Sunday Morning Word

Do You Know the Word of God?

How many of us can say that we know the word of God; that we can quote scripture on cue; that while we may not have every Bible verse memorized, we have an arsenal of verses we cling to in times of need; that we read the Bible every day?

In my church, our theme for 2017 is “Journey into Knowing God,” and part of knowing God is reading and understanding His word. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” If you think you can function through this life having never opened your Bible, you’re wrong. Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Likewise, Psalm 1:2 informs us that blessed is the one “whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who mediates on his law day and night.”

When you know the word of God, when you study it daily and apply it to your life, you will find success. That’s not to say that everything in life will be a breeze, but there’s a certain peace that comes with knowing God’s word, with relying on the scriptures to get you through the day. The word of God isn’t just reading material, an obligation for every Christian. Here are just a few things the word of God can do for us:

  • The word of God teaches us – “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
  • The word of God corrects us – “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)
  • The word of God humbles us – “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
  • The word of God guides us – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
  • The word of God comforts us – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NKJV); “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
  • The word of God is food for our spirit – “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)

I think the best example of how knowing the word of God can lead to successful living, overcoming adversities, staying aligned with the will of God, is in the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). After fasting for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, Jesus was hungry and vulnerable, and that’s usually when temptation will show its ugly face, when we are at our weakest point. But remember 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul says, “When I am weak, then I am strong,” and we gain that strength by leaning on the word of God.

Each of Jesus’ responses to the devil’s temptations comes directly from scripture. When Satan tells Jesus to turn the stones to bread for food, Jesus says, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”  (Matthew 4:4). When Satan tells Jesus to throw himself off the highest point of the temple to see if the Lord’s angels will catch him, Jesus responds, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Matthew 4:7). When Satan promises Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He will only bow down and worship him, Jesus answers, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’”  (Matthew 4:10).

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

And afterward, after the devil leaves Him, the Bible says the angels come down and tend to Jesus, likely giving Him food and water to regain His strength (Matthew 4:11). What I like about this last verse is that it confirms for me that my knowledge of the word is never in vain. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” There’s a fulfillment that comes with knowing and understanding the word of God, when you can apply it to your life, when you can use it in times of need. Keep in mind that if Jesus had given in to the devil and sinned against God, He couldn’t be the Savior of the world. His knowledge of the word— the Bible says He IS the word (John 1:14)—saves us from death and damnation. And our knowledge of the word, our dependence on the word, our belief in the word will save us also.

So I challenge you, if you’re not in the habit of reading your Bible, do it now. Find a translation that is easiest for you to understand and set aside some time every day to read God’s word, whether it’s a verse of the day every morning, a psalm during your lunch break, a parable of Jesus before you go to bed. In my church we are reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. That’s about five to six chapters a day. I invite you to join in. Start your year on today, and from now until next August immerse yourself in the word of God. Study His commandments, take heed of His warnings, follow His teachings. Mark the scriptures that speak to you most, mediate on them, memorize and understand them, so that when the time comes, you always have them in your back pocket, to get you through temptations, to reveal to you truths you never knew, to guide your footsteps when life brings you to a crossroads. The word of God can be all of that for you and more.

God Bless.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we desire to know your word. Feed us with every word from your mouth. Like newborn babies, we crave pure spiritual milk, that by it we may mature in our salvation. While the grass withers and the flowers fade, we know that your word lasts forever. Through every trial, through every storm, through every temptation of the enemy, your word is still there. Teach us to remember it. Bring it back to the forefront when we need it the most. Help us to not just be listeners but doers also, applying your word to our lives. Be the sower who plants the seed of your word on good ground, and open our hearts to receive it so that we may be lights in this dark world, guiding others back to you, sharing the truth of your word in peace and love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Inspirational Spoken Word

“The Gate” by Chris Webb

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21; NIV

On Sunday, we asked you the question: Are you doing the will of God? It requires a simple answer—yes or no—but according to Matthew 7:21, that answer bears so much weight. It can determine whether or not you will be welcomed into God’s kingdom once you die.

For those who think that after you’re saved that’s it, there’s so much more you could be doing. James 2:17 says faith without works is useless. We must be like the one in Jesus’ parable of the sower, who’s heart was good soil, able to receive the seed and produce a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, and thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:23). Likewise, in Jesus’ parable of the talents, a master who goes on a journey leaves his three servants in charge of his property according to their abilities. To one he gives five talents, and that servant goes out and works it and gained five more. To the second he gives two talents, and that servant goes out and works and gains two more. Upon his return, he tells these two, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:19-23).

However, the third servant, to whom the master gives just one talent, goes out and buries his, producing nothing. This is what we tend to do. As my pastor often says, we sit on our rusty dusties, content with being saved, but we do no work to promote the kingdom of heaven. What use does God have for us? In the parable, the master calls this servant “wicked” and “lazy.” He says this “worthless” servant should be thrown outside, “into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:26, 30), which could be a direct correlation for where we’ll end up if we don’t do the will of God.

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew  you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:22-23; NKJV

We can’t just be hearers of the word, but doers also (James 1:22). What’s the point of going to church every Sunday, praying daily, and studying the word if you’re not applying anything that you learn to your own life? And when applying the works of our faith to our lives, we must make sure that we are always aligned with the will of God and not our own mission. This is the issue Jesus had with the Pharisees of His day. They made a practice of religion for their own selfish purposes. They did works to be seen and to receive the praises of men. They held themselves up on pedestals and did nothing to serve the people in need.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13; NLT

We must be the complete opposite. Look to Jesus as our example, who did nothing on his own, but everything according to the will of the Father. John 4:34 says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” And again in John 6:38 Jesus says, “For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Even the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak on His own authority, but only what He hears (John 16:13). In the same way, we too should act only on what we hear from God so that we don’t become self-righteous like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.

Remember, we didn’t choose God, but He chose us, and He chose us for a purpose. To go out and bear good fruit that will last (John 15:16). Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 that you will know those who are true by their fruit, for a good tree will only produce good fruit, but a bad tree can only produce bad fruit and so should be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:16-20). How can we ensure that we are always producing good fruit so that we will receive our eternal reward in heaven and avoid the fire and the darkness and the gnashing of teeth? By staying aligned with God’s will and His word.

God Bless.

“Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5; NKJV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive us for focusing on our own desires instead of what you will for our lives. Forgive us for doing works in your name for our own selfish purposes. Forgive us for not doing what you’ve called us to do, for burying our assignments to collect dust. We desire to be your faithful servants in whom your are well pleased, producing a harvest in our hearts thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold, because that is what you ask of us. We desire after your heart, Lord. Help us to be doers of your word and not our own. Help us to do your will and do it cheerfully, without complaining or arguments, so that when the day comes, we will be welcomed with open arms into your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us to Use Our Time Wisely

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Do  you ever feel like there’s never enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list? You’re always scrambling to catch up, but every time one major project is finished, another is slammed right down on your desk to take its place. Try as you might, you can’t seem to get ahead of those burdensome deadlines. Twenty-four hours just isn’t long enough these days.

Today, we live in a fast-paced world, and a lot of us have become busy bodies. Our mindset is always work, work, work, work. We work to eat, we work to pay bills. We wake up in the morning sluggish, gulp down two to three cups of coffee before getting in the car and driving down busy roads and highways, crowded with more sluggish coffee drinkers commuting to work. We spend eight to ten hours in an office working, leaving our seats only to use the bathroom, sometimes holding the need to “go” until the last minute, often eating lunch at our desks. Occasionally we  stay late, using the excuse that we can get more work done no one is around to interrupt, leaving only when the night janitor comes to vacuum. We stop for takeout on the way home because we’re too tired to cook, and when we get home, we bring that same work with us, sometimes even falling asleep on it, dreaming about it. Then we wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42; NIV

We are too busy. Does any of the work we’re doing amount to anything? When Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, Martha distracts herself with endless preparations, running back and forth throughout the house, I can only imagine, like a chicken with its head cut off. Meanwhile, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to His every word. When Martha asks Jesus to make her sister help her, He rebukes her for being so worked up over things that don’t matter.

I’ll admit I’ve been distracted. This week has been full of distractions. From threats of nuclear war, to the horrific acts of terrorism in Charlottesville, VA, to personal matters like work assignments, project deadlines, trying to appease everyone, you name it. I’ve been stressed, I’ve been sleep deprived, my mind has been racing towards everything but what’s important. I had to stop and ask myself one question. Are any of the things I’m worrying over promoting the kingdom of God? If the answer is no, then let them go.

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

So what are you doing that’s got you so busy, and is it in accordance with God’s will. As I said in Sunday’s post, sometimes you have to sacrifice certain things so that you can be aligned with God’s purposes for your life. It’s a lesson I am still learning as I continue to shed certain “busy works” off my to-do list so that I can dedicate more time to reading and meditating on the Word, praying consistently, and of course, sharing all that I learn here on this forum.

If you are struggling to hear what your assignment is from God, if you are having a hard time understanding His will for your life, look for distractions that could be blocking you from hearing His word. Maybe it’s television, or the news, or social media, or maybe you’re just too busy doing “other” things. As my pastor often says, we should never be too busy for God. And truly, twenty-four hours should be more than enough time to spend at least five minutes of it with God to ask Him what He wills for us to do that day. It all comes down to how we choose to use our time.

Whenever I start to veer off the path God has set for me, it’s usually a sure sign that I need to fast. And a fast doesn’t always have to be not eating food. You can fast your favorite television show, sports, certain kinds of music, Facebook, Twitter, anything that you feel has become a distraction and has drawn you away from sitting at the feet of Jesus.

So what’s got you so busy? Are you more like Martha and less like Mary. I challenge you this week to stop. Stop doing what you’re doing, stop your tireless work, and just listen. Listen for God to speak to you, and hear what He has to say.

God Bless.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to use our time wisely. Help us to do your will rather than focus on busy tasks. Clear our minds and realign our focus. We want to be about your business, Lord. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We desire to listen and obey. We trust you to guide our footsteps, leaning not unto our own understanding, but acknowledging that you are always in control and that you know exactly where you are taking us. We ask for your peace which transcends all understanding, to guard our hearts and minds in you, that we are never distracted from what’s important by the busyness of life in this world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sunday Morning Word

Are You Doing the Will of God?

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Do you know God’s predetermined plan for your life? If so, are you doing your part to bring that plan to fruition?

There’s so much we can say about God’s will, but for the sake of keeping this post relatively short, I’ll (try to) give you the quick version. So, what is God’s will? Most of us are taught that there are two wills of God. First is His sovereign or general will for every Christian believer. To know this will, all we have to do is open our Bibles. God’s sovereign will asks us to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 1:15-16), to be examples of Christ on earth (Matthew 5:16; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1-2), to pursue a relationship with God (John 17:3; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Hebrews 10:22; James 4:8), to live by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 5:18-20), to make disciples of the nations (Matthew 9:36-38; 28:19-20). In other words, God’s general or sovereign will is to promote the coming of the kingdom of heaven.

God’s specific will is His purpose or assignment for each individual person. Usually this will is reveal to us through prayer, reading the word, or meditation. God’s specific will is equally as important as His general will, and I believe the two wills work together. In order to bring God’s general will to pass (which, let’s be clear here, it’s coming regardless), are you doing what you are supposed to do? Are you doing your individual assignment?

And that’s the problem with many of us today. We don’t want to do the will of God. We’re too selfish. We have our own goals and aspirations, and God will just have to wait. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but its the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” What ends up happening is that God goes out and finds someone else who is willing to do the work and, as a result, that person will receive the reward that should’ve been ours. How many blessings have you missed out on because you didn’t want to do what God said? Hebrews 10:36 says, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will received what he has promised.” Are you still waiting for a promise God made to you years ago? Ask yourself one question: What have you done to fulfill God’s will?

“Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” Matthew 21:31-32; NIV

In the parable of the two sons, Jesus describes a father who asks his two sons to do a specific task. The first refuses but later changes his mind and does what he was asked. However, the second answers yes but does nothing. It’s unfortunate that a lot of us are like that second son, and God can’t use us. We don’t follow through on our word, we make empty promises, and then we wonder why we don’t have that satisfaction we crave, why our lives still feel so incomplete. As Jesus said, a lot of people we would call downright sinners are currently enjoying the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10) because, unlike us, they chose to listen to God’s word and do what He says.

Remember our teaching on love, how if we claim to love God, we should follow His commands (John 14:15). How much does it say about our “love” for God when we aren’t willing to do what He asks? Can we even say we love Him?

Remember also when we looked at our heart’s desires, how receiving what we desire from the Lord is as easy as taking delight in Him. We looked closely at what exactly that meant to “delight in the Lord,” and one version of the Bible says it plainly; “Do what the Lord wants.” Do what the Lord wants, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Do what the Lord wants, and your life will be fulfilled. Do what the Lord wants, and you will received what He has promised you. James 1:22 instructs us not to be just hearers of the word, deceiving ourselves, but doers also. It all starts with doing.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:7-8

Doing God’s will won’t always be easy. Sometimes He will ask you to do things that may cause people not to like you (John 15:18-19). He may ask you to do things you find too hard, but keep in mind, God will never give you something He knows you can’t do. Believe in yourself, don’t limit yourself, and if you have to give up certain things that don’t align with God’s purposes for you, do not hesitate to let them go. Doing God’s will, just like loving Him, often requires sacrifice.

Just look at Jesus as your prime example. Do you think He was happy to go to the cross? No! The Bible says He “began to be sorrowful and troubled,” saying, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (Matthew 26:37-38). When He went to pray in Gethsemane the night He was arrested, He asked, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me” (Luke 22:41-42), and that’s what we tend to do. When things get tough, we chicken out, we give up. We ask God to find someone else, give us a different assignment. But look at Jesus’ resolve in the second part of that verse. Although the realities of His coming death were beginning to shake Him, He understood the end goal, that the world through Him would be saved (John 3:16-17). And so He said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Do God’s will because you know the end result, because you want to see His kingdom come, because you want all to go to heaven and come to the knowledge of Christ. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” God chose you for a purpose, and if you don’t know what that purpose is, it is your job to find out, either through prayer, reading the word, or counseling with other mature Christians.

Most of us from an early age already know what God has called for us to do. For example, I’ve known since I was about three or four years old that I was meant to be a teacher. I’ve often run from it, mostly out of fear—I’m intimidated by children, I’m terrified of being wrong, I’m scared people won’t listen because of my age, how I look, the way I speak, my experience, or lack thereof, etc. But a few weeks ago, a soul sister told me this: You’ve been called by God to teach His word. Yes, I have, and I will do it for as long as I can, even on those days when it is hard, or when I’m running behind schedule, or when I’m feeling flustered. I will do it until I absolutely can do it no longer. And you should approach your calling, whatever it may be, in the same manner.

God Bless.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to do your will. Show us your plan and purpose for our lives and help us to bring it to fruition. You said in your word that if we commit to you whatever we do, you will establish our plans. We commit to doing your will, Lord. Establish our steps. Lead us down the correct path. Show us what we need to be doing in order that your kingdom come and your will be done. We ask, according to your will, knowing that you hear us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Inspirational Spoken Word

“Fee Fi Fo Fum” by Kevin Perry

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 1 Samuel 17:32-33; NIV

It’s time we finally face our fears. It’s time we stare those giants directly in the eyes and shout, “We are not afraid!” This week has been all about triumphing over fears—the fear of dying, my personal fear of bugs—keeping the faith and trusting in God’s promise that victory is ours, no matter how fierce the foe.

What is something that you are afraid of? Maybe you’re not necessarily afraid of it, but this particular test has caused you to doubt yourself. You are not as confident in your walk with Christ as you once were. You once had a steadfast prance, but now it’s a wobbly gait. You thought you received God’s calling over your life, but now you’re not so sure. You wonder if it was even God you heard at all, or if the devil has been playing mind games on you.

You meet a giant named Goliath, and he intimidates you. You’re a mere child in comparison. You fear he is more capable of doing your assignment than you. He’s more articulate than you. He presents better arguments. Others admire him for his anointing. He knows the Bible front to back while it still takes you a little extra time to find the verse you’re after. He can ramble off a quick prayer, speaking in tongues a mile a minute, while you still struggle to find the right words in your own language. He’s confident, some would even call him conceited, arrogant. He boasts in his own strength and knowledge. He takes pride in belittling you. He makes fun of your faith.

How can you ever gather up enough strength and courage to battle such a giant?

Well, there is one thing that you have that this Goliath doesn’t. And that one thing, miniscule as it may be to him, is the only thing you need to bring him down to his knees in defeat.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Yes, with God all things are possible, even when facing “giant” obstacles. Stand firm, don’t run away in fear and defeat. Just look to the young boy David as your example and inspiration. When he volunteered to fight the mighty Philistine warrior, Goliath, there was no doubt in his mind that he would win, for he had the Lord God Almighty on his side, and he trusted that God would deliver the fallen giant into his hands. He refused to let his own size, youth, and inexperience deter him from confronting Goliath in God’s name, because he understood that despite his own human weaknesses and short comings, the power of God, which had given him the strength to kill bears and lions, would surely give him the strength to beat the giant as well.

“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:36-37

Romans 8:31 asks this question: If God is for us, who can be against us? When God is on your side, nothing on this earth, above this earth, or beneath this earth can ever defeat you. In Isaiah 54:16-17, God says that He created the blacksmith who forges his sword, and He also created the devil, and He has determined that “no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” How powerless will these created things be against the Creator when He is fighting our battles for us.

And are they really even our battles? 2 Chronicles 20:15 says that the battle isn’t ours, but God’s. Looking back at David, he doesn’t fight Goliath because they’re measuring egos. He doesn’t fight him because he wants to win a bet, or because Goliath stole his girlfriend or talked bad about his mom. He fights him because Goliath “defied the armies of the living God.”

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands . . . and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

The giants we face in life won’t always be school yard bullies stealing our lunch money. Sometimes they are blasphemy, unbelief, temptations to sin, “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”  (Ephesians 6:12). However, when have on the full armor of God, we are able to withstand any evil threat that comes our way.

Understand that in this life, troubles will come. Jesus said as much. But He also instructed us not to be afraid, for He has already overcome the world (John 16:33), and through our faith in Him we too have overcome this world (1 John 5:4-5). David had only his faith, a couple of rocks, and a sling shot, and he killed the Philistine warrior with one strike. Don’t kid yourself by saying he just got lucky. That was all God.

So why then are we running scared? Stand up to that giant! Tell him commandingly, “You won’t defeat me!” Because you have someone much greater living inside of you.

“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 41:10; NKJV

God Bless.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we put our trust and faith in you, in your strength, and in your power. We know that we can accomplish nothing without you, but with you giants fall. So we cast out the spirits of fear and doubt. We will not be dismayed or discouraged. We stand tall against these giants because we know you will deliver us. You said in your word that you will never leave or forsake us, that you are with us even to the very end of the age. So we hold onto that confidence, that if God be for us nothing can be against us, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, that no weapon formed against us will prosper, that all things are possible to them that believe. We believe, Lord, and we thank you for always giving us the victory, even against the greatest giants— nothing is greater than you. We give you all the glory and honor and praise. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Overcome Our Fears

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

What are you afraid of? For me, it’s bugs, specifically big bugs. This past Sunday, I told you about the terrifying dreams I used to have before I was saved. Well, one of those dreams included being under the control of a giant demonic cockroach. This isn’t the plot from a creepy kids cartoon show, this was an actual dream. I don’t know what I watched on TV that night before going to bed, or what I ate, but I remember waking up in a cold sweat—the house completely dark and deafeningly silent—screaming the name of Jesus. Even then I knew who to call on to save me.

Several weeks ago, I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a huge cockroach. Not as horrifying as the one in my dream years ago but equally as nasty. It was about the size of my index, middle, and ring fingers combined, and I had come to the conclusion that it was an unwelcome guest I had unknowingly brought home with me from work—a chemical company that sells pesticides that have obviously mutated the bugs on site.

I enlisted help to kill it, but all we did was dance and scream and run around. We sprayed bug spray on it, which only made it mad, because then it began to chase us. Finally, I slammed a wicker basket down on top of it, climbed inside and jumped up and down to make sure it was dead, and when we lifted the basket, we still had to finish it off with a fly swatter.

Afterward, we were both very squeamish. And I sat up several hours trying not to think about it before finally falling asleep, thankfully without any nightmares. Later, a thought came to my mind: When God gave man dominion over all the earth and all the birds and fish and animals and critters that crawl about the earth (Genesis 1:26), did He understand just how much bugs, specifically big bugs, give me the creeps?

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19; NKJV

While most of my past fears have been washed away by the blood of Jesus, there’s one that still remains: BUGS. That thorn in my flesh. When Paul received the thorn in his flesh, he begged the Lord three times to remove it. But God said no; “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

When I questioned whether or not God really knew just how afraid I am of bugs, He gave me a similar revelation. What is there to fear when I have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of me? Greater is He who lives in me than he who lives in the world (1 John 4:4). I knew that back when I was unsaved, screaming Jesus’ name. What is there to be afraid of when He has given me the power to tread over serpents and scorpions and overgrown cockroaches, both real and dreamworld demonic? When God gave me dominion over this earth, He knew exactly what He was doing.

That night, battling the giant cockroach, I might have been afraid for a moment, but in the end, God still put that nasty little bug under my feet (Psalm 8:6), and any other nasty little bugs that will follow, natural or spiritual. I have the power to fight them all, because I rely on the One who gives me strength, even in my weaknesses.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to overcome our fears, for you did not give us a Spirit of fear, but one of power through the Holy Spirit. We know that without you we can do nothing, but with you all things are possible. In our weakness, guard us from dangers seen and unseen, give us the strength to stand against the devil and his schemes, to overpower our enemies. We are more than conquers through Christ who loves us. For neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So we will not be afraid because if God be for us, He is more than the world against us. Thank you, Father, for your love and your mercy and your power, which make us stronger even in our weakness. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sunday Morning Word

Why Do We Fear Death?

Why are we afraid of death? It’s a natural part of life, is it not? We’re born, we grow old, we die. Of course, the Bible tells us it wasn’t always like that. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were free to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in peace and paradise and communion with God. Unfortunately, that all changed when they sinned, disobeyed what God commanded, ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and brought death into our world (Genesis 3). They were banished from Eden, and as the story goes, the world has been sinning and dying ever since.

“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desires and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15; NIV

Sin separates us from God. Sin brings death—no way to avoid it. So that’s it then? We’re born, we sin, we die. The end. Sounds pretty depressing, doesn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be! Not for the believer! The gospel, the good news, of Jesus Christ should restore any hope we may have lost in the Garden with Adam and Eve. In John 10:10, Jesus says that He has come so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. He tells Martha, the sister of Lazarus, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26; NKJV). Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Then why do you fear death? God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). So be sound in this: that you are no longer enslaved to sin and its wages, that your mortal bodies may be dead to sin, but spiritually you are alive and well in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14; NIV

What is physical death to the Christian believer? The Bible calls it sleep. Before Jesus goes to raise Lazarus from the dead, He tells His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up” (John 11:11). When I was growing up, my mother used to say that death for Christians isn’t the same as for nonbelievers. When we die, it doesn’t hurt, we go in peace, it’s like falling asleep. Remembering that, my mind goes to 1 Corinthians 15:55; “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The scripture goes on to say that the sting of death is sin, but “thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). We have the victory over death through Jesus Christ, who died and rose from the grave so that we could have everlasting life. So again I ask, why are we afraid of death? When we die, we are merely just asleep until we are called to rise again.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

It was never God’s intention for any of us to perish, but that we all turn from sin and live a life dedicated to Christ (2 Peter 3:9). John 3:16 tells us that God loves His creation— He loves us so much—and through our belief in Jesus Christ, He’s provided us with a way out of the sentence of death and to eternal life, coming to the knowledge of the one true God and of Jesus Christ, the Savoir of the world (John 17:3). If we believe that, we should never have to fear death, not even the second death—being cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15)—which, according to Matthew 25:41, was originally reserved for the devil and his angels anyway, not for us, and especially not for those of us who believe.

Let Jesus’ parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus be a warning to us. In life, the rich man lived a luxurious, gluttonous, and—though it doesn’t specifically state, we can only assume—sinful lifestyle, while Lazarus, though living in poverty and squalor, was humble and, we assume, righteous. When it came time for both of them to die, “the poor man died and his spirit was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom (paradise); and the rich man also died and was buried” (Luke 16:22; AMP). But the rich man woke up in hell, “where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side” (Luke 16:23; NIV). He begged Lazarus for a relief from his torture, and Abraham denied him. He asked for Lazarus to go and warn his brothers so they wouldn’t share his fate, and Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them,” basically saying that they have the scriptures, they have the teachings, they have the word of God to show them the way. And we do too. We have the Bible, we have Holy Spirit, we have the teachings of Jesus, we know that He is the at to the Father (John 14:6).

Before I was saved, I used to have nightmares reminiscent of the rich man’s demise. I would dream of being left being in the rapture, of deceased, unsaved loved ones coming back to drag me down to hell with them, of professing last minute confessions to sneak my way into heaven on the day of Judgement when it was too late. I’ve woken from those dreams in the middle of the night, terrified of the dark, of the dancing shadows on my walls, of the distant knocks and creaks throughout the house. I feared opening my bedroom door and seeing the devil face to face.

But then I felt the Holy Spirit’s drawing on my heart. I went to church one night and His drawing grew even stronger. I responded to His voice and rededicated my life to Christ. Since then I haven’t had a single nightmare about going to hell. I no longer fear waking up in the middle of the night. I can walk around the house while it’s pitch black and not be afraid. Now, Psalm 27:1 has more meaning to me. I have nothing to fear, not the devil, not hell, and certainly not death. Because Jesus Christ is the light of my life.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1; NKJV

And He can be yours as well. So why are you afraid of death? Is it because you’re not saved, like I was; you haven’t confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; you don’t believe in your heart that He rose from the dead (Romans 10:9)? Is it because you’ve backslidden; you were saved, but at some point you’ve turned away from God, you’ve gone back to your old ways of living and thinking, and you fear it’s too late for you? Is it because you haven’t heeded the word of God; you’ve been selfish, thinking only of yourself and not of promoting God’s kingdom? Is it because you haven’t done His will, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and you fear there’s not enough time left to get started? Maybe you just don’t want to die, and if that’s the case, I hope 1 Corinthians 15 and other scriptures like it will serve as assurance to you that death is not the end.

If you are one who is afraid of death, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what is the source of your fear. Maybe it’s one of the reasons listed above or something else. Ultimately, you want to rectify that fear. No Christian should fear death because of the promise we have in Jesus Christ. In fact, we should look forward to it, knowing that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

God Bless.

 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-43

Prayer of Salvation: Heavenly Father, you said in your word that sin brings death and separates us from you, but eternal life comes through Jesus Christ. Lord, please forgive us of all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We want to live a life dedicated to Christ, where we no longer fear death, but hope toward His resurrection. We confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose from the grave, conquering death, so we could be saved. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your gift of eternal life. Thank you for the promise that death is not the end. Now we can say with confidence that we do not fear death. Now we can say with confidence there is no sting. Our mind is clear, and we’re more determined to seek and do the work of your kingdom, living righteously and holy like you, to the day we meet in paradise. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Inspirational Spoken Word

“Jesus Is God” by Preston Perry

“I and the Father are one.” Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:30-33; NIV

Is Jesus God? The short answer: YES. In our post on understanding the Holy Trinity, we learned that Christians do not worship three different Gods as pagans, but that our God is in fact ONE, and He has manifested Himself in three different ways—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This concept doesn’t always make sense to us, as many things of God are beyond our level of understanding. To simplify it, people often use the example of a man being a son, a husband, and a father all in one. However, for some, that explanation just isn’t enough. I think the best way to understand how God can be three persons in one is by reading Exodus 3:14.

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14; NKJV

In Exodus 3, Moses has an encounter with God at the burning bush, and He instructs Moses to go back to Egypt to free the children of Israel from slavery and lead them to the promised land. When Moses asks who will he say has sent him, God responds, “I AM WHO I AM.” Another version says, “I AM THAT I AM.” God is the Great I AM. He is anything, and He is everything. He can be whatever we need Him to be; a provider, a way maker, a miracle worker, a redeemer, a savior. God is all-powerful, His knowledge is vast, His ways are pure. We’ve seen the magnificent sites His hands have created. Why then do we continue to doubt that He can split Himself up into three different versions all in an effort to get closer to us? That would contradict everything we understand about God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of men . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, and the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 14; NIV

Knowing that God can do anything He puts His mind to, is it so hard to understand that Jesus IS God? John 1 calls Him the Word of God, the revelation of God’s will in the flesh. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says that He has come to fulfill the Law. In other words, He has to fulfill the will of God. What is God’s will? His sovereign decree, His spoken word, and it never changes (Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35; Hebrews 13:8). Psalm 138:2 says the God has put His word above His name. If you don’t believe anything else, believe His word. Genesis 1 tells us that when God speaks, things happen. “Through [His Word] all things were made; without [His Word] nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). This is reaffirmed in Colossians 1:16; “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”

Consistently the Bible tells us that Jesus and God are one, but I think the best example comes in John 8:58, when Jesus brings it all together full circle back to when God first revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3: Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Jesus IS God. Jesus IS I AM. Jesus IS.

God Bless.

“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7; NKJV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing to us who you are. You are our everything, Father, and we praise you for being all of that and more. Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill everything you have said and to save us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit, whom you’ve sent to guide us into all truth. Thank you for being all that we need in this life, for you are the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, who was and is and is to come. We put our trust and hope in you always. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: We Are in Awe of Your Work

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

If you’re like me, you’ve just returned from an awesome vacation, and getting back into the routine of work has been, for lack of a better term, hard. Just a week and a half ago, I was on a cruise to Alaska, a terrain still relatively untouched by man. There I got to see the beauty of God’s majestic hand: mighty glaciers, wild animals in their natural habitat, flourishing flora and fauna, the still, clear waters of the inlets and fjords, grand mountains standing tall, high above the clouds. As we stopped at the various sites to snap pictures and bask in the stillness, the peace and quiet, the freshness of the air, there’s was one comment that consistently arose from among the crowd: How can you look at all these great wonders and still say there is no God?

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.” Psalm 104:31-32; NIV

There is a song entitled, “You Alone Are God,” by gospel singer, Marvin Sapp, that I am drawn to when I think about the mighty works of God’s hand. The song opens with these lines: There’s no question of your greatness / No searching of your power / All the wonder of your glory / To you forty years is but one hour.

Seeing the beauty of the natural earth, you can’t help but feel closer to God, to break out into worship. It’s amazing that we have this Great Designer, this Creator of heaven and earth, whose wisdom and power and knowledge know no limit, and yet, He still takes the time to pursue an intimate relationship with each of us. Psalm 8:3-5 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

In my mind, I’m still in Alaska, in complete awe, dreaming of one day going back, but I have to remember that I can see God’s touch in everything around me, especially when I look in the mirror, and God’s image and likeness is reflected back at me. We are His creations, just like the mountains, the oceans, the forests, the glaciers, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). So let’s worship Him for His works, both abroad and right here at home.

God Bless.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are in awe of your work. In six days you created heaven and earth. Only a fool would say you don’t exist. You are God, the one and true living God, who created the heavens, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, but formed it to be inhabited. You formed us from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. Mighty are the works of your hands, Lord. We meditate on all your works and all your deeds. What god is great like our God? There is none other than you, and we will forever worship you, in all your power and all your glory. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Sunday Morning Word

What is the Holy Trinity?

The term Holy Trinity isn’t seen anywhere in the Bible. It’s a term we’ve come up with in church in reference to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity is a concept that is often difficult to understand, for non-Christians, new converts, and seasoned Christians alike. If God is one, how then is there a trinity? Are there three different Gods, and if so, which one am I supposed to worship—God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?

The best definition I’ve heard given for the Holy Trinity has come from my pastor. He explains it as this: God is one God who has given Himself three different assignments— God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Using music as an example, a musical artist can be a musician, a songwriter, and a singer—three different aspects that come together under one artist. It’s the same with God. He has split Himself up into three parts, all in an effort to be closer to us, but He’s still one God. To understand this better, let’s look at the three parts of the Holy Trinity and see how they all connect and circle back to the one God.

God the Father

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over all the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27; NIV

The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). He created heaven and earth and everything within (Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 45:12), including us. God is our Father. He formed man out of the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7). He made woman from man’s rib (Genesis 2:21-22). The Bible says God formed us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5). Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  We are all created by God, and we are all created in His image. When a son has a very strong resemblance to his father, we may say that he his the “spit’n image” of his father, which is dialect for “spirit and image.” Likewise, we are the “spirit and image” of God. If we look at ourselves in the mirror, we should be able to see God reflected in each of us.

Try not to only think of God as a Father in creation. While He didn’t just create you and me but everyone, and while He didn’t just create the earth but the entire universe, He still wants to have a personal relationship with each of us, He still watches over us and directs our paths. Despite all His mighty works, He still cares for us individually (Psalm 8:3-5), He knows us personally even down to the hairs on our head. In the New Testament, Jesus teaches us that we have a Father in heaven (Matthew 23:9) who cares for us just as much as an earthly father would, and He provides for us, just as an earthly father would (Matthew 6:26; 7:11)

God the Son

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Sometimes it’s hard for us to picture God as a Father, as one who cares for us and  desires to know us personally. We see Him as this all-powerful being who created heaven and earth, who sits high in heaven and looks down on us. The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24). He can’t be seen; to see God in all His glory would be a death sentence, because He’s so infinite, our finite selves can’t comprehend all of His mystery. He can’t be contained in flesh and bone or a physical address because he’s everywhere (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7), he doesn’t even exist within time itself (2 Peter 3:8). How can someone so big and so great know each of us personally, and how can we know Him? Like the song, “He’s so high you can’t go over him, so wide you can’t go around him, so low you can’t go under him, you have to meet him at the door.” Well, that door is Jesus Christ.

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

Jesus is the way. No one gets to God the Father except through God the Son (John 14:6). Jesus personifies God for us. It’s through Jesus that we know God’s true love for us. While we were still in sin, we belonged to the devil (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8), but God was willing to come down as a sacrifice to bring us, His people, His creation, back to Him (John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:6).  John 1, verses 1 and 14 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, and the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” Jesus is God making the effort, bringing Himself down to our size so that we can understand Him better, not just as a grand architect of the universe, but as a loving Father who wants a relationship with us.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:3-5

Through Jesus, we feel much closer to God, not only because He was a good teacher, but because He is God making Himself known to us. In John 10:30, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” In John 14:9, He tells Phillip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Jesus teaches us that we can call God Father, that we can come to Him in times of need (Matthew 6:6-8). We have the confidence that God will accept us now because of Jesus. We know that God understands the problems of life that we face because He Himself lived it through Jesus (Hebrews 4:15-16). As I said before, Jesus makes God personable for us.

God the Holy Spirit

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:9-11

The third manifestation of God is the Holy Spirit. Since the man Jesus no longer walks this earth, and God the Father is much too vast, every believer has the Holy Spirit inside them, a piece of God to carry with them everywhere they go. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God (Luke 11:13; John 14:16). He who lived with Jesus (Luke 3:22; 4:1) now resides in each of us who believe.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus living in all of us. When He promises His disciples the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:17-18). Notice how when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit, He never uses the word “it”; instead, He uses the personal pronoun “he/him.” He wants us to understand that the Holy Spirit isn’t a thing, He is God Himself, just as Jesus is. This all comes together in the next two verses: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and your are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:19-20).

As Jesus is a Teacher, so is the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that He “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). He is our helper and guide on the inside (John 16:13), and just as Jesus has made God known to us, so will the Holy Spirit. “He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mind and make it known to you” (John 16:14-15).

The Holy Spirit is proof that God lives, and that Jesus lives as well. If we have a relationship with God, we have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. He speaks to us, He leads and directs us, He tells us what’s to come. If Jesus brings God closer to us, the Holy Spirit makes Him even closer. Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians saying, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16), and again in 1 Corinthians 6:19 when he says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

To sum it all together, God is now the closest to us He has ever been. Before, He was just a distant creator, a Father but only in the aspect that He made us because that was all we could comprehend. Then Jesus came along, and we learned that God loves us, that He was willing to become a man and die so that we could know Him. And now we know that He has never left us. He is the source of life, the resurrection. Through Him we too have life, and now He is with us to guide us every step of the way through the Holy Spirit. Three versions of God He has created, all in an effort to bring us closer to Him.

God Bless.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am will pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you for your love, your mercy, and your faithfulness. What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made us a little lower than the angels, yet you have done so much for us. You’ve manifested yourself in three different ways so that we can know you better. You are the great I Am, Lord. You are our Creator, your are our Savior, and you are our Counselor and Helper. After seeing all that you have done for us, only a fool would say you do not exist. We believe in you, Lord, in every form of you, and we desire to know you more, to get even closer to you, for you said in your word that you desire loyalty rather than sacrifice and the knowledge of you rather than burnt offerings. Don’t ever leave our sides, Lord, continue to bless us with your presence, and we will forever praise you, obeying your commands, and fulfilling your will here on earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.