February 28, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO HELP ME SHARE CHRIST WITH OTHERS (part 2)

ISAIAH 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound

Not everyone is meek. I know that’s a strange way to begin a devotional. So if God has anointed me to preach to the meek, how am I supposed to know who that is? Now that is a bit sarcastic but let me explain. We talked yesterday how God had anointed us to share our faith. However, you and I can only share our faith with those that will listen. That is who the meek are in verse one. They are individuals that have humbled themselves enough to hear the truth. As you hopefully begin or continue to share your faith, it is important to understand that not everyone will have an open ear or heart. You and I cannot become discouraged when people resist. God has simply called us to share the truth with others, and we cannot control who listens or who doesn’t.

In addition to that, I want you to nice the next phrase that we will deal with today. The Lord “hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted”. It is very important for you and I understand that sharing our faith is not always preaching at people, but reaching out to people. You and I are the representatives of Christ. How can we tell them that Christ heals broken hearts, when they do not see us, as His representatives, doing the same thing. Sometimes the best way to “share” your faith, is to “show” your faith. After all, isn’t that why Christians have such a bad reputation with the world. They always hear us talking, but they do not ever feel us loving. We talk about a God who loves everyone, and yet they see Christians who only love certain people. Until we are willing to bind a broken heart, we are probably not ready to share our faith, because we really don’t have a faith that is ready to be shared. Yes, God is the one who mends broken hearts, but notice in the verse that Isaiah said that God sent “me”. God is the one who does it, but we are the ones that introduce them to God. Remember the verse,”how shall they hear without a preacher?”. Pardon my French, but people need a “preacher” and a “reacher”. If we don’t reach out to them, how can we preach to them? If we don’t care, how can we share?

You see, God gives us the same anointing to help broken hearted people, as He does to preach to unsaved people. Both require the power of God, and both are vital when it comes to sharing our faith. May we teach our children, by example, that in order to show people the love of God, we have to show the love of God to people.

February 27, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO HELP ME SHARE CHRIST WITH OTHERS (part 1)

ISAIAH 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

it is always intimidating to most people when you bring up the subject of sharing Christ with others. It can be a very scary experience. While it does come easier to some, I believe it is somewhat difficult for all. We don’t want to impose, we do not want to make others feel uncomfortable, we feel that it is an awkward situation, and we fear that they might become upset or put us on the spot. So many reasons why it is difficult. Then us preachers unwisely will get up and say that a person doesn’t really love the Lord if they do not share their faith aggressively. We can try to guilt people into evangelizing. Let me make it clear that if an individual finds it very difficult to share their faith, that does not mean that they do not love the Lord. It is true that every saved, redeemed individual should desire to share with others what Christ has done for them. But I do not feel most of the time that it is because they are ashamed of Christ, it is simply the fact that they are intimidated by circumstances and individuals.

Having said all that, we need to look at the promise that this verse shares. First, I want you to understand that in verse one, the first phrase states that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Isaiah. You see, before Jesus Christ died, rose again, and ascended back into heaven, the Spirit of God would come upon a believer. But now that we have been given the Comforter, the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of the Lord lives inside of us. Before Christ, the Spirit of God came upon an individual to help, strengthen, and empower. But now, the Spirit of God lives inside of us to do these things. So when we read the Old Testament and hear what the Spirit of God moved upon an individual to do, we now have the Holy Spirit already living inside of us that will do the exact same thing.

Isaiah says that the Spirit of God anointed him to share good tidings. Similarly, remember that the word gospel means good news. You and I have been anointed to share the gospel, the good news of Christ. This word “anoint” is a wonderful word. It means more than just one thing. Let me explain:

1) Anoint means that we have been CHOSEN. That means when we chose Christ, He chose us. That means we are different, blessed, and loved.
2) Anoint means that we have been CALLED. That means that the Lord not only chose us to serve, but has extended a “call” to us to serve. If you’ve been saved by the Grace of God, you do not have to wonder if you have been called or not. You have!
3) Anoint means that we have been COMMISSIONED. That means that the Lord has empowered us. He has given us what we need, to do what He has called us to do. When He called us, He has given us access to all of His resources.

We will continue to deal with this tomorrow, but I want you to understand and important truth today. You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you if you have been born again. Because of that, you have what you need to share your faith with others. There might be a lot you don’t understand, and a lot you still have to learn, but you can do it, and God can give you the ability to share your faith.

February 26, 2018

 

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO DELIVER ME FROM ALL MY FEARS

PSALM 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

David wrote this Psalm. According to the heading of this chapter, David wrote this following his experience with King Achish. It will speak of Abimelech, but this a title given to different Philistine kings. This particular king was Achish. I Samuel 21:10-15 records this particular experience that David had. What a learning experience! It is important to notice that David sought the Lord. That is probably why you are reading this devotional, and why you try to get into God’s Word every day. You are seeking the Lord.

* Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD….

You won’t find the Lord until you seek for Him with all your heart. That is exactly what David was doing here. I encourage all of us to do the same.

It is also encouraging to see that God heard David. That is still true by the way. God still hears us when we call Him. Even when we are acting crazy. (You need to read what happened in I Samuel 21 to understand that one) we might not always do right, be right, or act right. We might get confused, calloused, or crazy, but God still hears us. What a blessing.

Then we come to the best part. God heard, and then He delivered. In case you did not notice, the verse does not say that God delivered David from the experience. It does not say that God delivered David from the problem. It says that God delivered David from all David’s fears. You and I, as David did here, often fear things that will never take place. The problem is often not what causes us the most difficulty. It is usually our fear of the problem. Bible says that perfect love casteth out fear. Often Satan does not have to attack us with an actual problem, all he has to do to usually is to make us fear that there will be a problem. Our problems usually do not cause as much trouble for us as our fear did. You get the point.

Finally, it is interesting to me that his versus uses the phrase, “all my fears”. It is hard to ever find a really good place to use the word “all”. We often use it where we should not be using it.
When we are frustrated with someone we will say, “you always do that”. The truth is that they do not always do that, but we exaggerate. We will sometimes argue on our own behalf when accused of not doing something expected that “I make sure to do that all the time”. When in truth we do not do that all the time. Rarely is the word “all” an accurate term to use. But God’s Word is accurate and it is appropriate here. God can deliver us from all our fears. We still may have to go through certain circumstances, trials, and burdens, but God can deliver us from the fears that are associated with them. That is why David wrote these words:

Psalm 56:1 Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. 2 Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. 3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

I am persuaded that He is able to deliver me from all my fears!

February 24, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE MY SUFFICIENCY (part 2)

II Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness

As you can see, God takes ownership of two things in this verse. He says, “My grace”, and “My strength.” The only thing we have to offer is our “weakness”. That pretty much says it all doesn’t it? The best that we have to offer is still weakness, as compared to God‘s strength.

However, God makes an interesting statement. He says, “my strength is made perfect in weakness”. Honestly, it is a bit confusing. You would think that God’ strength is already perfect. Why is there something that is needed to make His strength perfect? The simple answer to this makes sense. Until you and I realize how weak we are, we do not totally depend on God’s strength. You and I have no clue how sufficient God‘s strength is, until we become so weak that we must access all of His strength.

Let me illustrate. Our family vehicle has four-wheel-drive. The four-wheel-drive works perfectly. The issue is that we do not need the four-wheel-drive very often. The four-wheel- drive might work perfectly, but I do not know if it works perfectly until I need it, and until I use it. We recently had ice and snow and we found some icy spots on the road we were driving on and sure enough, we used the four-wheel-drive and it worked perfectly. You see, God‘s strength is perfect, but we do not realize that it is until we need it, and we use it. Only when something is used, do you know that it is perfect.

If I may, I would like to point out something else that you may not have noticed. God never tells Paul that God’s strength is made perfect in Paul’s weakness. God just said that his strength is made perfect in weakness. There are some infirmities in our life that were not created because of our weakness, but may have come about from the weakness of others. Weaknesses in sin, weaknesses in personality, or even weaknesses in character. It really does not matter if it is your weakness, a family member’s weakness, or someone weakness in your life. God‘s strength is made perfect in any weakness and in any situation. In any weakness, God has the chance to display the perfection of His strength.

Do you have an infirmity that has uncovered some weakness in your life. Has a trial stripped you of your “strength”. I have some good news. God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is perfect. It sounds to me like you have all you need!

February 23, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE MY SUFFICIENCY (part 1)

II Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness….”

This particular passage is dealing with the Apostle Paul’s infirmity, and his relationship with God as he was going through it. Let me just say that each of us have our own infirmities in life. Some are worse than others. Some occupy our minds more than others. some are more prevalent than others. Our infirmities might not be the same thing that Paul was dealing with, but it does not really matter what the particular infirmity we are going through, what matters is that each of us rely upon God as we deal with it.

I first notice that Paul, as he was describing what transpired between he and God, tells us that God talked to him. “And He said unto me.” God really is an ever present help when we face trials. God is always present. God is always there. God always cares. I have never heard the audible voice of God, and you have not either, but I have heard the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to me internally. At times when I have needed it the most, God spoke to me. I want you to know today that God will speak to you also. You are not alone, and you are not going through trials alone. God is there!

Secondly, God makes this statement,”My grace is sufficient for thee”. Did you hear that? MY GRACE! God owns grace. Nothing else will be enough. No one else will be enough. It is always the grace of God. Where would we be without it?

God also makes it clear that His grace is “sufficient”. That word simply means “enough”. God’s grace is enough. It always has been and it always will be. For some reason we think that what we are going through at the present time, is larger and bigger and greater than anything else anyone has ever been through in history. We think that God’s grace will not be enough for what we are going through, and yet God‘s grace has been enough for everything that has ever transpired in a Christians life in all of history. God is reminding Paul hear that his problem is not as big as God’s grace. I know that when we face infirmities, we look to a lot of things, and a lot of people, for strength and help and encouragement. But when we look to others, we often have unrealistic expectations that they should be enough to fix our problems. People will never be sufficient for all of our problems. Nothing will ever be sufficient except for the grace of God.

I encourage you today to simply rest and trust the sufficiency of God’s grace. It really is enough. You don’t need new things, new friends, new purchases, new getaways, or a new life. They will be a temporary fix for a long lasting problem. They will not be sufficient, but God’s grace will. I am persuaded of that!

February 22, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO TALK WITH ME

EXODUS 33:9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses

It is difficult for someone like me who was raised by good, Godly parents, who knew the Bible and taught me the Bible, to imagine what it would be like to not be able to just talk to God whenever and wherever I want to. We have unobstructed access to God the Father anytime we want because of the blood of Christ. Here in this verse, Moses, needing to speak to God, entered the tabernacle and the presence of God entered in the form of a cloudy pillar. The Bible says that the cloudy pillar of God’s presence stood at the door of the tabernacle.

So much to say to this. I trust you know that, as a Christian, our body is the tabernacle of God. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit descends into our hearts. Revelation illustrates that Christ literally stands at our hearts door and knocks, much as God was standing at the door of the tabernacle. So our heart’s door is literally the door to the tabernacle. God is now not in Cloudy Form, God dwells in us in Spirit Form.

In Moses’ day, God only dwelled in the holy of holies in the back of the tabernacle because there was so much sin present with the people. Today there is still sin present when God’s people show up at the tabernacle. They even get upset sometimes when the preacher preaches against sin. Little do they understand how much God hates sin. But we are blessed that our sin has been covered by the blood of Christ, so we can now go boldly to the throne of Grace, and request presence with God our Father.

I said all that in explanation for me to be able to say this. God entered an earthly tabernacle in cloudy pillar form just to do one thing. To “talk with Moses”. God loves to talk to us. He loves to spend time with us. God longs to be wanted by His children. God just wants to talk with you.
If you are running errands driving in your car, He wants to talk with you. If you are lonely and feeling misunderstood by people, God is ready to talk with you. It is a bit hard to believe someone as important as God would want to talk to comparably very unimportant people like us. But He does. Because Moses showed to talk with God, God showed up to talk with him.

May I challenge you today? Show up to talk with God. Get up a little earlier, take less time on lunch break, or go to bed a little later. Just because we are spoiled and have easy access to Him, there is no excuse to make such little effort to spend time with Him. He is willing to talk. He is wanting to talk. He is waiting to talk. God is Standing there at the door of your tabernacle, just waiting to be invited in. By the way, it is great to let God know the things going on in your life, but remember it is far more important to hear what God has to say to you, then it is for Him to hear what you have to say to God.