LOOK TO JESUS

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 THE FATHER’S PLAN

Luke 24:21 “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”

When the right time came, God sent forth His Son from Heaven in His pre-existent state, into the world. He was born of a woman (virgin birth) and was made subject to the requirements of the law. Jesus was sent at a specific time. The entrance of Jesus into the physical realm was not a random thing occurring at a haphazard time. There were developments that had to take place before Christ could come to earth and redeem man. The Father sent His Son to the earth at the earliest possible time. Anytime prior to the time Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, would have been premature.

His purpose for coming into the world was twofold. First, He came to “redeem them that were under the law.” He did this by perfectly keeping the law, fulfilling it, and paying its curse (Mt. 5:17; Gal. 3:13). Thus, Christ delivered us from the entire system of the law. The Greek word for redeem means “to buy OUT OF the slave market.”

Secondly, Christ gave us the status of sonship with all its privileges. Not only were we redeemed from the bondage of the law, but we were redeemed unto sonship. Many people stop short, only realizing what they were delivered from, not what they inherit. Sure, we need to rejoice that we are redeemed, but we also need to move on, and realize the full benefits of our inheritance.

God created us for Himself but we sold ourselves into slavery to the devil. God bought us back through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. No amount of effort, human works, or man’s own righteousness could bring the divine favor that we needed. It was the actual life of God (Lev. 17:11) that purchased our redemption.

 LOOK TO JESUS AND LIVE!

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” – Numbers 21:8

People have asked me what the value of seeing Jesus is. They say, “Pastor, you talk about seeing Jesus all the time. What value is there in doing that? I’d rather you give me principles for success. It’s more practical.”

Well, the wonder of it is that when the Israelites in the Old Testament were bitten by snakes and were dying, those who looked to the Lord were healed (Numbers 21:8–9). Actually, they looked to a bronze serpent on a pole, which typified our Lord Jesus on the cross, as He became a curse for us on that cross (Galatians 3:13). Isn’t it amazing that these people were healed just by looking? They simply looked to the Lord and they lived!

So I pray in Jesus’ name that you’ll have a hunger to see Jesus. Every time you hear a sermon or read the Bible, you want to see Jesus and behold His glory. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up the Scriptures to you so that you can encounter Jesus. And as you fix your eyes on Him, you will be transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). You will find peace for your soul, strength for your body and clarity for your mind. Symptoms of death will give way to manifestations of His abundance and resurrection life!

God’s grace has provided not only for salvation but also for every need of your life. In Christ is complete provision!

THE GOOD LAND

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land — a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills. -Deuteronomy 8:7, NIV

God has a place prepared for you just like He prepared a place for His people in scripture. Notice that in this place God has prepared, there is no shortage — no shortage of resources, no shortage of opportunities, no shortage of creativity, of friendships, of joy and peace. In the good land, you will lack no good thing.

Anytime you are tempted to get down or look at what you don’t have, turn it around. Say, “Lord, I want to thank You that You are bringing me into my garden, a land of blessing, a land where my gifts and talents will come out to the full, a good land where I will fulfill my destiny, a good land where I’ll live healthy, happy and whole, a good land where my whole house will honor You!

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:6, 7).

Walking along the path Jesus has outlined for us calls for courage and bravery when the devil tries to block your way. When trouble hits or we don’t understand something with our logical mind, we must walk in faith knowing the truth of God’s word:

Isaiah 54:10 Amplified Bible (AMP) For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.

LET GOD’S PEACE LEAD YOU

Luke 24:36 “And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Just as every sport has disputes that must be settled by the officials, the peace of God is the umpire that settles all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives. We must learn to listen to and heed the peace of God in our hearts.

God’s peace is something that every born-again believer has. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. That peace is always umpiring; we just don’t always pay attention. How many times have you acted contrary to the peace in your heart and afterwards, you experience disaster? You say, “I never did feel good about that.” That was the peace of God umpiring, but we chose to play by our own rules.

There are some things we can do to facilitate the peace of God umpiring in our hearts. First, consider ALL the options. Many wrong decisions have been made because not all the options were considered. Don’t let fear rule out God’s possibilities. Next, use your imagination to explore what will happen with each choice. You should be able to discern a greater peace as you consider the option the Lord would have you take. That is not to say that there will be total peace with any of the choices. In your spirit there will be total peace over the right choice, but we aren’t always totally in the Spirit and it is not unusual for some turmoil to exist. Just as an umpire has to make a call, be bold enough to follow the direction that gives you the most peace.

The rudder on a ship can’t go any direction until the ship is moving. The ship doesn’t have to be going full steam ahead for the rudder to work, but it does have to be moving. Likewise, we have to act before the peace of God will give us perfect direction. Even if you make a mistake, you will have made it in faith, trying to follow the peace of God in your heart. The Lord can bless a wrong decision made in faith from a pure heart, more than He can bless indecision (Rom. 14:23).

A WORK IN PROGRESS

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 3:18

Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?”

Mr. Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”

What a great attitude! As believers in Christ, we should never be satisfied to think we have reached some self-proclaimed pinnacle of spiritual success, but rather continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Jesus reminds us in John 15:16 that He chose us to “go and bear fruit.” The result of healthy growth is continuing to bear spiritual fruit throughout our lives. Our Lord promises: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (v.5).

In a steady and faithful progression to become more and more like the One we love and serve, we can be confident that He who began “a good work” in us will continue it until it is finally finished on the day when He returns (Phil. 1:6).

Closer yet I’d cling, my Savior,
You’re the all-sufficient Vine;
You alone can make me fruitful,
Blessed source of strength divine.

God’s unseen work in our hearts produces fruit in our lives.

NEVER ALONE, ALWAYS CARED FOR

1 Peter 5:7 – casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

It does not matter how tightly knit our families are or how many close friends we have. When we go through a difficult time or trial, many a time, we still feel all alone and that no one really cares or understands.

Martha knew that feeling. She had on one occasion cried out to Jesus, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10:40) Jesus’ disciples also knew what it was like to feel small, alone and in trouble. They cried out, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” when they were swept up in a terrifying storm. (Mark 4:38)

Today, maybe the cry of your heart is also, “Lord, do You not care that I am left all alone…that I am going under…that I am perishing?”

My friend, the Lord does care for you. He loves you so much that He wants you to cast all your cares upon Him—not just some but all your cares. He wants both your big and small cares. There is nothing too small or big for Him. If it is a care in your heart, He wants you to cast it upon Him.

When the apostle Peter wrote “casting all your care upon Him”, he was talking about the continuous act of casting all your cares upon the Lord. As a care comes, God wants you to cast it to Him. That is the lifestyle He wants you to adopt. Why? The verse gives us the reason—“for He cares for you”. You are casting all your cares upon the One who loves you, and who left all of heaven to come and die for you. That is who you are casting your cares to. It is not just any person, but it is the One who gave His life for you!

When you are going through a difficult time, God wants you to believe that you are never alone because He Himself has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) As the object of His care, He will take care of you for the rest of your life. You are never alone and always cared for!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY :

You are never alone because God Himself has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

MIND MANAGEMENT (2) :

‘Fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.’ – 2 Corinthians 10:5 PHPS

Be careful what you allow into your mind, because your thoughts run your life. You say, ‘But thoughts come at me every day from all directions: at home, at work, through the media, in my relationships and in my private world. How can I manage my mind successfully?’ The answer’s surprisingly simple. You can be transformed by making this one decision: I will submit my thoughts to the authority of Jesus. It’s easy to overlook the significance of Christ’s claim: ‘All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me.’ (Matthew 28:18 NIV) Jesus controls everything in Heaven and on earth. That means He has the final say on everything—including your thoughts. He has more authority, for example, than your parents. Your parents may have told you you’re worthless, but Jesus says you’re valuable, and He has authority over your parents. He even has more authority over you than you do. You may tell yourself you’re too bad to be forgiven, but Jesus has a different opinion. And when you repent and submit to His authority over your life, those old condemning thoughts are no longer allowed. Jesus also has authority over your ideas. Suppose, for example, you get an idea about robbing a grocery store. Jesus has already made it clear that stealing is wrong, and if you’ve submitted to His authority over your mind then the idea of stealing can’t linger in your mind. To manage your mind successfully, all you have to do is submit your thoughts to the authority of Christ. Will it happen overnight? No, but with practice and commitment you’ll get better at it.

GOD IS ALWAYS ON A MISSION OF HOPE, HEALING, RESTORATION & LOVE ….

One of the most quoted Psalms is Psalm 23 which begins, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul…” What a beautiful picture this paints of us walking with God in beautiful, lush, fragrant pastures. It is a picture of peace, security and contentment. But then, the very next verse talks about very different surroundings. In a seemingly abrupt transition, verse four reads, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

How in the world did we go from green pastures to the valley of the shadow of death in a single verse?

You know, sometimes life is like that. Unexpected circumstances, tragedy and trials take us from one place in life to another in an instant. But no matter where we are in life, no matter what has happened, God is still there. When we look to Him, we don’t have to fear. He always brings peace. He always brings comfort. And notice that it says, “Though I walk through…” It doesn’t say, “Though I end up in the valley of the shadow of death.” We have to remember that the dark times don’t last. We don’t have to live in the valley of the shadow of death; we are just passing through.

Sometimes, when circumstances are so overwhelming, we can begin to feel stuck and limited. If you feel that way today, let this truth sink down into your heart: you are never stuck in the valley. He is leading you to a place of safety and rest. There may be seasons of uncertainty, but that’s when trust kicks in. There may a season of mourning, but God is near to the brokenhearted. He is near to all who call on His name. Lift your eyes to Him, focus on His goodness, and let faith rise up in your heart again. Know that God is good. He is not the author of confusion but of peace. John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came to give us everlasting and abundant life. God is always on a mission of hope, healing and restoration—a mission of love.

Today, I encourage you to turn your thoughts to the Father. Ask Him to show you His love in a fresh, new way. Get a picture of Him standing before you with His arms stretched toward you, ready to lead you through the valley to the place of peace, rest and victory.

LOVE

ARE YOU A SOUNDING BRASS OR A CLANGING CYMBAL AND HAVE IGNORED THE TRUTH THAT LOVE DOESN’T SEEK ITS OWN   IS NOT PROVOKED, THINKS NO EVIL? YES THE GREATEST IS LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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