Where Can I Turn?

Where Can I Turn Devo

Daily Reading: (Genesis 37:29-30):

“When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes, He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”

Approximately 3700 years later when things seem to go wrong and there is no one who can help us, we might ask the same question that Reuben asked, “where can I turn?” God will immediately answer Reuben’s question and many people have missed it.

In this moment in time, Reuben discovers that Joseph is not in the cistern where he left him, apparently the decision to sell Joseph into slavery was made when Reuben wasn’t there for the vote. We learn of Reuben’s intentions and they are to return Joseph safely back to their father. “Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father” (Genesis 37:22b).

Reuben’s plan to protect his younger brother failed, and he tears his clothes as a sign of mourning. This is what he says, “Where can I turn now?” Have you ever felt that way before? All your best-laid plans don’t work out, you tried to do something good and it blew up in your face, and you are standing over this empty void, all your hard work and nothing to show for it, or worse the report you receive is devastating news, and you ask, “where can I turn now?”

If we were left with that question in our own life with no answer, tragedies of life could haunt us forever. When the worst news is received to have an answer for where we can turn is of utmost importance. The Bible gives us the answer to Reuben’s question but most do not see it. Immediately after his heart-wrenching question what is said?

“Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe” (Genesis 37:31-32).

Reuben probably felt as though he threw that question out into the universe, and there would be no answer for it. He had no idea that what came next was a foreshadowing to the answer, “where can I turn?” and that answer is Jesus, the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins.  His sacrifice of Himself gave us His righteousness and we are restored in relationship to God, God as our Father. Being a part of the royal family means we have direct access to His throne. The One with ultimate power, authority, and love for us is the One who we can turn to.

Joseph points us to Jesus and we immediately see it in Genesis 37:31 right after the question where do I turn? Both Joseph and Jesus stripped of their coats (Genesis 37:23, John 19:23). We have their coat was dipped in blood (Genesis 37:31, Revelation 19:13). Both were sold by one of the 12 named Judah. In the Greek Judah is Judas (Genesis 37:26-27, (Matthew 26:15, 27:9). Joseph was apparently put to death, Jesus truly was by their own people to get them out of the way (Genesis 37:18-28, Acts 2:22-23). Reuben wanted to rescue Joseph (Genesis 37:21-22) and Pilate wanted to rescue Jesus (Matthew 27:24). Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt (Genesis 37:26-28). Jesus was betrayed for the price of a slave (Matthew 26:15, Exodus 21:32, Zechariah 11:12-13).

One of the most important questions that anyone could ever ask is, “where do I turn?”, it has an answer and that answer is found in Jesus. Because the truth is if we all would turn our attention to the One who is our success, who purchased for us to have His divine abundant life, we would be able to declare like the Psalmist, “Lord you are good to me”. I might not understand all of what I am going through, my best-made plans may just crumble before me, just like they did for Reuben, but ultimately your plan is a plan of salvation (Genesis 50:20).

The dreams Joseph was given were fulfilled and ultimately it resulted in the salvation of the 12 brothers, their parents, and many more lives. When trouble comes, look to Jesus where you will find salvation for what has come against you.


Turns Out…

Turns Out

Daily Reading: (Philippians 1:19):

“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”

Paul is sure of something in his life that has not even happened yet. Our lives in Christ give us great hope that things will always turn for our good. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have trials, tribulations, persecution, or difficulties. Paul explains it like this, “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is no. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “More than Conquerors” is a Greek word that means a surpassing victory.

The love of Christ gives us a surpassing victory in all things we face in our lives (Romans 8:37).

There is something that I know about my life, things are about to turn. I am being given a surpassing victory and the way God has chosen to do it is through your prayers and the provision in the Holy Spirit.

God will use those things that look to imprison us to set the captives of sin free (to advance the Gospel) Philippians 1:12. Paul already knows why he is in prison and will testify to it. In verse 16 he says, “knowing that I am put here for the defense of the Gospel.” You do not need to fear the path ahead if you know who goes with you and the provisions that have been made for you in Christ Jesus.

Are you sharing your salvation story to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ? How has God turned things for you in the past, how He has prospered you here and now in this season of your life even with what is happening in your life today? Do you have an expectation of God working all things together for your good, giving you a surpassing victory in Jesus’ name? God’s blessings are not limited by where you are at in life, if He did it for Paul in prison think what He might do in your life.

Paul says something that is subtle but it is also so profound.

“And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear” Philippians 1:14. The only way that you can share the Gospel without fear is if you see the love God has for you.

It’s Your Turn

Your Turn

Daily Reading: (Psalm 34:14):

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

From the moment you were first able to walk, you probably heard a list of things to avoid doing. “Don’t touch that, don’t eat that, don’t go over there”.

What the Psalmist is saying in the Old Testament to God’s people living under the Law was to turn from evil. The Hebrew word that is used in Psalm 34:14 means to depart. In the Old Testament days when evil was present or the opportunity to do evil appeared, the instruction was to depart from it. This way you won’t be tempted by it. But we are living in a different time, “in the last days”. Jesus said in Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” What this means is the days will be filled with more and more evil. It seems departing from evil would become more difficult to do.

2 Timothy 3:1 says, “Remember this! There will be many troubles in the last days.”

In the Old Testament, the instruction was to depart from evil and to do good.  But now, when you depart from evil one way, there is evil another way. There are many troubles everywhere. The good news is we have been equipped not to depart from evil but to fight back against evil (Ephesians 6:10-13). Thank God for this truth because you can only run for so long and you can only turn so much.

Consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in multiple places:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Living in the Old Testament, saints didn’t have the Holy Spirit within them. The New Covenant had not yet been initiated because Christ still needed to die. Christ had to defeat sin and death and give us His victorious righteous life. Without Christ’s life, we were not clothed in His robes of righteousness, nor did we have the spiritual armor and weapons to fight against the spiritual forces of darkness. The Old Testament saints only strategy against evil was turn, depart, run away from it. But now we don’t run, we stand our ground. We are equipped for victory over evil.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

We all have weapons against the war on evil. We have swords, but we have to hold them, we have to use them to sharpen them. How do we do this? Ephesians 6:17 says, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” As we get into God’s Word, we are taking out our swords (Ephesians 6:17), we are ready not only to defend ourselves against the attacks from the enemy (the lies he tells us), but to fight back too. The armor of God in Ephesians 6:10–20 shows us that right believing in all that Jesus has done will always lead us to victory. It is your turn to stand your ground with God’s Word, and to actually move forward on the attack where you start to demolish strongholds the enemy has put in place in the lives of the people that you love.

I wanted to share another verse about the days we live in being evil and what is said for us living in those days:

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

When you are led by His wisdom, the Lord can protect you from making unwise decisions. How do we live wise? The answer comes with the very next verse: “Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). You live wise (15) by making the most of every opportunity (16). “Make the Most” (exagorazō) was a metaphor of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death. Paul is simply saying to be careful to not fall into the trap of living under the bondage of the Law. Live free in the grace you have been given through the death of Jesus Christ. That is wise living. That is what it means to make the most of every opportunity. This is how you live a victorious life where you don’t have to run from evil, but you fight back against it equipped with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. This is what it means to put on the full armor of God, this is what it means to set captives free with the message of the Gospel, this is wise living. The key to reigning in life is to actively receive the abundant life.  

We know the days are evil but we can make the most of this opportunity. There are many battles to be won. With God on our side how can we lose? Spend time in God’s Word, fill your mind with right believing as see yourself as you truly are, more than a conqueror in Christ.

Tables Turned

Tables Turned

Daily Reading: (Matthew 21:12-13):

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” He said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

All of the Gospel writers except one included this story of Jesus in the Temple courts. John is the only one who did not include it in his gospel.

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts He found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So He made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”  (John 2:13-16).

When people read this story in John they think it is the same event as what Matthew described in Matthew 21 but it is not. If you have ever watched movies about the crucifixion, you have seen John’s telling of Jesus in the temple- where Jesus has a whip, driving the money changers out. When John is writing John 2, Jesus’ ministry has just begun this is not the scene right before He goes to the cross.  At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He cleansed the Temple by driving the money changers out. About three years later they have come back and Jesus cleanses the Temple once more just before His death. This is why so many over time have seen this moment leading up to His crucifixion and have imagined Jesus with the whip driving people out but this all happened at the beginning of His ministry, not the end.

In Matthew 21:10: “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” In the very next verse, they answer their own question. Have you ever done that before? I have had that happen to me before when I was in the airport in Houston. A crowd had gathered and there was a lot of excitement, I knew someone famous must be walking through the airport. So, I said to my wife as the person approached, “who is that?” Moments later, I exclaimed, “It’s Jerry Rice!”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

In the crowd’s reaction to what they call Jesus you might think it to be a little strange. Why would they call Jesus a prophet, when in the verses just before it, they are hailing Jesus as Messiah. How strange to shout that salvation has come through the Davidic lineage, the Messiah is here in verse 9, and then say who is this in verse 10, and then answer your own question in verse 11, “it is the prophet”. A prophet would never get the kind of attention and welcome that Jesus did. To understand this moment better you have to try and get inside the mind of the Jewish crowd, what they would have known, and what they were expressing.  The crowd is not calling Jesus “a prophet”, but “the prophet”. What prophet would they have been talking about? The prophet whom Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy 18:18. “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in His mouth. He will tell them everything I command Him.” This expression of calling Him “the prophet” is that they are welcoming Jesus as our blessed Lord, the promised Messiah. This fits with what the crowd was shouting earlier, they are just expressing it in a different way.

But how strange that only five days later, their chants changed from hosanna to “Away with Him! crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Five days later they rejected the grace of God.

Again, inside the minds of the Jewish crowd, their thoughts are that Jesus has come to save them from the Roman oppressors who occupy Jerusalem. Jesus has no plans to do this, so how could He be the Messiah? They were expecting the Messiah to come and conquer, not to lay down His life. What they were missing in their life under the Law is that He had to first conquer sin and death for us, “God had to make Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” When He returns He will conquer. His Kingdom shall reign forever.

But at this moment at Jesus’ triumphal entry things are wonderful, but then the tables begin to turn in the very next verse in Matthew 21:12: “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. Verse 13-“It is written,” He said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

My house shall be called a house of prayer. The usage of “house” here (proseuchē) means a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer.[1] Since we know prayer is a two-way dialogue between us and God, a communication of speaking and listening and hearing. It is understandable why Jesus was so mad because this was compromised.

This is interesting because at a quick glance it would make sense to have these things established, money changers and dove sellers. The tables of the money-changers was helpful because Judea was subject to the Romans. The money in current use was the Roman coin; yet the Jewish law required that every man should pay a tribute to the service of the sanctuary of “half a shekel,” Exodus 30:11-16. This was a Jewish coin, and the tribute was required to be paid in that coin. It became, therefore, a matter of convenience to have a place where the Roman coin might be exchanged for the Jewish half shekel.

The seats of them that sold doves: Doves were required to be offered in sacrifice (Leviticus 14:22; Luke 2:24), yet it was difficult to bring them from the distant parts of Judea. It was found much easier to purchase them in Jerusalem. Hence, it became a business to keep them to sell to those who were required to offer them. They had turned their practices into a big business to get rich and to rob from God’s people financially and spiritually inside the temple. They made it “a den of thieves”.

What does Jesus do, He turned the tables on them. The moment Jesus enters the scene, purpose is restored in God’s house (Matthew 21:13-14). After all the extra-curricular money-making ventures were removed and there were no more distractions from the Temple, look at what happened next (verse 14). Jesus healed, salvation was received.

Isaiah 35 the prophet describes the coming kingship of the Messiah like this: ” Take courage, fear not. . . . The recompense of God will come, But He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened. And . . . Then the lame will leap like a deer” (35:4-6).

Jesus comes on a donkey, lowly and gentle and patient; He comes cleansing His Father’s house to make it a house of prayer for all the nations; He comes healing the blind and the lame all to show what his kingship is now in part, and will be fully in the age to come. It is not just a kingship over other kings, but over disease and all nature. Today is the day of our salvation. Trust Him and receive all that He has purchased for you by His blood that was shed and His body that was given.

[1] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4335/kjv/tr/0-1/

You Have Super Power

You Have Superpower Devo

Daily Reading: (Acts 1:8):

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”

God has given us super power (Acts 1:8). In Greek, it explains what that power is dynamis. It is where we get our English words dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic from. The first definition of dynamis is strength power and ability, but then you ask the question, “strength, power, and ability for what?” The second part of the definition says, “power for performing miracles.” 

Where I think many believers are at is that they have either forgotten or do not know the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit that is placed in them. If they did, the expectation would be, that I get to see God do miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me.

James 5:14: Is anyone among you sick? James says, “Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” Is it just the elders who have power? No, all believers have super power (Acts 1:8). If all believers have super powers, why do we need church leaders to pray for a miracle? Great question and the answer is that we don’t. What is so special about the elders, then? The elders are the most likely people to know the power they have been given from the Holy Spirit, they are fully persuaded that God wants to heal you! This is not always the case. Find someone who believes the promises of God and have them pray for you.

Those that are not fully persuaded when they pray, are not going to tap into the dynamis, dynamite power of God for healing. James writes this: “Let him ask in faith, with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8).

“Call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Why is oil used? According to Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Whole Bible, oil in the East, and especially among the Jews was a sign of the divine grace (James 5:14).[1]  

Why is bringing God’s divine grace into the equation when I pray so important? Oil reminds me as I pray who the Healer is, who we are taking this situation too, that’s the job of the Holy Spirit in me when I pray. I can use oil to remind myself, and the one I am praying for that it is not about me, it is all about the grace of Jesus Christ who bore our infirmities and by His stripes we are healed. The oil reminds us of this powerful truth. So, when the elders or church leaders who believe the promises of God pray and use oil, the oil says the healing is theirs not because the leader is so amazing with their prayers, but because Jesus has purchased for me to have this healing and it comes by the very grace of God.

Part of the reason the church spread so much was there was a group of believers who were filled with the Holy Spirit and they believed they were vessels to be used in the authority of Jesus’ name to perform miracles.

“And you will be my witnesses…” “Witnesses” is the Greek word martys.  Martys is part of the same word as martyrs, but it can simply mean witness or it can also mean those who after Jesus’ example have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death. Christianity was real and genuine because people were willing to die for it. The point is that when you tap into the power that God has given you to do the works Jesus did you will have the opportunity to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). The trials and the tribulations that we all go through is an opportunity for the power of God to be on display.

Why would the world hate me for doing such good, for showing the love of Christ? Jesus has an answer for us in John 15:17-19. Jesus says “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first.” Jesus who is love- who is grace and truth- what happened to Him? He was crucified. “If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.

[1] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/james-5.html

You Are Forgiven

You Are Forgiven Devo

Daily Reading: (Ephesians 4:32):

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Your ability to forgive someone else begins by receiving your forgiveness in Christ. One of the

There are two statements in the Bible that have led to some confusion for people because they seem to contradict each other but they only are confusing when you are confused about the Covenant that you are living in.

1.  “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
2.   “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

Do you see the difference between these two statements? The first statement says that forgiveness starts with us. The second statement says forgiveness begins with God.

Which is it? Both of these statements are reconciled in Jesus Christ. He satisfied the condition for forgiveness when He went to the cross. But a better explanation came from Jesus Himself when He told the story of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23).

Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. One servant had a huge debt he could not pay. To satisfy the debt the king planned to sell the servant, his family and all his possessions. The servant begged for mercy, the king took pity and cancelled the debt.

Now try and put yourself in the place of that servant. You are on the verge of being sold into slavery. Your wife is going to be sold as well. She is about to become the property of another man. Your kids will also be sold into slavery. You will likely never see them again. There is not a thing you can do to avoid this. You have no legal recourse.

And then, at a command from the king, your debt is instantly canceled and everything you hold dear is restored to you.

Wouldn’t you go from that place singing the praises of your king? Wouldn’t you shout from the rooftops that the king is good? Wouldn’t you go home and hug your wife, and enjoy your kids, knowing that, because of the mercy of the king, you now have a future together?

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

The shocking plot twist is that this is not what the man in the story did. He walked out of the king’s presence unchanged. In the very next verse, he found someone who owed him a small amount of money and he demanded payment. When that man couldn’t pay, the unmerciful servant had him thrown into prison. Later, when the king heard about this, he reversed his merciful judgment and delivered the “wicked servant” to the tormenters.

Most people think that the story of the ungrateful servant is a tale about morality. But Jesus said it’s a description of the Kingdom of Heaven. Each of us had a debt we could not pay and God, in His mercy, paid the debt on our behalf. The debtor’s law that stood opposed to us was fully satisfied.

There are only two possible responses to God’s generosity. One response is to say, thank you Jesus! What amazing grace! I will be forever grateful and I will tell others what you have done so they may ask for mercy too. The other response is that of the servant in the story. It is to remain unrepentant and unchanged by the goodness of God.

The forgiveness that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 4:32 is supernatural.

“Be kind and compassionate” in the Greek word it is talking about the ability to become kind and compassionate to those who need our forgiveness, to those who have done us great harm. It is only possible to act in kindness and compassion and forgiveness to someone who has greatly wounded us as we remember how greatly forgiven in Christ we are.

How forgiven are you and I in Christ? Do we have to ask for forgiveness in order for Christ to forgive us?  No, because we are already forgiven. Christ forgave you. It is a done deal.  It is forgiveness in the past, forgiveness in the present, and forgiveness in your future.  You are forgiven in Jesus.  Now, that you know that and we see how greatly forgiven you are enabled to forgive even if they don’t deserve it, even if they don’t ask for it. It is for your good that you forgive and you cast your cares on God. Not only are we enabled to forgive but we can in Christ also be kind and compassionate to those who need forgiveness. 

But when the topic of forgiveness comes up some will point to a verse in the Gospel of Mark 11:25- “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25). This doesn’t mean what you might think. We are forgiven because of one reason. 1 John 2:12: “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”

Are we forgiven because of Jesus or are we forgiven because we have perfectly forgiven everyone else?

To answer this question that is raised in Mark 11:25 one must look at who is Jesus talking to in Mark 11? Jesus is taking to those living under the Law. The message is clear, if you want to try and earn salvation, you will find that it is impossible. One of the requirements to perfect law-based living would be the perfect forgiveness of all who wronged you.

Jesus came and fulfilled this requirement for us perfectly. When we go to the scene of the crucifixion people were mocking Jesus, they were spitting on Him, hurling insults at Him, and casting lots for His clothes. He was crucified for our sins and yet the people who rejected Him hung a sign over His head, ‘This is the king of the Jews.’ He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” How did Jesus respond? His response is kindness and compassion. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

When Jesus said this statement, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins” people were still living under the Law, if you think the Law offers you salvation then you better do it perfectly all the time including always forgiving everyone all the time.

But since we have already been forgiven, we can read Jesus’ statement through the lens of grace. As an exhortation to walk in the grace of a Father who has already forgiven you in Christ. Try shifting your glance away from the one who hurt you and setting your eyes on the one who has saved you. 

Finding Grace

Finding Grace

Daily Reading: (Hebrews 4:16):

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

“Let us therefore”, this means that something that comes before this text has led to a drastic change. In the Old Testament when people used to live under the Law, they would not have any confidence at all when they would bring their petitions before God. Unfortunately, some believers who are still trying to live under the Law are the same way today. When you do not realize that Jesus fulfilled the Law on your behalf, you will try to work for what you have been freely given in Jesus.

No one could come directly before God except the High Priest and only one time a year during atonement. He did not come boldly- he came fearfully because if he did anything wrong or didn’t properly purify himself he would die. How effective was that? Ok, your sins are removed, but the next day at work you mess up royally and the High Priest isn’t going back in there for another year. Temple sacrifices and stuff but people could never be sure how they stood in their relationship with God before Jesus. Just listen to the way David wrote – a man after God’s own heart.

No one came before God except the High Priest and only one time a year during atonement. He did not come boldly- he came fearfully because if he did anything wrong or didn’t properly purify himself, he would die.

If the High Priest sinned, he brought guilt on his nation, and God would reject the entire nation no matter how law-abiding the people were or how faithful they were in bringing their sacrifices.

Conversely, if their High Priest was without fault and acceptable to God, God would accept the whole nation even if the people were sinful.

Unfortunately, the High Priests of Israel often failed because, like any human being, they were imperfect.

What changed?

 “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (Hebrews 4:14).

We have Jesus as our High Priest. As our High Priest, His standing before God is always right. Jesus is always acceptable and pleasing to the Father. Therefore, we can never lose our acceptance with God because as our High Priest, Jesus only brings righteousness on His people.

In the Old Testament, people would bring their sacrifice and the priest would examine it. During that time the priest wasn’t looking at the person who brought the sacrifice, the priest only looked at the sacrifice.  And today that’s the same thing. God doesn’t look at us, He looks at the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. God looks at Jesus. If Jesus is accepted, you are accepted. If God sees Jesus perfect, then He sees you perfect. If Jesus is righteous, then you are righteous. And we know that Jesus our High Priest is good, accepted, perfect, and righteous, which means that that is how God sees us! That’s not fair, that’s not deserved, that’s not earned. That’s called grace and that is why, “since we have a great High Priest “Let us [therefore come boldly] unto the [throne of grace].”

Why a throne of grace? Confused people who think our sacrifice is what pleases God, will see a throne of judgment. If you put your faith in Jesus you get to come boldly unto God because you know that the perfect Sacrifice has been made for you and you will find yourself before God’s throne of grace.

Because Jesus is our High Priest something else happens when you pray in your time of need. In Leviticus 1:14-17 we see what happens when we pray as we understand what the High Priest in the Old Testament did with the burnt offering of a bird.

The birds what they represent are our prayers “flying” to the Lord Jesus because we pray to the Father in Jesus’ name. What the High Priest did with the bird sacrifice is He would remove the bird’s feathers after killing it. Jesus removes all that is unclean from our prayers, such as unbelief and self-centeredness.

Then, just as the High Priest offers the bird as a burnt sacrifice, a sweet aroma to the Lord, Jesus our High Priest adds His perfection, beauty, excellence, and fragrance, which the Father delights in, to our prayers. That is how He presents our prayers to the Father. That is how He lives to make intercession for you.

You don’t have to run to a church leader for them to pray “more powerfully” for you. You can pray for yourself. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). You are the righteousness of Christ Jesus so take advantage of Jesus’ intercession for you and know that the promise is that you “find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Freedom Over Worry

Freedom Over Worry

Daily Reading: (Philippians 4:6):

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

To have guidance from God’s Word when worry comes makes all the difference. God’s Word will not bring freedom from worry ever creeping in, but freedom over worry when it does.  

The Message Bible says:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Instead of worrying there is another option, prayer. Paul says worry will come but instead of dwelling in, pitching a tent in the camp of worry, you could do something else that will cure your worries and that is prayer. Paul is a smart guy who knows the Old Testament really well. When he writes Philippians 4 I believe he is thinking about the words of the Psalmist who would write:

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4 NLT).

I prayed to the Lord and what happens when he prayed or when we pray… God will answer us. God will respond to your prayers. He will rescue us or deliver us from fear and worry.

The verse before in Philippians sets the tone for us to experience freedom over worry.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” It is easy to forget during difficult times just how near God is (Philippians 4:5) because in the trouble He can feel so far away. But He is with us, and we can communicate with Him, and pray at any time and experience freedom over worry, trust in His love, instead of fear.

“Don’t worry” (merimnaō): don’t even take thought of it to the point of allowing it to trouble you. Before it gets to that point of causing you trouble, pray (Philippians 4:6).

Worry builds and that is why it is best to deal with it before it gets to a troubling level. It is remarkable to me that living 1,000 years apart, Paul and David are saying the exact same thing. However, Paul adds some things about prayer. in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 

After thanksgiving then let your requests be made known to God. Thanksgiving is the Greek word “eucharist”, communion. Worship God for all your spiritual blessings in Jesus before your requests. Paul says in Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

Start your prayers by giving thanks for what God has done for us in Christ. And then let your requests be made known to God.  In this way, it says, “I trust God.” 

When you pray like this, all of a sudden, you are no longer held hostage waiting for what you think the result should be. The more you thank Him, the more His peace reigns in your heart. Whatever your concern is, bring it to your Father in prayer and thank your way to peace!

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.

The Man Who Walked With God After the Fall of Man

The Man Who Walked With God After the Fall of Man

Daily Reading: (Genesis 5:21-24):

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

Genesis 5 begins with the genealogy of the first man who God created, Adam.

“This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created” (Genesis 5:1-2).

You may have noticed a footnote next to the word mankind and that the word mankind is in parenthesis. Why is that?  Well, the Hebrew word that is used here for mankind is “adam”. Some translations will actually just use the word adam instead of mankind.  

Genesis chapters two and five say that you were made by divine design in the image of our very Creator. God made us. Our origin started with God. How did God create us? Genesis 2:7: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

The Bible was written a long time ago passed down from generation to generation. In Genesis 2:7 what does it say that God made us out of? Dust, the Earth. So, if our genetic makeup is dirt so to speak, we should easily be able to prove or disprove this. Back when Genesis was written, people didn’t have the science to confirm or deny this and they could not envision as they were writing Genesis that we would one day be able to prove or disprove whether or not Genesis 2:7 is true. If it is false then not a single word of the Bible could be or should be trusted. That is how serious of an issue this is. This speaks to atheists, agnostics, and even Christians alike. Does God exist it, did He create us, and then how did He do it?

The human body is made up almost entirely of 13 elements. Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen make up 96% of our body’s mass. The other 4% of body weight is composed almost entirely of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, and iodine. Silicon as an element in the human body (less than one percent). Every single one of the 13 elements is what makes up the Earth’s material.

“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). Enoch was the first one to experience a Rapture.

Before he was taken he had this testimony, that “he pleased God”.What is pleasing to God? Let’s go to Hebrews 11:5-6 for some clarification:

Hebrews 11:5–6 (Amplified Bible): By faith [that pleased God] Enoch was caught up and taken to heaven so that he would not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found because God had taken him; for even before he was taken [to heaven], he received the testimony [still on record] that he had walked with God and pleased Him. But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.”

Enoch still walked with God, even after the fall of man. The New Covenant way of walking with God is found in Galatians 5:16. “I say then: ‘Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” You’re not walking with the Spirit. You’re not walking before the Spirit. Because that would indicate that the Holy Spirit is outside you. Don’t forget that the Holy Spirit is God Himself who dwells within you, so you walk in the Spirit.

That is a very intimate term because the real you is actually a spirit. God made you in His image, but it wasn’t until God breathed into you the breath of life and God made you a spirit that you came to life. There are actually three parts to every human being: body, soul, and spirit. Paul would write in 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”

In the old tabernacle of Moses, you find there are three parts to it. The outer court, which is your body. The Holy Place, which is your soul. And then the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant is, that’s the spirit.

We will see Enoch return to Earth for a specific purpose. He was taken and preserved for a special purpose and he will be brought back for a special purpose too found in the book of Revelation chapter 11.