Yesterday I was reading a story in Mark 10:17-24, about the encounter between a rich, young man and Jesus. I have to say, even though I’ve read about this encounter before and heard others speak about it, for the first time, I found myself drawn to it, and wanted to write to you about it.
Let’s see what we can assume about this young man. He was probably raised in a wealthy, highly respected, Jewish family, because He lets us know he had an excellent Jewish education and the Bible tells us he had many wealthy possessions. I assume he must have heard about Jesus by reputation, because when he greets Him, he addresses Jesus as ‘Teacher’ or in some translations, ‘Rabbi’. That in itself is not unusual, but those who knew Jesus usually called Him Lord. And He immediately tells Jesus He is ‘good’. In the original translation, the word good used here, refers to being morally perfect, as one who knows and flawlessly observes to do the law of Moses. I can’t help imagine that he said this to Jesus based on the stories he had heard of how Jesus, since a child, would spend hours in the synagogues, teaching and explaining the ancient scrolls of scripture to the leaders and Pharisees. The Bible says they were all amazed at His wisdom and understanding of the scriptures. And He grew in stature with man and God.
After he respectfully complimented Jesus on being ‘good’, he immediately asked if Jesus could tell him how he could have eternal life. There seemed to be a certain urgency in this young man’s question, especially since he fell on his knees before Jesus asking Him. You get the feeling he was imploring Him for an answer that he was certain, only a person with such a high reputation for the knowledge and understanding of the scriptures could answer.
Jesus responds by saying, “Why do you call Me [essentially and perfectly morally] good? There is no one [essentially and perfectly morally] good—except God alone...”. Now we know that Jesus was the Son of God, and that He was without sin. He also usually made no secret of Who He was whenever He taught the people. So why this statement? I’m sure there are other explanations different to mine, but I wonder if He was testing to see the true heart of this young man. It was obvious this was a conversation that meant a great deal to him. But somehow, I think Jesus was probing this young man to see if he perceived Jesus to be just a well known teacher of the scriptures, or the giver of salvation Himself - the Son of God.
In the next breath, Jesus addresses the young man on his passion, by saying, “You know the commandments: Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.” To which the young man is confident to answer that he not only guards the law of Moses, but observes to do what it says and does everything in his power to not violate it. Something he proudly, and passionately admits doing since he was a boy. Ahaha! So now Jesus has brought the conversation to a pivotal point.
It’s obvious this young man has a deep seated, high regard for the scriptures, and he has been diligent to apply every law to his life as much as he humanly can. This seemed to give him a sense of confidence and self-righteousness, and he was so poised and ready to hear this renowned teacher, tell him his passageway to heaven was secured because of it. And for a brief moment, I’m sure it looked as if Jesus might just do that, because the Bible says He looked upon the young man and loved him.
But alas! The next four words Jesus spoke unravelled that young man, right there on the spot. He said, “You lack one thing...”.
And then he proceed to tell the young man to sell all he had and give the money away to the poor. Then to come and follow Him - to walk the same life Jesus walked. What on earth? Well, that young man went on his way completely distraught. And we see Jesus explaining to his equally confused disciples, “With what difficulty will those who possess wealth and keep on holding it enter the kingdom of God!...how hard it is for those who trust (place their confidence, their sense of safety) in riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
Could it be, that the riches Jesus was referring to here were more than just wealthy possessions, but the mere head knowledge of Him and the scriptures too? Do you suppose, that if the young man knew the person of Jesus, instead of just knowing about Him, things may have turned out differently? If he could just make the switch from an intellectual knowledge of the ‘Teacher’, to one that involved knowing Him with His heart, He would have understood that getting rid of all his possessions, really didn’t matter. Once he pledged His life to following the Son of God, He would never know lack or be without, ever again.
But this young man was not willing to shift his trust and confidence onto truly knowing the person of Jesus, and off his false sense of security based on his intellectual knowledge of the scriptures, and his material wealth. Even though his head was full of the Word of God, it had not reached the place of his heart; preventing him from having his life eternally enriched.
I wonder how many of us need reminding of the danger of our misplaced security and confidence?
Love you dearly,
Sunday, October 22, 2017
If you are feeling discouraged in any way, or you feel tired and weary from the stress or weight of your circumstances, then today’s message is for you. Perhaps you are facing a ‘mountain’ of some sort, one that seems too overwhelming to even contemplate conquering right now, and you have no idea how you will ever get the strength to do it. No matter what battle or scenario you are facing, I want to remind you of what the Word of God says about you and how you can draw from His powerful, supernatural inner strength to energise and empower you to rise up, face that problem and stand strong in the victory Jesus has already secured for you.
In the book of Philippians 4:13, Paul writes, "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]."
Do you notice how Paul says he has strength for all things, is ready and equal to anything, and is self-sufficient not because of anything he has done, but because he is simply IN CHRIST?
Ephesians 6:10 says, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].”
In this scripture, Paul is telling us again, that the strength we need to overcome anything in this life is drawn from our union with Jesus Christ. We are EMPOWERED by His Spirit that lives inside us.
1 Corinthians 6:17 says, “whoever is united to the Lord, is one spirit with Him.” One translation says our spirit is laminated to His Spirit. And since we know that all the power of God is wrapped up and locked up in the Spirit of Christ, and our spirit man is also wrapped up and one with His Spirit; we can draw a logical conclusion, that the power of God and our own spirits are in the very same place - the Spirit of Christ, Who lives in us.
Which means, that strength you need to face whatever plagues your mind today, is already inside of you. All you need to do is draw from it.
Take a look at what Ephesians 1:19 says, "And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength,"
The key lies in these three words: KNOW, UNDERSTAND and BELIEVE! Only when we know what the Word says about us, and understand how it works in our lives, and believe it’s true, can we actually walk in the reality of it. Drawing from God’s strength and living victoriously doesn’t just happen automatically. It’s true, the hard part is already done through Jesus and the finished work of the cross. Our part is the easy part - we just have to spend time in His Word educating ourselves as to what He has done for us and made available to us. Then when we understand it, by actually having a mental picture of how it can be appropriated in our lives, and believe it, we can walk in it.
I want to encourage you today to spend time with the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. Meditate on the scriptures I have written above. The ask the Holy Spirit to give you an understanding, a mental picture of Him infusing His Mighty inner strength into your body, your mind, and your emotions, from your spirit, where He dwells. As you open up your heart to receive that fresh flow of supernatural strength, believe that it will do exactly what the Word says it will do. It will empower, energise, refresh and revitalise you to stand strong and overcome anything you are facing today.
All my love,
Ps. Here are a few more scriptures for you to meditate on, as you reach out and receive your powerful, supernatural, inner strength by faith.
Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Psalm 31:24, “And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.”
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”
Isaiah 58:11, “The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
1 Peter 5:10, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Just recently, friends of ours had their home broken into. Thankfully they were not home during the incident, and very little was taken, not even food, but the damage done to their property and belongings was horrible. The thieves broke huge plains of window glass to get in. They cut themselves badly in the process. As a result, everything they rummaged through was soaked in blood. Bedding, clothes, the carpets and kitchen counters had so much blood, leaving stains that just can’t be removed. I have to tell you, this really upset me. I went straight to Lord about it. I was angry at the senseless, unnecessary crime against our friends. Just thinking about it made me want to see JUSTICE!
I have to ask you a question, what is your reaction towards someone who intentionally does you or someone you love, wrong? Suppose it wasn’t a robbery like my friends suffered, but you, or your loved ones were treated unfairly or were on the receiving end of the actions of a mean-spirited person. Oh my, there are so many scenarios we can think of where we could be mistreated or hurt by others. And I’m pretty sure, our first reaction would be shock and hurt, certainly disappointment. That would make perfect sense. But today, I want to talk to you about a different response we can have when we take our angry, disappointed hearts that cry out for JUSTICE to the Lord, concerning our offenders.
Now, I have to smile at this thought, because when I’m alone with the Lord, I always feel free to ‘bare my all’ before Him. Maybe it’s because I know He doesn’t judge me, no matter how ugly the true feelings of my soul appear. But what makes me laugh at myself is the fact that as soon as I’m in His presence, my heart is exposed to His influence. This means He is going to show me things from His perspective, which is ALWAYS a ‘game changer’.
Just like all of you, there have been times where I have cried out to the Lord for JUSTICE to be done for something that was simply WRONG and INJUST. And in each instance, the Lord showed me a better response, actually, the best response. The response of MERCY.
Now before you get upset, or stop reading this letter, let me explain what I’ve learnt about MERCY, and how it destroys the work and intent of the real enemy in our lives.
MERCY is part of God’s nature. It’s in His character to be merciful. I looked up the definition of MERCY in the Word and the dictionary. It means, having compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted. It also means readiness to help, to spare, to forgive. And this one sums it up beautifully: Mercy is compassion and forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
I should also mention that I’ve realized, as long as we are tied to this physical world in our thinking and actions, we can’t tap into the supernatural grace and provision God has made available for us.
God has always shown me His mercy, especially when I deserved to see His justice. And as much as He extends His mercy to me, He extends it to those who don’t even know Him. Luke 6:35b, says, “He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.” No matter what we or anyone else does, the Bible says that God longs to pardon, not punish.
God’s MERCY is very great, and since He lives in us, our spirits carry His MERCY too. That’s why in Luke 6:36, we are told, “So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].”
So, what if we decided to pray for His MERCY instead of JUSTICE when it comes to those who wrong us? I recently came across something Kenneth Copeland wrote, in Faith to Faith, A Daily Guide to Victory. He pointed out that instead of praying against those who wrong us, we would be praying for them, when we pray for God’s MERCY on them. We would be praying against the devil on their behalf. Praying that the devil’s hold on them would be broken and that they be drawn into the light and love of God instead. Oh my goodness, that would certainly throw the kingdom of darkness into chaos. What was intended to steal our peace and joy, and keep the offenders in the devil’s evil grip, would completely backfire!
The next time you find yourself about to ask the Lord for JUSTICE, take a moment to consider asking for MERCY instead, I guarantee, it’ll be a real game changer!
Love you all,
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Today, I want to assure you, that no matter what you are facing, you are not alone. The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 6:17, that the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. What an amazing comfort to know The Holy Spirit Himself is living inside us. He is our teacher and personal guide, a constant help and companion. He is the One who will always stand by us, to comfort and lead us to a place of safety in Him.
The really exciting part is when we learn to be in tune with Him, to train the ear of our hearts to hear His calm, sure voice speaking into our spirits. Thats when our spirits relay His promptings into our minds. It comes like a sudden, new thought that we know is from Him, and not our own, because it holds a sense of clarity and peace that resonates right through our souls. For me, it can sometimes be a simple knowing that I need to forgive someone, or an inner warning to ‘hold my tongue’ when I’m tempted to speak negative words. Many times, I feel Him prompting me to stop worrying and focus on the things I’m so grateful for.
The more we choose to turn our thoughts towards the Lord throughout the day, we will find Him continuously encouraging and reminding us of what His Word says about us. We all have times of feeling frustrated when we don’t understand why certain things turn out the way they do. That’s when we should press in even more. It’s in those times we can actually sense Him encouraging us to talk it out with Him, not just to get it ‘off our chests’, but to actually have Him speak to us. That is so satisfying because sometimes He answers with one whisper of assurance that He is in control, and that simple trust is our only requirement. Other times, He reminds us of a truth from His Word that has remarkable relevance to the situation. There are even times that prove a little more painful, because He reveals some or other issues we seem to have allowed to creep into our hearts and minds. I suppose it’s like having our own personal life-coach, just so much better, because His love and tenderness towards us is always, undeniably, the most prevalent emotion we sense and tangibly feel when He speaks into our hearts. In Romans 5:5, it says the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts. And we experience that unstoppable, unconquerable love that never fails, flowing from His heart into ours. And it really does drive out all fear.
I am always confident and aware of the fact that the Holy Spirit within us, speaks truth with hope, and that brings us peace. It’s His gentle but sure working inside us. This is what Jesus spoke about in John 15, when He urges us to live in Him, so that He can live in us and cause us to bear much fruit. Verse 3 says, “You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you.” Every prompting the Holy Spirit speaks into your spirit, that you pay attention to and abide by, is His work within you, cleansing and pruning you, to bear much fruit. That fruit is evidence of His presence being at work in your life. It shows the world around you that no matter what storm is raging, you have a sure, inner peace that guards your mind, and a supernatural joy that gives you tremendous strength of character. He reminds you that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that in Him, you are safe and secure. In all that you have to do today, I urge you to turn your ear to the voice of the Holy Spirit inside of you. Let Him be the truth that guides you and the One to remind you that through Him, all things are possible, and that you are not alone.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
“What in the world is going on?” That’s a phrase I seem to hear spoken everywhere, and in most conversations these days. Devastation, calamity, collapse....it seems the whole world has been turned upside down. The very things people have always been able to put their trust or security in have faltered or failed, leaving them shaken and troubled. However, while we are all faced with uncertainty in so many ways, there is always a constant, stable, and unchanging truth that will keep us sure, established and steadfast, no matter what comes crumbling down around us. That is the WORD OF GOD.
Matthew 24:35 says, “Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” I found the very same phrase written in Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33. Then in Matthew 5:18, I found this: “For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished.”
I do believe, no matter what we encounter in this fallen world, we will always have the assurance that whatever the Word of God says and promises, is exactly what will happen. Everything that is recorded in God’s Word will be accomplished before the sky and the earth pass away.
Oh I know It’s easy for anyone to become concerned or shaken by the events that are taking place around the world. But we can be sure that nothing will ever be able to prevent God’s promises being fulfilled in our personal lives.
If you are feeling shaken or unsure about your future in any way, I want to remind you of this powerful truth: God loves you, He completely understands what you are facing and has promised to perfect all things concerning you (Psalm 138:8). Job 36:5 says, “Behold! God is mighty, and yet despises no one nor regards anything as trivial; He is mighty in power of understanding and heart.” AMP Whatever you are going through, know you have a mighty God Who does not consider your concerns to be trivial. He not only has an understanding heart, He is powerful and will always fulfil His promises concerning you.
Whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed, I turn to the one thing that will always remain MY CONSTANT - the truth of GOD’S WORD. I choose to make the promises I find in it my reality. Why? Because 1 Peter 2:6, Romans 9:33, Isaiah 28:16 and many other related scriptures, all testify to Jesus, the Living Word, being the FIRM FOUNDATION we can always depend on. He is the Word revealed to us and we will NEVER be ASHAMED for putting our entire hope and trust in Him. If you ever find yourself feeling discouraged, why not spend some time meditating on these scriptures below and allow the Spirit of the Lord to make them real to you. They will strengthen and encourage you to keep pushing forward in Him, never losing sight of the hope you find in trusting Him - YOUR CONSTANT in this life.
“Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic].” Isaiah 28:16 AMP
“...he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.” Romans 9:33 AMP
“...he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall never be disappointed or put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6 AMP
“But He said to me, My grace (My favour and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!” 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP
All my love,