THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER
Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His disciples to “wait for the Promise of the Father”. (Acts 1:4) There are thousands of promises in the Bible, so which promise was He referring to?
The early church knew which promise Jesus was referring to because He had told His disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which you have heard Me speak about. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4–5) Jesus was referring to the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. (Acts 2:1–4)
Jesus wants you to know the value of the Promise of the Father because He said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” He did not say, “You shall do witnessing,” but “You shall be witnesses”. In other words, your very person will be a witness to Him!
This is because the power you receive when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit is the same power that so anointed Peter that the sick were laid on the streets for his shadow to fall on them and heal them. (Acts 5:15) Even handkerchiefs and aprons from Paul’s body were so saturated with the anointing of the Spirit that when they touched the sick, people witnessed diseases and evil spirits leaving the sick! (Acts 19:12)
That same power caused a Holy Spirit-baptized church member, who prayed in tongues, to experience God’s healing power when he laid hands on his mother who was in an advanced stage of cancer. And because she was healed, she became a witness of the love and power of God to her friends and unbelieving relatives.
Beloved, when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, you will be a witness to others that no problem, trial, disease or sickness is a match for the power of the Spirit in you!
SEE YOURSELF IN CHRIST
Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
I remember going through a terrible time of depression when I was 18 years old. Believing that I was demon-possessed, I sought out a great man of God to have him cast the devil out of me. But when this man of God laid hands on me, he began to prophesy over me. He said, “Joe, I see you preaching to thousands and used by God to impact thousands of lives. Joe, you are called by God and the devil is attempting to stop you.”
“What? I came here for deliverance! I am only interested in saving my own life, not preaching nor impacting lives,” I thought to myself then.
You see, what happened was that at that moment, God allowed this man to step into the timeless zone He exists in to bring my future before me. As far as God was concerned, my future had already happened, though I was only 18 years old then. Today, I am a pastor of a church which has more than 30,000 members. Today, I am seeing what was told to me long ago.
God does not see as we see. Abraham was a childless, 100-year-old man. His wife, Sarah, at 90 years old, was doubly dead in her womb. (Genesis 17:17) Yet, God saw him and talked to him as if he were already the father of many nations.
My friend, God wants you to see the way He sees. Right now, you may see yourself going through a trial in your marriage, work, finances or health. But God sees a blessed marriage, success at work, supernatural provision and a healed body because He tells you that you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
You see, God sees you in Christ. So when you see yourself in Christ, who is outside time, you step into the timeless zone. In that timeless zone in Christ, whatever needs and trials of yours are already removed, repaired, restored or resurrected! In that timeless zone in Christ, you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!
FOR THIS I HAVE JESUS
The Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. —Isaiah 49:13
There is rarely a problem-free season in our lives, but sometimes the onslaught is terrifying.
Rose saw her entire family, except for her two little daughters, slaughtered in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Now she is a widow among many widows with little money. But she refuses to be defeated. She has adopted two orphans and simply trusts God to provide for the food and school fees for her family of five. She translates Christian literature into the local language and organizes an annual conference for other widows. Rose wept as she told me her story. But for every problem in her life she has one simple remedy. “For this,” she said, “I have Jesus.”
God knows exactly what you are facing today. Isaiah reminds us that God’s knowledge of us is so intimate that it is as if our names were written on the palms of His hands (Isa. 49:16). We may sometimes neglect the needs of others, even those who are closest to us, but God is aware of every detail of our lives. And He has given us His Spirit to guide, to comfort, and to strengthen us.
Think of the challenges you face at this moment, and then write these words beside each one as a reminder of His faithfulness and care: “For this, I have Jesus.”
Thank You, Jesus, for being near to me right now. I’m grateful for Your faithfulness.
Life takes on perspective in the light of Christ.
GOD IS OUR COMFORT
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; – John 14:16-17
Remember that Jesus was saying these things to His disciples so that they would not be offended. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, who is the Comforter. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is the front line of defense against the devil and his devices of defeat. The phrase, “The God of all comfort” carries the idea of a divine comforter who encourages, refreshes, strengthens, aids, assists, and is an ever present help in the time of need. The ways that God chooses to comfort are not always the same. He may deliver you or remove the cause of the affliction, or He may comfort you with words giving you a hope for the future.
He also uses people to share their faith with you by prophesying. He sends fellow-laborers to serve and strengthen you by the ministry of the Word, and uses the body of Christ as a channel to comfort you, using prayer.
The point is that the source of all comfort is God, no matter what channel He chooses to use.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God revealed to Paul that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Paul, who had experienced God’s comfort in a way that perhaps no other man has, now reveals how the Lord accomplished this. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit. True Christianity is not the absence of trials, but the strength and comfort of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, that will bring us through to the other side.
Even a strong metal container with a vacuum inside will be crushed just by normal atmospheric pressure. But that same container, with an equal or greater amount of pressure inside, will be just fine. Likewise, an individual who is void of God’s comfort inside will be crushed by the pressures of this life. But a believer who takes advantage of the comfort available to him through the Holy Spirit, can withstand anything. Victory is not dependent on the pressures without, but rather on the comfort within.
JESUS IN THE FLESH
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. – John 14:28
Jesus stated His union with the Father so clearly that He was accused of blasphemy more than once. This statement about the Father being greater than Jesus must harmonize, not contradict other claims.
A key to understanding this is given in Philippians 2:6-8, where Paul states that Jesus didn’t think it was robbery to be equal with God, but humbled Himself, taking on the form of a servant (speaking of His humanity). Jesus was equal to God in His divine nature but He made Himself inferior to the Father in regard to His humanity. Jesus didn’t lose any of His deity when He became a man, but He did clothe it in flesh and submit it to the consequent limitations. In this sense, the Father was greater than Jesus.
Jesus is the pre-existent God who chose to become a man so he could redeem us by His own blood sacrifice. When He became a man, He was still one hundred percent God in His spirit, but His physical body was one hundred percent human. His body was sinless, but it was still flesh and subject to the natural things we all experience. The physical Jesus had to grow in wisdom and in stature.
When Jesus was born, His physical mind did not know all things. He had to be taught how to talk, walk, eat, and so forth. He had to learn that He was God in the flesh and accept that by faith. His physical mind grew in awareness of who He was. He had the witness in His spirit, but His physical mind had to “take it by faith”-the same way that we do when we believe who we are in the spiritual realm. Jesus’ mental comprehension of His deity was something He learned and accepted by faith. Jesus had to become aware of His true identity through revelation and knowledge.We must do the same.
PERFECT LOVE …
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… – 1 John 4:18
The Scripture tells us that God is love. He is perfect and His love for us is perfect. There is nothing you can ever do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make Him love you less. His love toward you is steadfast, it’s unchanging. His arms are always stretched out toward you.
Sometimes people aren’t sure how God feels about them. They think He might be mad at them, but Scripture tells us just the opposite. God’s not mad at you; He’s madly in love with you! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve come from, God’s arms are open to you. He’s longing to show you His goodness and grace. It’s His kindness that leads us to repent and change our ways.
Today, open your heart to receive His perfect love. Let love drive fear out of your life and make you new!
LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The night before Jesus died, He gave His peace to His disciples—“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” This peace was not just for His disciples, but also for us today. We have His peace.
The moment you believe in Jesus Christ, He who is the Prince of Peace comes to live inside you. And when the Prince of Peace resides in you, every blessing that you will ever need pertaining to your soundness and wholeness is already inside you.
“Pastor, if this is true, then why do I still see problems in my health, finances, family and relationships?”
The answer is a troubled heart. That is why after Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you,” He said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
A troubled and fearful heart works like fingers that clamp down hard on a water hose. The supply of water is flowing from the tap, but little or nothing is coming out at the other end of the hose. God’s ever-present supply of blessings toward you is like the water flowing freely from the tap. But you don’t see the blessings when you allow your heart to be gripped by worry or fear.
So when fearful, anxious thoughts come, remind yourself of Jesus’ words: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Even when things appear to get worse, say, “Lord, I refuse to worry about this. In the midst of all this, I see the finished work of Christ. He said, ‘It is finished!’ So my child’s healing is accomplished. My marriage is blessed. My debts are cleared. I will let not my heart be troubled by these things.”
Beloved, I cannot “let not” for you. Your family and friends cannot “let not” for you. Only you can “let not your heart be troubled”. So guard your heart from being troubled. You don’t have to guard your career, reputation, children or even health. When you guard your heart, God will guard everything else for you!
THE JOY OF YOUR PRESENCE
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. —Psalm 96:4
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” says the Westminster Catechism. Much of Scripture calls for joyful gratitude and adoration of the living God. When we honor God, we celebrate Him as the Source from which all goodness flows.
When we praise God from our heart we find ourselves in that joyful state for which we were created. Just as a beautiful sunset or a peaceful pastoral scene points to the majesty of the Creator, so worship draws us into a close spiritual union with Him. The psalmist says, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise . . . . The Lord is near to all who call on him” (Ps. 145:3,18).
God does not need our praise, but we need to praise God. By basking in His presence we drink in the joy of His infinite love and rejoice in the One who came to redeem and restore us. “In your presence there is fullness of joy,” the psalmist says. “At your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11 esv).
Dear Lord, You are the great and mighty God, the Creator of the universe. I will praise Your name always. There is no God besides You.
Worship is a heart overflowing with praise to God.