconciliation is God offering us Himself so that we might rejoice in Him.
James 2:23 says: And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ‘And he was called the friend of God. In John 15:15 Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus made us righteous through His sacrifice on the cross and our faith in Him. We now are friends of God (John 15:15, James 2:23).
What we should be doing is name-dropping about who we are friends with. God is my friend. God is my Father. It changes our perspective on things. Paul is so confident in his relationship with God, that he says to other believers who gave to him to help him while in prison “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). I am friends with God, He has abundantly blessed and abundantly supplied me in Jesus.
Who Are You Following?
Who Are You Following?
Daily Reading: (Luke 6:39):
He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?”
Following someone today doesn’t mean the same thing it did back some 2,000 years ago. With a click of a button, we follow lots of people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok etc… Who you followed in Jesus’ day was way more involved. “In the first-century Jewish world, being a disciple/ follower was all about one key word:imitation.When a disciple followed a rabbi, the goal wasn’t merely to master the rabbi’s teachings, but also to imitate the way he lived: how he prayed, studied, taught, served the poor and lived out his relationship with God day to day. Following a rabbi meant living with the rabbi, sharing meals with him, praying with him, studying with him and taking part in the rabbi’s daily life. A rabbi’s life was meant to be a living example of someone who was shaped by God’s word. Disciples, therefore, studied not just the text of Scripture but also the “text” of the rabbi’s life.”
This is why Jesus didn’t simply ask His disciples to listen to His preaching in the synagogues. He said “Come and follow me”.
In today’s text Jesus warns about how those we follow can have a dramatic impact on the path we are led down. Let’s put up our text see what I mean and then we will work back from it.
He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit (Luke 6:39)?
One of my favorite stories I like to share happened in the jungle in Grenada as I went on a Hash House Harrier trek. When we started our adventure of trying to find our way through the jungle to the finish line, a group of people decided to follow me as their guide to the end. To make a long story short, we almost fell into a pit. The idea that many people who were native to the island, would follow me to lead them out of the jungle was absolutely crazy. Why are you following me? God is so good, He gave me wisdom and somehow I found the paper trail that was hidden that led us to the right path. If you know me, you know that was a miracle. The beauty was in the simplicity that I knew my own limitations and it worked out because people followed my lead as I prayed and followed God’s lead. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The pit that Jesus is talking about is not a literal cliff or pit but a destructive path that leads to ultimately the pit of hell. Jesus is talking about the spiritually blind leading others who are spiritually blind. They don’t know the path to life so they can only lead others down the wrong path (Luke 6:39).
The way to righteousness lies in finding not other people’s sins, but our own. We will miss the path to life, Jesus Christ if we never come to the end of ourselves and see our own depravity. And when we begin to follow Jesus, we will imitate His life as ours. We do not judge. We do not condemn. We instead forgive and we give. This is walking with spiritual sight toward your fellow man. You can see the needs of others and help guide them to the path of life. You do this and you’ll experience the One who has given you everything good that you have, pour so much blessing into your life it will overflow. So much you won’t be able to contain it because the real overflowing blessing is found when we will bless others with Christ (Luke 6:38).
“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher” (Luke 6:40). The question becomes who do you want to be like? If you want to be the best cake designer in the world it would help to have Duff Goldman as your teacher. Spent time with Duff. If you want to improve your golf game, you might want to hang around a PGA Pro. But if you want to live your life supernaturally where you don’t judge others, you forgive and you give, spend time with Jesus Christ.
God is strengthening you, perfect, whole, complete and as you ought to be. His desire is that we will be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). We imitate or reflect Jesus as we do not judge, as we do not bring condemnation unto others, and we instead forgive and we give and we love. The incredible thing is as we follow Jesus and live as He lived, it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. So, we can now be givers. Blessed to be a blessing. When we give out of good motive to advance God’s Kingdom, we will receive overflowing blessings in return.