No Neutrality

No Neutrality

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.  (Lk 11:23)

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.  (Mt 12:30)

In spiritual matters, neutrality [detachment; objectivity; nonalignment] is impossible!  We must choose whom we will serve.  (Josh 24:14-15)  We should be willing to declare our allegiance to Jesus and to His Gospel under all circumstances.

Now, what had precipitated this remark in Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30 by the Lord?  It was the occasion of Jesus casting out a demon from a man who had been made blind, deaf, and mute by the demon.  Jesus performed a miracle and healed the man completely.  The multitudes were amazed and began questioning how this was possible.

The Pharisees heard about the healing and about the questions of the crowd, and speculated on the miracle.  One stream of thought was that Jesus had received power through demonic association.  But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said: 

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  (Matt 12:25-30)

Another view took a wait-and-see attitude.  They thought that there might be a “sign” from God about this event.  Clearly, a vast number of people were not convinced that Jesus was under any demonic influence.  The one thing that was NOT in doubt was the fact that something supernatural (a miracle) had occurred

Jesus response to the Pharisees (see verses above) is a way of stating that He is not alone in this ministry.  He has apostles and disciples—and He was looking ahead to the future, to us.  Jesus clearly says that if He drives out demons by the power of the Almighty God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon them.

We know that the Kingdom of God has come upon us, and through the power of the Spirit, has anointed us for service to His Kingdom.  Don’t believe that you can serve the Lord, and be neutral.  It’s not possible.  In the verse above, Jesus tells us that “if we’re not FOR Him, we’re AGAINST Him!”

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”  (1 Cor 1:28-31 NIV)

Hear Him! Part 2

Hear Him! Part 2

What does Jesus want us to hear?  There are many things that Jesus wants us to know as well as what it’s wise to obey.  Here are just some possibilities:

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”  (Mt 4:4) 

  • Feed daily on the Word of God.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”  (Mt 7:24-27) 

  • Build your foundation upon the Rock that is Jesus.

When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.  (Mk 7:14-15) 

  • Choose your words wisely.

However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.  (Lk 5:15) 

  • When you open your heart to the voice of the Savior, and believe Him, you receive healing.

But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  (Lk 11:28) 

  • We’re blessed when we hear and obey God’s Word.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  (Jas 1:22 NIV) 

  • Do what it says.

 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  (Lk 14:34-35) 

  • We are the salt of the earth; as such, Jesus does not want us to lose our flavor. The “flavor” of salvation!

Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”  (Joh 4:42) 

  • Jesus is the Savior of the world.

In our previous article, we shared Bible verses that demonstrated that the Lord hears US.   It’s only appropriate and right that we should hear HIM!  The Scriptures teach us that when we hear God, we have the responsibility to obey Him!  God is so good, loving, and gracious that He empowers us to obedience by His free gift of grace.

In obedience and submission to God’s Word, we can be assured of blessings and victory in life. Hallelujah!

Hear Him! Part 1

Hear Him! Part 1

These verses encourage us to hear Jesus:

And a voice came out of the cloud saying, “This is My beloved Son.  Hear Him!”  (Lk 9:35)

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock . . . (Mt 7:24)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  (Mt 11:15; 13:9)

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”  (Mt 17:5)

The Lord hears us, as demonstrated by these verses:

But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him.  (Ps 4:3)

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.  (Ps 18:6)

This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.  (Ps 34:6)

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.  (Ps 145:19)

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  (Joh 9:31)

These Scriptures are excellent spiritual food upon which to meditate for the next couple of days.  The next article will study what it may be that God would like us to hear.

The Power That Works In Us

The Power That Works In Us
  1. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?  (Acts 3:12)
  2. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  (2 Cor 4:7)
  3. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us . . .   (Eph 3:20)

The verses above talk about God’s power, and Ephesians 3:20 says that His power works in us!  Not only does God’s power work IN us, but THROUGH us!  God uses us as His vehicles or representatives to release His power in the earth.

I’m not saying that it’s the only way that God releases His power on this earth, but it is one of the important ones as far as God is concerned.  The first verse above, reminds us that it is not our own power or godliness that produces answered prayer or miraculous results, but God’s power, alone.  We are merely a conduit for God’s mighty power.

The second verse above calls the “excellence of the power” a treasure that we carry within our bodies.  This is a very worthwhile point upon which to meditate:  that we carry the treasure of God’s salvation, mercy, grace, and power with us wherever we go.  Let’s not be shy about sharing Jesus’ power, love and kindness.

What an unparalleled honor it is for us to be able to serve our loving God and Savior!

Be Merciful

Be Merciful

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.  (Lk 6:35-36)

But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.  (Ps 41:10)

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  (Ps 103:8)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.  (Heb 8:12)

These passages of Scripture talk of God being merciful.  The verse from Hebrews reminds us that we have received the mercy of God ourselves, and without it, would not be saved. 

God wants us to be merciful, even as Jesus (our example) is merciful.  In what ways is mercy expressed?  In these passages, we are shown some ideas on this topic.

  • Love your enemies;
  • Do good;
  • Lend to the needy, expecting no repayment;
  • Show kindness to the unthankful and evil; (Wow! Really, Lord?)
  • Be slow to anger;
  • Forget the sins of other people against you and against your loved ones;
  • Raise others up.

These are all very challenging things to accomplish, and they are difficult, if not to say impossible, without God’s grace working in us to energize us.

How may we “raise others up”?  We can help others by being encouraging, understanding, humble, and positive with our words.  We can share information with them that was helpful to us or to someone that we love.  We will receive grace to empower us to show them respect and the love of God, and never be judgmental.   

In short, we see them as Jesus sees them:  beloved,  victorious and blessed—and treat them accordingly.

Launch Into the Deep

Launch Into the Deep

4When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  5But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”  6And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  (Lk 5:4-6)

Notice that in verse 4, Jesus tells Simon (Peter) to let down his nets [plural] in order to catch fish.  Simon basically has some skepticism, but says, “Okay!  I’ll put THE net down.”  And that single net was no match for the quantity of fish that filled the net to the breaking point!

This is the result of doubt—not faith.  Jesus was prepared (I believe) to fill every single net that Simon would have put down into the water that day.  If Simon had put down three nets, he would have filled three; if he had put down four, he would have filled four.  But doubt prevented him from truly complying with Jesus’ instructions. 

Now, was Simon still blessed?  Of course, he was!  Do you think his faith was strengthened by this episode?  Undoubtedly, yes.

But, do you think that the plan of Jesus for Simon was much more prosperous than Simon could envision?  I believe that it assuredly was.  But Simon’s sight was limited and narrowed by doubt.

Let us learn a great lesson from this Biblical account, and adjust our own behavior and mindset when reading God’s Word for us.  We must learn to obey God to the last detail of His instructions to us.  If you doubt anything—doubt your own doubt!  Trust God to do impossible (miraculous) things in order to bless you.

Let us learn to launch into the deep of obedience to God with great trust and faith in His plans for us and His vision for us, in Jesus’ Name.