God Has A Plan

JEREMIAH 29:11 NIV 11 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.

Genesis 37 tells the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers. At that time, I’m sure it didn’t look to Joseph like God had a plan — at least not one that was good for him.

Joseph surely thought what many of us have, “Why did you let this happen to me, God?”

No doubt things looked clearer to Joseph later on when he was ruling Egypt and was able to save his entire family from starvation. (Genesis 45-50)

Often life may seem confusing and out-of-control. But don’t despair. God has a plan for you which He is working out. If you could only see the end He has in mind for you — you would begin to rejoice and thank God right now. (Hint, hint.)

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LUKE 11:5-8 KJV 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

The lesson of this parable is NOT that we must persist in prayer to obtain an answer from an unwilling God. But that we should be bold in asking.

A parable may teach by showing similarity or by contrasting differences. The point here is based on contrast. This becomes more clear, just a few verses later, in verse 13.

LUKE 11:13 KJV 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

How much more willing is God — than any earthly friend! Friends may sometimes be undependable, but God is always dependable! God is “rich unto all that call upon Him” (Romans 10:12).

Read the story again and you will see that Jesus was asking a question: “Who would have a friend that would not help in a time of need?” Someone like that would not really be a friend. A friend would not say, “Don’t bother me!”

However, even if the friendship was not that strong, if someone has the boldness and audacity to ask for help in the middle of the night, they would not be refused by someone they knew.

Even if it was inconvenient and they really didn’t want to help, if you have the nerve to knock on their door and present your request, they will not ignore you. Your audacity and boldness will overcome any reluctance they might have, and you will get your request.

This assumes some relationship was already established. For if you knock on a stranger’s house at midnight insisting they give you something, you are more likely to be met with a weapon, instead of having your request granted.

Understanding this about human friends, HOW MUCH MORE your Father in Heaven, who is perfect, can be counted on to help whenever you come to Him. The key is that you must have the confidence to come and make the request.

Note that this person was coming to get something for someone else. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when we need it for ourselves. But Jesus was especially encouraging us to ask boldly for help for other people. They may not have a relationship with God, so they can’t ask Him for help and have confidence in receiving an answer, but you do, and you can!

Why was the person shameless in asking? Because he was his friend. He had a relationship, so he boldly did something out of the ordinary, knowing he was being unreasonable, but having confidence to do it because he knew his friend. Although the friend, at first, realizing how unreasonable the request was, talked reluctantly, nevertheless, granted what was asked.

The word translated “importunity” in verse 8 is a Greek word, used only once in the New Testament, which literally means “without shame.” It pictures someone without bashfulness or reluctance. Someone who did not hold back, or hesitate. Someone with audacity, even recklessness in their disregard of anything stopping them.

These descriptions indicate faith — a belief that if I make the request, it will be granted.

Unfortunately, some modern Bible translations translate this word as “persistence.” This is simply because many people, even translators, have not clearly understood this parable.

Translation is not an exact science, but is subject to the bias and level of understanding of the translator. So every translation is affected by the beliefs of those who do the translating.

In this parable, the person did not stand outside the door for days on end while continuing to ask for bread. So the point cannot be to just keep on asking for a long time, but to be bold in asking, instead of being held back by fear or doubt.

Persistence in prayer (in the sense of keeping on asking for a long time) is not the idea Jesus was encouraging in this parable.

The point isn’t that God is reluctant and needs to be persuaded. But that we should not be reluctant asking God for help. Jesus makes the point clear in the next verse by saying, ask and you will get, etc.

LUKE 11:9-10 KJV 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Some translations insert the idea in verse 9 of “keeping on” asking, seeking, and knocking, but that idea is not from the Greek New Testament text, but from the Latin translation.

Nothing in this parable gives us any evidence it took a long time for the request to be granted. Instead of getting the idea of knocking on a door for several years from this parable, we should realize Jesus was encouraging us to be bold in asking for God’s help, especially for others.

So don’t hesitate! Don’t think God is too busy, or the need is too small or too big for God. Even a human friend will help, if asked. HOW MUCH MORE will your Heavenly Father who loves you, and also loves those you want to help.

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The Message Of Revelation

REVELATION 1:1 NKJ 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

Books on the “end times” are very popular. People are interested in knowing the future.

Some think the Book of Revelation is a step-by-step guide to what will happen in the future, but not every Bible teacher agrees with this interpretation.

Although I taught on the Book of Revelation in churches where I pastored, I admit I don’t have it all figured out.

But the first verse reveals what is the true subject of the Book of Revelation — Jesus Christ. It is about the victory of Jesus Christ, revealing to us that He will triumph over and banish all evil.

The Book of Revelation is supposed to give us comfort and encouragement, not by revealing to us the Antichrist, but by revealing to us the victorious Christ.

At one time I thought I needed to thoroughly understand the Book of Revelation so I could know the future. Now I realize my motivation was more one of fear and lack of trust in God than anything else.

We don’t have to know the future in order to be safe, because we know the One who holds us and the future in His hands. He has promised to provide for us and protect us. We can trust Him and not be afraid.

Nations come and go. But God, and His Word, are forever.

All God’s promises will always be true. He will take care of His people no matter what happens. Period. God loves us and He is faithful. We don’t have to worry about the future. All we need to do is trust God and obey Him, day by day.

So what is the primary message of the Book of Revelation? Very simple. Jesus Christ comes out on top. He puts an end to all the evil and suffering and misery in this world. And it will be worth it to remain true to Him — even through all the evil this world is currently experiencing.

Jesus wins! Those who stick with Him also win!

That’s the message!

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Sprinkle The Blood

1 PETER 1:2 NKJ 2 . . . in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

By faith we can sprinkle the Blood of Jesus on people who come to us for help. The Blood is a token of Christ’s total redemption, signaling the devil that he must flee. By faith in that precious Blood all can be delivered.

Blood in the human body brings healing to sick tissue. The Blood of Jesus brings healing to His body as well.

LEVITICUS 17:11 NKJ 11 `For the life of the flesh is in the blood . . .

Blood delivers everything necessary for the members of a human body and carries away waste material. Jesus’ Blood also brings life and nourishment to the members of His body, and rids us of everything that is of the curse.

When the Israelites in Egypt had blood on their door, no evil dared enter their dwelling. Likewise, we are kept safe through the protection of the divine Blood of Jesus.

Jesus’ Blood overcomes the devil and all he has done. Believe it in your heart and say it with your mouth — until you see complete victory.

2 CORINTHIANS 10:4 NKJ 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

By faith, sprinkle the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere there is evidence of satanic effort to stop the complete will of God in your life.

Let us use all our weapons: the Name of Jesus, the Word of God, and the Blood of the Lamb.

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MALACHI 2:16 NIV 16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

God hates divorce because He loves people. Keep that in focus. Divorce hurts people, so God is against it. But God is NOT against the person who is divorced.

Many reading this have been divorced, and would agree that divorce is no fun for anyone. It is devastating, ranking right up with the death of a spouse or a child in causing stress.

Divorce does not usually solve problems, but creates more problems. Whatever is causing conflict and trouble will almost surely still be there after a divorce.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce — don’t.

(Of course, if your life is in danger, you should protect yourself.)

With God’s love and faith, anything can be faced and overcome. God, who raises the dead, can also resurrect your marriage and give you love for each other.

If you have been divorced, God is not mad at you. He still loves you. (Remember, the reason God is against divorce is that He loves you and wants to spare you the pain and suffering.)

Divorce is NOT the unforgivable sin. And remember, when God forgives He forgets. While it is true that you may continue to suffer effects of a divorce in this natural realm, as far as God is concerned, it can be forgiven and forgotten.

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God Is Not Angry With You

ISAIAH 54:9-10 ESV 9 “This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. 10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 53 foretells the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The following chapter, Isaiah 54, speaks to those who are redeemed by that sacrifice of Jesus and so are under the New Covenant.

It is a lie of the devil that God is angry with you! Because of what Jesus accomplished you have a covenant of peace with God.

The message of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant is clear: God loves you!

Yes, God knows about all your mistakes. You have sinned and fallen short of perfection. You are not alone! The Bible says we have all fallen short (Romans 3:23). We all need God’s forgiveness and help.

But it is important for you to realize God loves you like a good parent loves their child, even when the child does wrong.

God is there right now, listening and waiting for you to call on Him for His help. God has already forgiven you. Now you just need to reach out to God and receive His forgiveness so you can be free from the burden of guilt and shame that has kept you from fellowship with God.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:19 ESV 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

EPHESIANS 1:7 ESV 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

No matter what your past has been — no matter how terrible you have been — no matter what you have done — God still loves you and desires for you to turn to Him. This is the reason Jesus died on the cross, to show you the greatness of God’s love for you, and to make a way for you to be forgiven and not separated from God any longer.

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The Blood Speaks

HEBREWS 12:24 NKJ 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

The Blood testifies that Jesus set us free from all the curse and made us able to partake of the inheritance of the saints. The Blood testifies that Jesus bought our redemption and set us free from the devil.

EPHESIANS 1:7 NIV 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

God worked when the blood of Abel cried unto Him — how much more mightily He will work when it is the blood of His own Son that cries.

By speaking words of faith, we agree with what the Blood says concerning our total and absolute redemption and freedom from the curse.

ROMANS 5:9 NIV 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

HEBREWS 9:12 KJV 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

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Help, Mate!

GENESIS 2:18 LB 18 And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.”

An important part of God’s purpose for marriage is to have someone to help you in life.

(God did not intend for this to be one-sided. A husband also should help his wife. Otherwise, a husband would not love his wife as Christ loves the church. See Ephesians 5:25.)

We all need help and encouragement. Sadly, for most people, that is often not at all what they receive from their spouse.

Your spouse, whether you know it or not, desperately wants and needs your help, your encouragement, and your support.

Are all spouses perfect and deserving of encouragement and support? None are! No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. But especially in those times, it is important that we have someone to encourage us and help us to believe we can go on and do better. God meant for you to be that someone to help your spouse.

Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until your spouse starts being nice to you. God’s law works in this area, too: whatever you give, you will receive. So the best way to get your spouse to treat you better is to treat them better.

God does not expect you to love and help your spouse solely with your own love, but to allow God to pour His love through you. God loves your spouse — enough to die for them — and desires to express that love through you.

If your spouse would not describe you as their encourager, friend, and a great help to them — you are missing God’s plan. You need to be your mate’s biggest booster.

Yes, this can be hard. Yes, you have no doubt suffered because of them. Yes, they have hurt you and you probably don’t feel like being a blessing to them after what they have done to you. But none of this changes the Word of God and His plan.

Whenever you find direction in God’s Word that seems difficult or impossible, your approach should always be to ask God to help you. “Lord, I see in your Word that you want me to do this, but I need your help. Help me to love them. Cause your love for them to flow through me.”

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Harvest Is Coming

GALATIANS 6:9 NLT 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

When a farmer has planted seed in the ground, it does not produce a harvest the next day. There is a period of waiting. A time to stand in faith, knowing that the seed will grow and produce as it was created to do.

It takes faith for a farmer to bury expensive seed in the ground. But the farmer knows how God’s system works. (Even if the farmer does not believe in God, it is still God’s system he is using.) You plant the seed, you wait, and then comes a harvest that multiplies what you planted.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:10-11 NLT 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

Harvest is coming in your life! All the seeds of love you have sown into the lives of others, and into the Kingdom of God, have been growing and the time for a harvest of blessing is coming.

Harvest is also coming to the Body of Christ on the earth. Multitudes of people will turn to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We must be ready to welcome them and have the resources ready to assist them and disciple them.

So believe for a harvest of blessing and prosperity in your life. Then you will be ready to be a blessing to others.

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A Member Of The Body

1 CORINTHIANS 12:12 NKJ 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Each individual believer IS also part of the Body of Christ, which is composed of all believers.

(This is the work of God. Not something we “join.”)

Think how insane it would be for you to allow your hand to attack some other member of your body. It’s just as crazy for us, as members of the Body of Christ, to attack other members.

ROMANS 12:4-5 NKJ 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Other members have different callings — different functions. But your job is not to oppose them — even though you may not understand them, or why they do what they do. Just leave that to the Head of the Body — and do what He tells YOU to do.

You are not the Head of the Body of Christ — Jesus is. He is responsible for, and capable of, coordinating all we do so our actions will accomplish His plan. Members of a body have different functions, but all are necessary for the body to function properly.

When you don’t obey Jesus, the Head of the Body, you are a drag on the rest of the members.

Think what a difficult time you would have accomplishing anything if each member of your body did whatever it felt like — instead of obeying orders from your brain.

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