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.”[1]

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.


[1] Focusequip.org

Don’t Stay Thirsty

Don’t Stay Thirsty

Daily Reading: (John 4:13-14):

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Christianity is not an exclusive religion. This is so clear to everyone who listens to Jesus’ words because salvation is offered to any who will drink. This would have been scandalous in the first century what Jesus did. Because if you back up the story a bit Jesus is talking to a woman and not just any woman, a Samaritan woman. “The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans”(John 4:9).

Jesus showed how true it is that God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34).  In fact, God so loved the Samaritans, a despised half Jew half Gentile group of people that at the height of Jesus’ surging popularity God sent Him away from the crowds for the One Samaritan woman. It is a beautiful illustration of our Shepherd leaving behind the 99 for the one lost sheep. 

“Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.Now he had to go through Samaria” (John 4:1-4).

The route Jesus took was not necessary. Samaria was between Judea and Galilee. The direct and usual way was to pass through Samaria. Sometimes, however, the Jews took a detour route on the east side of the Jordan. Because they hated Samaria that much. See Matthew 2:22. “Had to go” through Samaria is speaking of a divine leading not an only route option. “He had to” is the Greek word (dei) which means must or it is necessary, there is need of. Jesus went through Samaria where He left the gaining popularity behind because there is one unpopular person who needed His salvation.

“So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon” (John 4:5-6).

This is a historical site from the Old Testament. Jesus is at a monument, not just any monument, a monument mentioned in Genesis 33:19. The promise of the blessing (Jesus) has arrived at the altar dedicated to the covenant keeping God of Israel who has promised to bless the world through the Messianic lineage (Genesis 33:19-20, John 4:5).

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink” (John 4:7)? This is an invitation to friendship. When Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink, it is asking culturally if she will enter into a (saving) relationship with Him? The Gospel just seems too good to be true and we see this in her response, “How can you ask me for a drink?” You can’t possibly want to have anything to do with me. How could God love me?  Because I know what I have done. I know me. And the remarkable message of the Gospel is that God knows you better than you know yourself and He thought you were worth dying for. Jesus’ invitation is a life altering one of friendship- of salvation, everlasting life, a new life, a clean whole and righteous life before God.

This woman was searching for love in all the wrong places. She was drawing her self-worth from the wrong well. She kept going back to the relationship well and it never satisfied her soul. She remained thirsty. This brings us to the two verses we start with:Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman has encountered Jesus but is still living from her past instead of focusing on what is before her in the present, an opportunity for salvation and a new identity that brings new life. The genius of Jesus is that he meets every one of us at our point of need. The self-righteous need the law to expose their need for a Savior, what the hurting need is grace. The lost and hurting people of the world need a revelation of God our Father who loves us and does not treat us as our sins deserve as we receive the gift of His Son. When the woman finally sees Jesus for who He is her entire life changes.  

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he” (John 4:25-26). We find that the very reason for being at the well (to have her jug to be filled with water) is left behind. Her spiritual jug has been filled and is overflowing with living water and she has to let people know. ” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him” (John 4:28-30). The woman who went to the well to avoid everyone is now seeking everyone out with the good news of Jesus Christ (John 4:28-29). That’s what grace does. The crowd that ridiculed you and tried to condemn you are the same ones you are now racing after with a message of hope.

My prayer is that those whose lives have been transformed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will respond in the same way as the woman at the well. Maybe there is someone the Lord is placing on your heart today that could use a message of hope. Would you introduce them to Jesus so they might never thirst again?

This Little Light of Mine

Daily Reading: (John 8:12):

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Something incredible just happened if you will go back and place yourself at the exact location of where Jesus spoke these words. We do as we focus on verses 2-4.

“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery” (John 8:2-4).

The Court of the Women is the place where Jesus proclaimed that He is the light of the whole world.

The timing of this proclamation was during the Feast of Tabernacles. Which meant there was a brilliant menorah/candelabra that was lit. The candelabra provided light throughout the entirety of the Court. There was a great ceremony called the “Illumination of the Temple,” which involved the ritual lighting of four golden oil-fed lamps in the Court of Women. These lamps were huge menorahs/candelabras (seventy-five feet high). The reason they would light the candelabra was to remind God’s people of the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night that guided His people in the wilderness.

Here in one of the three most holy festivals Jesus pronounces that He is God. As God was with His people in the Exodus, Jesus is the Light of the World, tabernacling among His people now.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people,”the Greek word for “again” is (autos) and it means the same. So, if Jesus is speaking to the same people, they must have witnessed and heard something before the “I am the Light of the World” statement. In verse 3 a woman who was caught in adultery was brought before Jesus with the Pharisees (religious leaders) wanting to have her executed by stoning her to death. Have you ever wondered where is the guy who was involved in the same act?

When Jesus walked the earth, gender inequality was so entrenched in Jewish society that an adulteress could be stoned without trial and men could divorce their wives for virtually any reason. Some of the religious leaders taught that women were ignorant and that there was no point teaching them because they had weak minds. Then along came Jesus.

The Law states this woman could be killed for her adulterous actions. What does Jesus do? Jesus says: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).If you want to bring her sins in front of everyone you religious leaders, how about we take a second and talk about yours first. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you” (John 8:10)?

What is so beautiful about this is the light of the world clearly is not there to expose our sins because that is not what Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus is the Light that brings the lost out of darkness. Jesus’ light exposes our perfection in Him and unveils the truth that our sins have been completely removed.

This tells us that we don’t have to be fearful when we come into God’s presence. He is not there waiting to punish us for our mistakes and failures. His light is not for exposing our sins and shame, or for condemning us. No, Jesus’ glorious light (John 8:12) shows us how perfectly His blood has washed away our sins (John 8:10/1 John 1:7)! That is why Jesus could tell the woman that He did not condemn her—because He would be condemned for her at the cross.

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12b).

If you have lived long enough you probably have been a part of a remodeling project of some kind. What is amazing to me is the minute you redo one part of your house everything else stands out that needs to be redone. What has become beautiful has the opportunity to impact what is around it. What is beautiful can lead to what is near being redone and completely changed. Jesus, the light of the world, lifts us up and gives us a confident expectation of good even in our darkest hour. As we let our light shine before others, they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.

Jesus said, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” “Follows Me” it really isn’t the best translation from the Greek to English. “Follows” means whoever becomes my disciple. Because it isn’t that when we mess up or we make a mistake that God leaves us in the dark. Whoever is a disciple of Jesus will not pass one’s life in darkness or you won’t live your life having a want of light but will have the light always. It means as a believer in Jesus Christ you possess the Light of Life. In the darkness of the world, our lives are really able to contrast that darkness and bring forth the Light of the World. It gives those who are walking round in darkness an introduction to the Light of the World, and if they will receive the Light (Jesus Christ) they will never be in the dark anymore.

As a Man Thinks…

Daily Reading: (Proverbs 23:7): “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”   

What you think has a great bearing on what you do. However, Proverbs 23:7 is not saying that you are what you think.

Think positive thoughts, make positive confessions and you’ll become a positive person. Whatever your focus on the inside is, will become the reality on the outside. Thoughts shape destinies. Of course, there’s truth to all of those sayings, however, this is not what Solomon had in mind when he wrote Proverbs 23:7. Solomon is referring to a specific kind of person in verse seven. But who? The answer is right there in the passage.

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments (Proverbs 23:6-8).

Clearly, this passage has nothing to do with positive thinking. This text gives a straightforward warning to keep your guard up around selfish people.

Now that we cleared that up, now I want to talk about the power of our thoughts. Our spirits are made new the moment we are born again, but from then on our minds have to play catch-up. They have to be renewed. We need to take on new attitudes, new ways of thinking. We need to cultivate the habit of saying yes and amen to the promises of God. We need to call things that are not as though they are. Because what we believe can be contrary to who we are or who Christ made us to be.

Your erroneous thinking does not change your identity of who you have become. For some reason, there is the tendency to think of saints as people who became saints, sainthood based upon what they have done in their lives. It’s not true. You don’t become a saint by what you do but by what has been done for you and what you received (2 Corinthians 5:21). Saints (holy people) are not a special group of people but are all believers. The qualification to be God’s holy people (saints) is that a person be in Christ (Ephesians 1:1).

The devil works hard to win the battle in our minds. He doesn’t want the church to walk in Christ’s victory. He wants you to believe the lie that you are defeated so that you don’t tap into the divine power you have to demolish strongholds he has set up (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Be encouraged to know that you don’t have to be afraid of the battles in your mind. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Right believing is based on God’s Word and it is the key that unlocks the treasures of God in your life. Right believing gives you access to the fullness of His love, grace, and many blessings. The hindrance to your victory is found in your wrong beliefs. The battle has to do with your beliefs (John 8:32).

The enemy knows that if he can control your thought life, he can manipulate your emotions and feelings. If you entertain thoughts of guilt, failure, and defeat, you will begin to feel lousy about yourself, physically weak, and even depressed. Our emotions are the flags that indicate to us if our thoughts are negative or positive. Your emotions follow quickly after your thoughts. If your thoughts are negative, you will naturally produce negative emotions. If your thoughts are positive in Christ, you will produce positive emotions. That is why there is a battle for your mind. The devil wants to keep your thoughts negative so that he can keep you defeated. Through the power of right believing, you will win the battle for your mind.

Take Up Your Cross

Take Up Your Cross

Daily Reading: (Luke 9:23): Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”   

How do you react to this text? “Whoever wants to be a disciple of Jesus must… take up their cross daily and follow Him.” The way I have heard this verse commonly and incorrectly used is in the preaching of self-denial. If this were true then the Gospel would not be good news. If we had a bad day or screwed up and didn’t properly deny ourselves, well I guess we’re just not a disciple of Jesus anymore. If this were the case it would mean that Christ’s death on the cross was not needed. It would also mean that the more you deny yourself the holier you’ll be. But go ahead and deny yourself from anything and everything and that won’t make you anymore righteous or holy, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that.

Another problem with this interpretation of preaching self-denial as a way of becoming righteous is that it will leave you anxious and insecure. “Have I denied myself enough?” Jesus suffered and die on the cross so that we might be free from this sort of religious way of life.

So, when we come to Luke 9:23 we must ask two very important questions if we really want to understand what Jesus is saying.

  • Question 1: Who is Jesus talking to in this verse?
  • Question 2: What Covenant are we now living in?

In verse 18 it says- “Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” this progresses until we get into our verse.  If you want an even clearer answer where you don’t have to back up a few verses to understand who Jesus is referring to just read Matthew’s version (16:24).

The disciples were still living in the Old Covenant system. The New Covenant we live in was enacted after the death of Jesus. One purpose of the Old Covenant was to make it absolutely clear that no man is righteous before God and that no one can save himself (Romans 3:10–11, 20). “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” There are no off days if you are living according to your righteousness. The ultimate purpose of the Old Covenant was to point people to Christ: “The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Galatians 3:24–25). The Old Covenant established our guilt before God and our need for a Savior.

So. the correct translation of what Jesus is saying in Luke 9:23 happens as we continue moving forward in the text in the next two verses, verses 24 and 25.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self” (Luke 9:24-25)?

When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he’s saying the way to salvation is through Him and His cross. In the New Covenant taking up your cross daily doesn’t make sense and is impossible to do because you were already crucified (Galatians 2:20). I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me… (Gal 2:20a). The reason most Christians struggle to live the Christian life is they look at Luke 9:23 and are trying to die daily, they do not know they have already died with Christ.

“To deny yourself” (Luke 9:23) means to trust Jesus instead of self. Live each and every day out of the glorious relationship you have with the Lord. This Greek word “deny” (aparneomai) is to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests. This denial of self is the same thing for all Christians that the cross was for Jesus, namely, the submission to God’s will, not one’s own will.So, in our text Jesus made the cross central. Our Lord’s death was an absolute requirement and precondition of human redemption. As long as the will of man opposes the will of the Lord, salvation for that individual remains impossible.

Take Up Your Cross

Take Up Your Cross

Daily Reading: (Luke 9:23): Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”   

How do you react to this text? “Whoever wants to be a disciple of Jesus must… take up their cross daily and follow Him.” The way I have heard this verse commonly and incorrectly used is in the preaching of self-denial. If this were true then the Gospel would not be good news. If we had a bad day or screwed up and didn’t properly deny ourselves, well I guess we’re just not a disciple of Jesus anymore. If this were the case it would mean that Christ’s death on the cross was not needed. It would also mean that the more you deny yourself the holier you’ll be. But go ahead and deny yourself from anything and everything and that won’t make you anymore righteous or holy, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that.

Another problem with this interpretation of preaching self-denial as a way of becoming righteous is that it will leave you anxious and insecure. “Have I denied myself enough?” Jesus suffered and die on the cross so that we might be free from this sort of religious way of life.

So, when we come to Luke 9:23 we must ask two very important questions if we really want to understand what Jesus is saying.

  • Question 1: Who is Jesus talking to in this verse?
  • Question 2: What Covenant are we now living in?

In verse 18 it says- “Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” this progresses until we get into our verse.  If you want an even clearer answer where you don’t have to back up a few verses to understand who Jesus is referring to just read Matthew’s version (16:24).

The disciples were still living in the Old Covenant system. The New Covenant we live in was enacted after the death of Jesus. One purpose of the Old Covenant was to make it absolutely clear that no man is righteous before God and that no one can save himself (Romans 3:10–11, 20). “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” There are no off days if you are living according to your righteousness. The ultimate purpose of the Old Covenant was to point people to Christ: “The law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Galatians 3:24–25). The Old Covenant established our guilt before God and our need for a Savior.

So. the correct translation of what Jesus is saying in Luke 9:23 happens as we continue moving forward in the text in the next two verses, verses 24 and 25.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self” (Luke 9:24-25)?

When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he’s saying the way to salvation is through Him and His cross. In the New Covenant taking up your cross daily doesn’t make sense and is impossible to do because you were already crucified (Galatians 2:20). I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me… (Gal 2:20a). The reason most Christians struggle to live the Christian life is they look at Luke 9:23 and are trying to die daily, they do not know they have already died with Christ.

“To deny yourself” (Luke 9:23) means to trust Jesus instead of self. Live each and every day out of the glorious relationship you have with the Lord. This Greek word “deny” (aparneomai) is to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests. This denial of self is the same thing for all Christians that the cross was for Jesus, namely, the submission to God’s will, not one’s own will.So, in our text Jesus made the cross central. Our Lord’s death was an absolute requirement and precondition of human redemption. As long as the will of man opposes the will of the Lord, salvation for that individual remains impossible.

All the Promises of God are Yes in Jesus

Daily Reading: (2 Corinthians 1:20):

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

In this verse we discover that we can’t receive any spiritual promise apart from or outside of Jesus. If we aren’t receiving a promise God made it isn’t that God isn’t sending it, our faithfulness to God is an Old Covenant problem that is solved by the New Covenant. So, if we aren’t receiving from God what God wants to give us, it doesn’t mean we are no longer in Christ, what it means that we need to get to the amen part of the verse in order to receive it. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God”

Amen is a declaration of our faith. The word “Amen” comes from the Hebrew word for faith. When we say, “Amen,” we are saying, “I agree, Lord. Be it unto me as it is in Your Word!”

When we believe for something that we don’t appear to have that God has promised to give, it says I trust in God’s faithfulness and it brings God glory. Amen means we take ownership of the promise God has made to us. Only you can “Amen” to what God’s Word says about you and your life. I can’t do it for you. Your grandparents or your parents or your friends can encourage you in it but only you can speak “Amen”.

Have confidence in God’s faithfulness to you. If He gave His only Son so that you might have life, will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things, especially those things He has promised to us?

One of the most common questions that I see in the Christian community is: “Why do some people experience their breakthrough but I don’t?” It all comes down to right believing. The word “repentance” is the Greek word “metanoia, which means “change of mind.” We repent by looking to Jesus and believing that all His promises are for us to claim.

If you belong to Christ by faith, then everything God could possibly give you for your good, He has signed over to your account in Christ. Is this promise in my account? Yes! “Every sinner who comes to God in Christ, with all his needs, finds God coming to him in Christ, with all his promises.” -John Piper[1]

Prayer is drawing on the account where God has deposited all His promises. Prayer is not hoping in the dark that there might be a God who could possibly provide us what we need, He already has and He will continue to do so in Jesus. Prayer goes to your spiritual bank account and draws on those promises. Amen spoken at the end of our prayer to God is affirming that God is faithful to deliver on His promises.


[1]John Piper. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/all-the-promises-of-god-are-yes-in-christ. December 31, 1989.

Promise of Protection

The Promise of Protection

Daily Reading: (Psalm 91:4-6):

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

The Psalmist refers to God with two different names. He calls God both Most High (El Elyon) and Almighty (El Shaddai). The Hebrew name for God Most High means the extremely-exalted, sovereign, High God. He that dwells in the secret place of the Extremely-Exalted, Sovereign, Almighty is the One absolute in power (Psalm 91:1). If you are a believer, the place you dwell and find your rest is in the protection of the one who has absolute power. When we know this truth about our positioning in Christ, protecting by the One with absolute power, what is there to fear? Wisdom tells us not to jump off a cliff without a parachute. The wise thing would to not gather in large crowds during a pandemic. As you go through your life guided by God’s leading, dangers will be present no matter what you do, but His protection is there for you.

This word rest or abide means to stay permanently. Our permanent dwelling place in Christ is with the extremely exalted Sovereign High God (El Elyon) under the shadow of the One in Absolute Power (El Shaddai), which means we have the protection of the Lord. 

Let’s follow the Psalmist in his writing: “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him” (Psalm 91:2). Do you trust the Most High? Do you trust that He loves you and that He has and will continue to take care of you? Do you trust him with your life?

 “For he will rescue you from every trap.” When you set a trap, it is to ensnare the unexpecting, otherwise, traps wouldn’t work. God’s protection protects us from dangers we can’t even see (Psalm 91:3).

“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Psalm 91:5-6).

When we receive His love for us the fear is cast out. David says in Psalm 91 that we don’t need to fear, we only need to trust. We were created, our bodies were not designed for fear. Our bodies were designed for faith and trust in our Creator (Psalm 91:2).

Psalm 91:15-16: “He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This means that trouble will most certainly come. The doctor could give troubling news but the report from the Lord is “I will deliver him”. Deliver him and honor him. As the troubles and the terrors come all around us may we remember that Jesus, Our High Priest prayed on our behalf, that God the Father would protect us from the evil in this world. “Father I pray not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil in the world” (John 17:15). His prayer was not to be delivered out of trouble, but to be protected in the midst of it.

The Psalm concludes in verse 16. “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” There is another name of God mentioned in Psalm 91 (Yeshua). So we started off with two names for God listed: El Elyon (Extremely-Exalted, Sovereign, High God) and (El Shaddia) absolute in power, and then finally Yeshua.“Show him my Salvation/Yeshua.” The final word of Psalm 91 is the name of Jesus.We have been shown our salvation is Yeshua/ Jesus.When trouble comes you will find salvation in the name of Jesus.

The Promise of Peace

The Promise of Peace

Daily Reading: (John 14:1-2, 27):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Peace is an interesting emotion as it is one of two Kingdom emotions that God wants your life to have right now, the other being joy. Peace and joy. These are the two emotions the devil works the hardest to try and remove from your life because they are Kingdom emotions. This is what you will experience for all of eternity in heaven, perpetual inner peace and great joy.  And what that means is every time you seek Christ’s kingdom and His righteousness, the righteousness that He has given to you, the emotions of both peace and joy will be present. You can find joy even in what would seem to be joyless moments and so I believe one of the main reasons the devil works so hard to try and rob us of peace and joy is those are the most attractive emotions that give us an opportunity to bring forth the very Light of the World to the lost and hurting people of the world.

If you make a choice to seek or pursue something outside the Kingdom or that might bring glory to God, peace and joy will not be present. So what this means is that your peace and joy are not linked to what happens to you, or what comes on you, it is linked directly to what you have in Christ (access to the Kingdom).

When bad things happen, use them as reminders to seek the Kingdom and the promise is you will have the Kingdom emotions flowing out of you of peace and joy. When bad things that come by way of the enemy will cause you to seek the kingdom first that will completely dismantle the enemy’s strategy. The devil is only able to rob from you, peace and joy by getting your mind on your situation instead of your Savior.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Trouble is coming on the disciples and Jesus wants His disciples (which includes all believers) to be ready, to not be moved to trouble but to be brought and kept by peace. To start the chapter off in John 14, Jesus says:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Did you notice what just happened? Jesus modeled for us what we are to do to not let our hearts be troubled, seek or reflect on the kingdom (John 14:1-2). In verse two, Jesus starts talking about the kingdom. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

Now moving ahead in the text Thomas at this point is troubled because he wants the GPS coordinates of how to get to the kingdom. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way” (John 14:5)?  There are two questions for me to answer here. The first question is for a non-believers? How do I get to heaven? How do I get to spend eternity on streets of gold with unending joy and peace where I am in the very presence of God forever? It is the grandest question of all time. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Anyone who believes in Jesus as the Messiah, the One who paid the penalty for their sins on the cross- John‘s Gospel tells us they will not perish but have everlasting life. If you place your trust in Christ today as your means of salvation- you have just found the way (Jesus Christ) to the Kingdom. 

Now the second question is for anyone who already is a believer. How do I have peace in the middle of my life’s storm?Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” But Pastor Matt, Jesus is talking about the way to the kingdom. And what does the kingdom bring? “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus showed us the way to the kingdom through Himself, so that we might have the kingdom emotion of peace right now. There is a promise of peace which takes us back to our main verse today.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus has permanently given you His peace (John 14:27). It is available to you whenever you put your mind on the Kingdom.

The Promise of Wisdom

The Promise of Wisdom

Daily Reading: (James 1:5-7):

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Only a foolish person would say I don’t need anymore wisdom in my life. In today’s world our brains are wired that when we don’t know the answer to something what do we generally do? We google it. But there are some answers we seek that Google can’t help us with.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask… Alexa. You should ask Siri, or Google, or just ask Jeeves. No!“If any of you lacks wisdom…” that is all of us and it is all the time. I want us to get out of the mindset that it is only life changing decisions where we need wisdom. We always need it and God is ready to give it.

So what exactly is wisdom?Wisdom in the Greek is the word sophia. There are generally two kinds of wisdom. The first is the wisdom of man. It simply means wisdom, broad and full of intelligence. We all know wise people. But even the wisest people you meet will have limitations in their wisdom.

This takes us to second definition of wisdom: supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God. If you try to discover wisdom apart from God you are seeking it from a limited intelligence source but if you want supreme intelligence, just ask God (James 1:5). This actually means something very specific and it is found in the last half of the verse which we will get to in a minute.

So we know the text says and life tells us if or even when we lack wisdom we should ask God for it and now the promise comes. “who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” What does finding fault have to do with asking for wisdom? How are we able to stand before God where He does not find any fault in us? How have we gained access to come boldly before the throne of grace that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need? It has to do with Jesus. Because of Jesus who is our wisdom, we are able to come before God for whatever it is that we need and we will find or be given grace (in this instance wisdom) to help us in our time of need.

God desires that we pursue wisdom as we are told in the Old Testament (Proverbs 4:7). However, we learn in the New Testament that Jesus is our wisdom.

“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Whatever your situation, make it your ambition to know the Lord. Know Jesus, and you will know wisdom. Pursue Jesus and you will experience wisdom in every area of your life. Because in Christ, God does not find fault and gives you generously what you need.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7).

If we lack wisdom ask God and ask Him in faith so that you might receive and you will receive wisdom generously. God who gives“generously” is the Greek adverb haplos and it reveals that God gives you wisdom led solely by His desire to bless you. Our part is simply to ask and believe God for it (James 1:6).