God is always ready to help us in time of need. He wants to convince us of this, so that whenever we face a situation that scares us or seems out of control, we can just turn to Him and KNOW that He will provide for us and help us. In the span of 4 verses (Isaiah 41) we are told 7 times how God will provide, :
- I am with you
- I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties
- I will help you (1st mention)
- I will hold you up and retain you
- I hold your right hand
- I will help you (2nd mention)
- I will help you (3rd mention)
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice…For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you! Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:10-14
How can we wonder about His intentions when we read this verse? How can we worry about situations if He goes through all the trouble of emphasizing His intentions so clearly?
I say we just believe Him, and see how He keeps His promises! I can’t wait!
“But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).” Gal 5:16
To walk in the Spirit is to walk with your eyes fixed on Jesus. In John 6:48 Jesus tells us that He is the bread of life. He confirms that to dwell in Him (walking in the Spirit) is to be aware of the sacrifice and what His flesh and blood accomplished:
“He who feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood dwells continually in Me, and I [in like manner dwell continually] in him.” John 6:56
Promises that we can trust if we dwell in Him (feeding on, or being aware of His sacrifice) include the following:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall remain under the shadow of the most High…He will cover thee with His pinions and under His wings shall you find refuge…Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague, nor any calamity come near your tent…” Ps 91:1,4,9-10
The Father, Spirit and Son are one, so to walk in the Spirit is to walk with God. To dwell with Him is the most natural, easy thing for man to do. Think about Jesus’ sacrifice in every situation you encounter. If you are sick, realize that His sacrifice brought healing for all. If you feel condemned, realize that His sacrifice made you blameless before God. Be aware, constantly, of how His sacrifice changed everything around us. It will give you life in every situation.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement)…” 2 Cor 1:3
This verse describes God as the Father of sympathy and the God who is the source of every comfort, consolation and encouragement. This is quite amazing – because it means that EVERY single encouragement or comfort you experience comes from God. It accords with the fact that God is ONLY good, and that no darkness abides in Him (1 John 1:5).
The comfort God gives is something you cannot describe. It does not originate from external impulses, but internal life. It starts with the smallest flicker of warmth and it grows bigger, developing into a lovely hope that feels light and joyful. This makes me think of the yoke Jesus refers to in Matthew 11:28 – 30
“Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest (I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls). Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. My yoke is wholesome (useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant) and my burden is light and easy to borne.”
The comfort of God is good and lasting. David also speaks of this in Ps 94:17: “In the multitude of my (anxious) thoughts within me, your comforts cheer and delight my soul”. Let God’s comfort overtake you in difficult circumstances. Allow Him to cheer and delight your soul – He is there for you.
The kingdom of God is not a matter of just using pretty words and inspirational quotes – the kingdom of God needs to go hand in hand with signs, wonders and miracles.
As mentioned in a previous post God does not change. His miracle working, awe-inspiring character of the old testament is still exactly the same today. He still wants to do glorious miracles in our midst – from healing a cold to raising the dead. It is the same ministry Jesus had when He walked the earth – and didn’t He come to show us the Father? His teachings consisted of ministering grace, healing the sick, opposing dead religion and raising the dead.
This is the reality of Christianity, it is supposed to be 100% supernatural. We try to contain it within the limits of our own minds and what we can understand – but God does superabundantly, far over and above all we can think or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
In most churches today Chrisitianity has been turned into a watered down, powerless theology or self-help course instead of the incredible powerful life-changing blessing it actually is. This is not how God intended it to be – His plan is for us to have and experience so much more.
Let’s not box God into a framework that makes sense to us. He is the God of the supernatural. He is the God of miracles and life and healing and power. Let’s look for more than the natural realm that is in front of us – there is so much more. Whatever you are facing today, remember: Chrisitianity is 100% supernatural.
Psalm 23 is one of the best known chapters in the Bible. It reveals so much about God’s character, and talks in detail about how He takes care of His children. However, there is one verse in this chapter that is commonly misquoted or misinterpreted:
“Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” Ps 23:4
Every other verse in this chapter refers to an action performed by God. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He refreshes and restores my life. He prepares a table for me before my enemies. He anoints my head with oil. In verse 4, however, the action shifts to us (using the pronoun ‘I’). It says clearly: “Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”. It does not say: “Although God takes me through the valley of the shadow of death…”.
We are sometimes very quick to place the blame of our circumstances on God – although He was not the one behind it. We must realize that although we have received every grace upon grace through Jesus’ work on the cross, the world still operates according to the laws of sowing and reaping. For instance – if you steal something out of a store and end up in jail it is not God who put you there, it was through your own actions!
So – let’s not accuse God of causing circumstances that are due to our own wrong decisions. It should still encourage us that even though we decide to walk through the shadow of the valley of death, He is still with us. That will never change – nothing can separate us from His love. He is just that good.
Today I want to talk about the difference between the old covenant and the new testament. A covenant is an agreement or a mutual commitment – meaning one person commits to doing something, as long as the other party does their part as well. A testament refers to a will – something that is left behind for a party to receive (regardless of their action) when another party dies.
God made a covenant with the Israelites in the Old Testament, because He had yet to send His son in order to establish a New Testament. In the old covenant God promised to bless them if they upheld their end of the agreement (obey all His commandments), but if they did not, He did not have to uphold His end of the agreement either.
Due to the frailty and sinful nature of mankind, God decided to enter into a new agreement with humans. He sent His son as a single worthy sacrifice, in order to abolish sin forever (Heb 9:26). What is left is an unconditional testament, which can just be received as a free gift (like a will after someone dies) through believing in His sacrifice.
“When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether…[Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance—since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement.” Hebrews 8:13, 9:15
What is now left is a life of thanksgiving and worship because of a God who freely gave us all that we needed in order to stand blameless before Him. The old covenant is obsolete (out of use) – we have been rescued and redeemed from the first agreement. All that is left is to believe (John 6:29).