Brother George. How are you?

Ffb_img_1566894169332

These are words that I cherish.  As often as I see Gary, he utters these sweet words to me.  Love is stirred in my heart and I remember how many hours he spent with me along with his wife Diann when I became a believer.  Gary led a Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study every Sunday morning before our church service.  As a new believer I was like a sponge.  I wanted to hear everything.  My dear friend Mark from my workplace spoke to me one critical day about Jesus and you can say the rest is history.  I was now being discipled.  Gary has become a dear friend. Then things changed on July 4, 2019.  Gary was clinging on to his life.  Gary has a massive heart attack and his brain was not receiving any oxygen.  His son Jason said, (paraphrase) “He has suffered through two cardiac arrests, a lengthy lack of oxygen to his brain, seizures, broken ribs, a punctured lung, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure, multiple medically induced comas, a tracheotomy, among other things”  Prayers began for Gary. A lot of prayers.

Over the next several days and weeks, many people joined the family in prayer for Gary’s health and healing, for strength for Diann and their sons Scott and Jason.  We prayed for their entire family for God to pour out His supernatural presence by His Holy Spirit.  Gary was hooked up to hospital devices that would lengthen his life, but the prayer for Gary was complete restoration.  Oh, I wanted to hear those words from Gary again, “Brother George. How are you?”  I couldn’t imagine not being able to see Gary and Diann in church each Sunday, encouraging others to simple believe God’s authority over all things including healing.  I’ve prayed along with them for many other people.  Believing God for the promises in His Word.  Faith rose up to a level I’ve not witnessed before.  God manifested His Holy presence and said, “It is finished”

Jason followed with this in one of his updates on his dad.  “BUT today he gets to go home. His prognosis was so grim and chances of recovery so small, BUT today he gets to go home. When he began to come out of sedation, he wanted two things: water, and to go home. The guy who’s known in medical circles as “miracle man” will get his wish today. He gets tired quickly but can do many things on his own and will continue to build strength from home. He will return to his beloved chair where this all began, only this time with quite the story to tell instead of read.”  A miracle testimony.  Gary is  the “Miracle Man”. But God…

 

fb_img_1563882995590

 

8

We must remember God’s promise, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV}  

Through it all, God’s been good.  Through the hundreds and hundreds of hours Gary’s family spent with him in the hospital, their strength was upheld by God’s strong right hand. The family began to speak the many promises of God.  And God delivered Gary.  God is faithful.  God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

I rejoice that Gary is alive and ready to tell the world of God’s miracle healing.  Gary’s the “Miracle Man”.  God is the giver of life and he gave Gary a second life.  I’m reminded of Lazarus.

Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”  The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” (John 11:38-44 ESV)

I’m looking forward to seeing Gary and Diann tonight with my wife, Nancy.  Oh what joy I will have when I hear those words again. “Brother George. How are you?”

Don’t believe me. Believe God.

 

Matthew 19:26 NKJV – All things are possible with God

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Do we pray believing all things are possible with God? When I look at this verse that’s the question that I have to ask myself. Do I believe in the sovereignty of God? God reigns over all creation and He is free and able to do all that He wills. So why would there ever be any doubt in God’s ability to make the impossible, possible?

God’s sovereignty extends over all created things. “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 NKJV) God is sovereign over human life. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:12 NKJV) God is sovereign over the minutest details of life. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:29-30 NKJV) God is sovereign over the sufferings of believers. “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17 NKJV)

So where does the doubt set in? We go through periods of doubt and indecision, especially on account of our difficulty in trusting God or accepting certain aspects of His will for us. “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NKJV) It happens to all of us. Scripture emphasizes the importance of putting our trust in God. This trust, which is nurtured by an understanding of God’s Word, finds us living out our life according to His purpose. “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until the Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV)

Doubt and a lack of faith feeds unbelief and it blinds us to the truth found in God. The nature of faith is a confidence in and a commitment to God and to Jesus. True faith is seen in obedient action, love, and continuing service to God.   A life of faith is the way believer’s journey through this world and into the life to come. It is the confidence expressed in the life of a believer, worked by the Holy Spirit. It derives from reliance upon God and His promises alone and results in boldness, strength, and steadfastness no matter what we face or what we need.

So I ask again, do we pray believing all things are possible with God? Or should I ask, should we pray believing all things are possible with God? Yes, I say. Again I say, Yes. God’s power is released through faith. “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NKJV) Even a tiny grain of true faith and belief, rooted in submissiveness to God is effective.

Friend, when you pray, expect the impossible to be answered. “Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible for you, they are insulting to God. Why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles, and fulfilling dreams.” (an excerpt from “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson)

Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible with You. You are God and You are all powerful and Sovereign. You commanded all things into existence and You can answer my boldest prayers. Help my unbelief Lord. Bring me into a complete understanding of the truth and promises of Your Word. Guard my heart against doubt and unbelief and turn me towards complete trust in You for You are my Lord and King. Thank You, God for being my All in All. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 6:35 NKJV – Where does my nourishment come from?

“And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.””

I like this verse because it always causes me to think about where I receive my nourishment. I’m not talking about actual food and drink. That’s for my physical body. But where do I go to receive nourishment for my mind and soul.

Bread was a basic staple in the diets of those living in biblical times. To this day, there are places of business where you can buy fresh baked breads of various kinds. There are bread makers that you can purchase if you are inclined to make fresh baked bread right at home. I admit that fresh baked bread is very good and I enjoy it from time to time.  It’s also said that a person can live longer without food than without water to drink. Some experts say that a person cannot live longer than 3 days without water. But this verse directs our focus to the true “Bread of Life” and the “Living Water” that keep us spiritually alive.

What Jesus is saying here is that if you come after Me, you shall never feel hungry. If you believe in Me, you will never thirst. If we pursue Jesus as if He would fulfill our emptiness from natural nourishment, He would fill us with His spiritual nourishment which lasts for eternity. “Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14 NKJV)

Everything on this earth is temporary. “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV) The visible world is passing away. The unseen world is what is most important and most real. If we put our trust and faith in the things of this world, the things will eventually all die away. Then what do we have left? We are left with emptiness and a need to look for something else to fill the void. And if we continue to fill the void with things of this world, the cycle of emptiness is not broken.

But if we place our trust and faith on the things that are eternal (the unseen world), these things will never die away. If we hunger and thirst for truth and hope and the answers we are looking for, and we eat and drink from the truth and hope and answers of the Lord, we are given eternal nourishment. And God promises we will never go hungry or thirst again. Where will you place your trust and faith?

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing or where your struggles lie, but if you are seeking after the world for a solution, know that the solution grounded in the world has a life span and will die someday.   But Jesus Christ offers you an eternal solution and that is grounded in His grace, His mercy, His love, and His salvation for you. I’m asking you. What choice will you make? If you choose Jesus, it all starts with a prayer. A prayer that believes that Jesus died for your sins and that You desire to have a personal relationship with Him. His love, His Mercy, and His grace await you. Jesus loves you with an everlasting love and desires to spend eternity with you.

Dear Jesus, I need some answers and the world is not able to give me those answers. I feel lost without any help. I’m told You love me and that I can find the hope I’m looking for in You. Please help me, Jesus. I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe You died for me and You defeated my sin when You rose from the grave. Come into my life Jesus and be my Savior. I give You my life. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

Hebrews 7:26 The Message – No One Higher

“So now we have a high priest who perfectly fits our needs: completely holy, uncompromised by sin, with authority extending as high as God’s presence in heaven itself.”

God is set apart from all other things. God is holy; His nature is holy; His name is holy and His dwelling place is holy. As I lay in bed last night, the thought of God being above all things resounded in my mind. God is far above, beyond and outside all of created order.

And in the midst of our imperfections, God calls us to be holy as He is holy. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1 NKJV) God’s pattern of thought and attitude of His heart is holy, righteous and good. It is expressed in His Word and also in the outworking of His mercy and grace; ultimately beyond human understanding.

But there is hope. We as believers have the mind of Christ. “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV) Through the Holy Spirit, we have understanding of the things of God. The mind of Christ reveals the essence of God’s nature; including God’s holy nature. Having the mind of Christ leads to holiness. Believers are enabled to grow in holiness on account of the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross and through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

What should our response be to God’s calling us to be holy? We are to have a repentant heart, obedient to God’s call, and driven by faith.

1 John 1:9 NKJV – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Peter 1:22 NKJV – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.

Galatians 5:5 NKJV – For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Friend, the holiness of Jesus Christ is seen in His divine nature and work, as He stands apart from and above the created world with divine power, authority and purity. Recognition of the holiness of Jesus leads both to a realization of sin and unworthiness, but also it leads us to worship and adoration of Him. Prayer is the highest form of worship. Why? Because it sets God in a place where He is higher than all things. Prayer says, “Holy God, we acknowledge that it is only You who can answer this prayer. Meet me God at my need.” Think about this friend. Our Holy God wants to gather up your prayer and take it Heavenward to be captured by His mercy and grace and to be answered for God’s glory and your good. Hallelujah!!!

Precious Lord, You are higher than all things and we praise Your Holy Name. Help us Lord to live a life of praise to You. Thank You Lord that You give us Your mind and by Your Holy Spirit we have understanding of the things of God. Teach us to grow in holiness through repentance, obedience, and faith. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

2 Corinthians 12:10 NKJV – How do we see things?

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What a powerful statement of faith by the Apostle Paul. His spiritual view was crystal clear. He could see his sufferings as a reason to rejoice, because he knew that in them all of Christ’s power was at work.

There are times that I don’t look at things from a spiritual point of view. I see what is in front of me and respond accordingly. I look at them as stumbling blocks or things that are in the way of me getting from one place to another. But not so much with Paul. He saw what he faced with a different viewpoint. He looked at them through the eyes of Christ. He saw the Power of God at work to get him through.

God is omnipotent or all-powerful. He is able to do whatever He wills. God’s power is limited only by His character. “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13 NKJV) God demonstrates that power through the redeeming grace of His Son, Jesus. The same power that conquered the grave lives in us. The same power that defeated sin and death lives in us. This is what Paul understood.

How does the knowledge of this change the way we pray? Well, it’s like this. There is no illness, no sickness, no disease that is more powerful than the Power of God. There is no criticism, no accusation, no rebuke that is more powerful than the Power of God. There is no necessity, no requirement that is more powerful than the Power of God. There is no attack, no harassment, no oppression, no mistreatment, no intimidation that is more powerful than the Power of God, and there is no suffering, no pain, no sorrow, no anguish, no grief, no heartache, no concern, no worry, no misery that is more powerful than the Power of God.

The Apostle Paul’s faith was grounded in incredible belief. Paul encouraged Timothy by presenting himself as a model of faith and belief. “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) And we must also carry this faith with us in what we face and how we go about praying through it.

Friend, God cares for us and defends us. He protects us and teaches us. He guides us and keeps us. God is the guardian of His Word and His promises. When we pray, we must believe that the Power of God is at work in us and through us and resides in our prayers. We must simply believe that God is and He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Dear Lord, thank You that You take residence in us with the same love and same power that conquered sin and death. Thank You, Lord, that as we pray we can claim that Power to be brought forth against any sickness, criticism, necessity, attack, or suffering we or others are facing. Help us become strong in Your Power as we live and love and pray. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!