And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord – Mark 12:28-30
Jesus repeatedly made reference to His deity for which the Jews had sought to kill Him, and yet He quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4, that “The Lord our God is one Lord.” There are not two or three Gods and yet Jesus claimed to be God just like God the Father. This union is a great mystery that defies human understanding but can be accepted and believed.
Jesus in His pre-existent state was in the form of God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). However, Jesus did not demand or cling to His rights as God. He laid aside His Divine rights and privileges in order to take the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of man. He further humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. This was the supreme sacrifice that identified Jesus totally with humanity and enabled God to redeem mankind. By dying a criminal’s death upon the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Deuteronomy 21:23, and bore our curse in His own body. This redeemed us from the curse, opened wide God’s blessing of justification through faith in Christ, and gave us the promise of His Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:13-14).
The Creator became the creation; the Lord became the servant; the Highest became the lowest. All of this was done because of God’s great love for us.
FAITH FOR TODAY
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1, KJV
So often, we have faith for the future. We believe “one day” God is going to do something great. One day we’ll get a good break. One day we’ll start to feel better. One day we’ll see a problem turn around. It’s good to have faith for the future and believe that God is going to take care of us, but we can become so future-minded that we lose sight of the fact that God wants to do something great in our life today. Today, God wants to show you His favor. Today, God wants to amaze you with His goodness. He is called “The Great I Am,” not “The Great I Was,” or “The Great I Will Be.” God is always in the present.
It’s good to have faith for the future, but you also need to start releasing your faith for right now. The scripture says, “Now faith is.” The faith that’s really alive and active is the faith that you have for today. Every morning we should get up with the attitude, “Something good is going to happen to me today!
THE LANGUAGE OF WHISTLING
I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them. —Zechariah 10:8
On La Gomera, one of the smallest of the Canary Islands, a language that sounds like a bird song is being revived. In a land of deep valleys and steep ravines, schoolchildren and tourists are learning how whistling was once used to communicate for distances up to 2 miles. One goat herder who is using this ancient language once again to communicate with his flock said, “They recognize my whistle as they recognize my voice.”
The practice of whistling also shows up in the Bible, where God is described as a shepherd whistling for His sheep. This image could be what the prophet had in mind when he described how God will one day whistle to bring a wandering and scattered people back to Himself (Zech. 10:8).
Many years later Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). That may be the whistle of a shepherd. Sheep don’t understand words, but they know the sound that signals the shepherd’s presence.
Misleading voices and distracting noises still compete for our attention (cf. Zech. 10:2). Yet God has ways of signaling us, even without words. By events that can be alarming or encouraging, He reminds us of His guiding, protecting, and reassuring presence.
Father, it is a noisy world. Thank You for always calling to us above the din and ruckus that distracts us. Help us to recognize Your voice and follow Your leading.
The call of God can always be heard.
Jesus is the great equalizer. When you have Jesus you are equal with everyone else regardless of where you’re from, the color of your skin or how much money you have. We are all nothing without Him, but we are everything in Him.
DON’T SACRIFICE HEARING FOR DOING
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? – Galatians 3:5
My friend, God who performs miracles among you, does He do it by the hearing of faith or by the works of the law? It is by the hearing of faith—hearing and believing. The works of the law cannot give you miracles, but the hearing of faith can. The Bible says that by the foolishness of preaching, God sozos you. That is, He saves, heals, blesses and makes you whole (1 Corinthians 1:21).
For example, when Paul was preaching in Lystra, a crippled man who was listening to the apostle had faith to be healed. All Paul had to do was shout to him, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And the man leaped and walked (Acts14:10).
Beloved, don’t sacrifice hearing for doing. In the Old Testament, the Israelites made the golden calf from gold earrings. Gold in the Bible speaks of divinity and earrings, hearing. Together they speak of divine hearing. The calf is an animal of labor. In other words, by worshipping the golden calf, the Israelites were worshipping the god of labor and sacrificing divine hearing for doing. That is what a lot of Christians are doing today. They focus on doing and sacrifice hearing.
So don’t fall into this trap. Your works or self-efforts cannot save you or bring about the miracle you need. Just keep hearing about and meditating on what Jesus has done for you. Believe the good news and rest in Jesus’ finished work. Faith will come to empower you to stand, walk and leap in victory!
Any fool can preach but to have God confirm his preaching with miracles signs and wonders following is another story! Over the last 100 years in North America we have had too many educated preachers devoid of power! Personally I love preachers who preach and demonstrate miracles, signs and wonders including healing and deliverance and have real integrity.
Many Evangelical Churches requires that ministers have degrees from bible colleges to ensure they have a proper knowledge of the bible which is bunk if they cannot demonstrate miracles signs and wonders. Many ministers get bogged down with bible knowledge -all in the head. But a real preacher must know his bible and be truly anointed by the Holy Spirit just like Stephen was
ACTS 6: 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
ACTS 7:51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” 54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
YOU HAVE A DOUBLE-PORTION INHERITANCE
Isaiah 61:6 & 7 NIV – And you will be called priests of the Lord…You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of their shame My people will receive a double portionthey will inherit a double portion in their land…
You are called priests of the Lord because Jesus has cleansed you with His blood and made you kings and priests to God. (Revelation 1:56) And as priests of the Lord, God says to you, You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. And you will inherit a double portion in their land.
This promise came true for a church member who received his double portion while working for one of the top American companies in Singapore. Within a short time, he received two pay increments. And within just two years, he received an unexpected promotion to a senior position in the company. It was unexpected because the norm to qualify for such a promotion in the company was four years.
He was also named the recipient of a privileged stock award worth a five-figure sum, the net value of which was likely to double, judging by the then prevailing bullish stock market. He acknowledged that it was certainly Gods favor because past awardees were a very small number of top management personnel who had made significant contributions to the company. And only an even smaller per cent of their worldwide employees had ever received this prestigious award. He was only the second recipient, besides his boss, in the Singapore office to receive it.
This church member literally inherited a double portion because he put his trust in the Lord and in His Word.
Beloved, believe God when He says that His people will receive a double portion. This double portion includes blessings of favor, fruitfulness, success and health. In fact, the people around you will look at you and your descendants, and acknowledge that you are a people that the Lord has blessed!
DEALING WITH CHURCH CONFLICT
‘God blesses those who work for peace.’ Matthew 5:9 NLT
Dr Gary Fenton says church conflict is a lot like championship wrestling – not nearly as painful as it looks! As a leader, you need to recognise the difference between:
(1) Disagreement and conflict. Conflict exists when a group is stuck and can’t make a decision. For example, two strong-willed church committee members had a spirited discussion, and the following morning a concerned young pastor met with them to iron out their differences. He asked them if they were ready to make a decision, or if their heated debate the night before had stopped them from moving on. After due consideration both conceded that while their discussion the previous night had resembled a street fight, it was more like a tv reality show which is good theatre, but where the participants don’t quit when things get heated!
(2)Reconciliation and resolution. Resolution is about coming up with answers; it’s about bringing people into relational unity, not necessarily into agreement. The fact remains that while some issues will never be resolved, they can still be reconciled. It’s in the process of seeking resolution that you learn to compromise and find middle ground.
(3) Being peaceful and being a peacemaker. A pastor who refused to get involved in church controversy was a constant no-show at board meetings. He justified his absence as ‘the desire to be peaceful’. But being peaceful and being a peacemaker aren’t the same. Peacemakers don’t sit on their hands… they’re in the thick of things trying to reconcile the parties… they’re risk-takers who are willing to enter the fray with an expanded heart. That’s why ‘those who work for peace…will be called the children of God.’
GOD’S WILL IS LIBERTY :
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. – 2 Corinthians 3:17
Liberty. If you could put the will of God into one word, that would be the word. God wants people to be free. Free from sin, sickness, poverty, oppression and every other curse.
That freedom is what Jesus came to provide. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). That’s what He trained His disciples to do. And if you’re a born-again believer, that’s what He wants you to do too!
Some people say, “Well, I don’t know about that. That may not be God’s will for today.”
But listen, the Bible says God never changes. He hasn’t changed His will for the earth. He doesn’t do one thing awhile and then go do another thing awhile. Jesus’ life was a perfect picture of God’s will 2,000 years ago– and it still is! That’s why He left instructions for us to go and do the works that He did. That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to do them.
Jesus still wants to do the will of the Father here on earth–but He does it through us. He has to work with us until we’re willing to lay down our traditions and let Him do His thing. That’s what the early Church did. They started out with a bang because they did as Jesus taught them. Everywhere they went people became free.
Let’s pray for the Church of today to deliver the liberty of God to the world. Let’s quit questioning the will of God and start carrying it out instead. He said the works that He did we would do also and even greater works (John 14:12). It’s time for us to take up where Jesus left off and set the captives free!
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Gordon Williams http://gordwilliams.com/september-2014.php
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