As I was reading Genesis nineteen, I thought about how much sin could consume all of us without the power of Christ Jesus in our lives.
In this chapter, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had become gravely wicked. Well, my first question was how did they get this way? God's word helps us understand. It states that when individuals did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:28 KJV). Does this sound familiar?
When I read the words above from Romans, I realize that could be any of us. You see, in Genesis 4:7, God warns Cain that sin crotches at the door, but he was supposed to rule over it. It also states in James 1:14, "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (NASB)." And finally, Romans 6:23 reminds us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Therefore, it all starts with our hearts. Where is our heart? Are we rejecting God? What things are we desiring? Are we seeking after God or have we made something our god? Only Jesus has the power to set us free from the bondage of sin. If we reject Him, then we can't be made whole in Him.
Before walking in relationship and the power of Jesus Christ, I was a mess. I was bound by sin. I did not have the power to come out on my own. I had to surrender my heart to my creator, and He did the work in me.
I could still be consumed by sin if I hadn't taken that step of surrender. We have to participate in our salvation by a simple surrender. We have to seek after God in Christ. We have to keep His way and spend time in His presence, obeying, and walking in relationship with Him daily. Then and only then will our spiritual chains broken!
Sin has no power over Christ! All we have to do is surrender. He will do the rest!
From the time of my birth, I have endured some great struggles. I am truly a living testimony!
I'm often reminded of the following scripture, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)
When I first looked up the word "standard," I found, "vanish away, flee, put to flight, hide." To me, that means that God will always protect me and back up the enemy by His great power. He will keep me from destruction.
The scripture never said that the enemy wouldn't come up against me. However, it does promise that God is greater. He is a provider and a protector.
Here are a few examples:
As an infant, I had to be airlifted to Miami Children's Hospital. I was rushed into emergency surgery, where I almost died. But God.........
As I got a little older, I experienced much abuse. But God....................
As an adult, my husband and I lost our first child, and we were told that we couldn't have any children due to my struggle with Endometriosis. But God..........
I was depressed, in my sin, and lost. But God.........
I could go on and on, but you get the point. No matter what the attack was, God was right there. He was and is far greater than our struggles. He redeemed me! He kept me in the midst of it all! He protected my life from death! He gave us a son in spite of the report from the doctor. He is twelve years old now. God can and will do the same for you!
I say to you today, nothing and no one is greater than Jesus!
I am a living witness! God's glory will be revealed in our lives. We live in a fallen world, but we are redeemed by a powerful, living God!
I know you're probably wondering what the beautiful tree has to do with this devotional.
Well, allow me to use an analogy!
The tree represents God's existence and glory. It shows the world that there is a living God that took the time to show His glory through this tree. They could try, but NO man can take credit for this.
I love the fall season because I'm always amazed by the changing of the colors. Only the designer of that tree can make such a bold statement to the world. God is the designer! He made it to glorify Him. The Bible states: “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
The earth and all that is within it was created by God and to glorify Him. In the Greek, the word glorify means "honor, praise, or worship.”
Mankind is walking, living, breathing examples of the truth of God. While the tree moves and changes the way that God has designed it, we too must also glorify God. Our lives must bring honor and glory to our maker. Just like the beautiful tree in the fall, He placed purpose inside of us. That purpose is to draw others to Him.
When I first experienced fall in Georgia, I looked at the tree changing colors and begin to think about the designer, God. I thought about how beautiful He must be in order to design something so beautiful. I thought about my purpose and why He designed me. It caused me to begin to talk to Him more. I wanted to do His will and bring Him glory also.
In the same way, people are to wonder at our lives and begin to call upon Him for change in theirs. They should see us and want God more not less. Let us surrender to His purpose and glorify Him as the fall trees.
His word says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
It's not about us, but it's all about Him. To draw others to the truth which is found only in Christ Jesus.
“To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” Isaiah 46:5 NASB
“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24 NASB
Ae you ready to be made empty so that you can be made complete? God is calling humanity back to Him. He is calling us to turn our hearts to Him so that He might make us whole and free in Him. You see we are wondering souls in a world of darkness, and God wants to shine His light upon us. Jesus Christ is the light of the world!
So many have falling away! So many have erected their own god in their hearts, yet it may not be the true God of the Bible. The Lord is near to us. He is calling the nation! He is calling the world! Return to the truth! He desires our worship. We have to turn away from the worship of mankind and even ourselves. We have to push past the thoughts of others and even wanting to be accepted.
In this time, we must seek the face of the living God. Jesus came that we might have life. The abundant life in Christ is supernatural. He wants to give us rest for our soul.
So just as the children of Israel were corrected and under God's judgement, God is the same today. He will give His glory to no man. He never changed, mankind did.
We are but dust and sin is apart of our nature. Christ came to change that. He came to set us free. We must go through our land and destroy our idols. Our idols may not look the same as those in scripture. We may have taken the throne of our own heart as lord of our lives. That is idolatry! We have to dethrone ourselves and cry out to the living God! Seek His face, and seek after Him to reveal the root of our separation or distance from Him. Then we must allow Him to uproot it and leave only Himself.
The Word of God says that we must worship God in spirit and in truth. We must denounce our own desires and our own will!
Cry out to God in prayer! Pray for others as well. Ask Him to reveal, remove, and redeem! Ask Him to draw you by His spirit. Begin to say to Him, "God leave only You! You are my strength, my hope, my deliverance, my peace, and my joy! Leave only You dear Father! Leave only You!"
“Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9:39 NLT
This scripture relates to one of the miracles that Jesus performed. The man that He is speaking to was blind from birth. Then he had an encounter with Jesus. He was able to see and knew that there was something different about the man who had performed this great miracle.
Jesus then explained to him that he had received physical sight, but He also was the one that could heal spiritual blindness.
My husband wears glasses and can't see very well without them. A few years ago, he was leaving for work. He was still a little sleepy, and he got into his car and prepared to leave. He then came back into the house and said, "I was wondering why everything looked so blurry when I got in the car. I realized that I had left my glasses." He and I laughed about this for a few minutes. He then grabbed his glasses and left.
Like the man in scripture, this relates to physical sight. However, in the same way that things looked blurry to my husband, spiritual blindness can cause us not to see clearly. In the scripture referenced above, Jesus is saying that He came to give sight to the spiritually blind.
Spiritual blindness may cause us to believe that we are not sinners. It may cause us to believe that there are many ways to get to God. It may even make us believe that God doesn't exist. Whatever the situation, Jesus is the only one that can cure us.
He came to set us free. All we have to do is surrender and allow Him to do the work. When He opens our spiritual eyes, we can see and understand the things of the spirit. We can understand and experience our creator. He is spirit. Jesus is the only way and the only truth! Allow Him to open your spiritual eyes so that you can see and experience His beauty, His peace, and His holiness!!
I Peter 5:7 (NIV) - " Cast all of your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
Stress is a very common thing in today's society. We have children, careers, bills, and other challenges. It is very easy to begin to stress about what we have to endure from day to day. This can affect our physical and spiritual health. It can cause many different health problems, health care expenses, and a shorter life span. Spiritually it can keep us from seeking God because we are trying to fix our own problems, but we don't have the power. Our strength comes from above!
God's word gives us many strategies for dealing with stress. One of the most important is in the scripture noted above. We must cast our cares upon the Lord. There is no other way to overcome the cares of this world. A relationship with the Lord must be developed and we must surrender our hearts. We can't make it without Him! I hear people say that they are in control of their own lives. The truth of the matter is they are not. Either we give the enemy or God control. Our spirit man is dead outside of the living LORD.
God never called us to fix it. He knew that we wouldn't have the strength. We learn this through reading the Bible and prayer. As we surrender and develop a relationship with Christ, we go from death to life. We begin to walk in the power of His might. Then we can talk to Him about anything and He will always be there. His power and unfailing love will comfort and equip us all the days of our lives. Christ is the only one that can set us free! Bondage, fear, and anxiety cannot triumph over the power of Jesus.
Rest in Him!
“Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” - John 4:13-14 NASB
In our world today, many are eating healthier, drinking healthy drinks, and getting plenty exercise. In addition, we are receiving good reports from our physicians. These are all great things!
However, this is only the physical health that is making great strides.
Have you checked your spiritual health status? Has the Father given you
a good report?
Our spiritual health is often neglected. But…..
The Bible says the following:
“present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice" (Romans 12:1)
"be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2)
These scriptures are referring to our spiritual health. There are many
more like these found in God's Word.
Scripture goes on to describe individuals as spiritually dead. What a powerful description! Dead! So in essence, many of us may be walking around physically the picture of health, but spiritually dead.
I believe that this is a deception from the enemy. Now, please don't misunderstand me. Being physically healthy is something that we must maintain. I have to watch my weight and what I eat due to Type II Diabetes.
But, to ignore our spiritual state is futile. It makes no sense!
The Word of God tells us that we are soul, spirit, and body. So why only care for our flesh?
We need spiritual healing. Our spiritual healing is only found in Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can heal and set us free.
In the scripture above, Jesus was offering spiritual healing to the woman at the well in Samaria. He helped her to understand that he was not talking to her about natural water but spiritual cleansing.
He stated, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
I love this scripture because it shows that Jesus fulfills us. All that we need is found in Him. Also, Jesus, being God in the flesh, cared so much about this young woman's spiritual health that He wasn't concerned with the people and their customary ways. He loved her and wanted to make her whole in Him.
Like the Samaritan woman, Jesus loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. In another scripture, Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." (Rev. 3:20)
This scripture indicates that Jesus is seeking us and offering the invitation
of complete healing and soul restoration, but we have to accept the invitation.
All we have to do is accept, surrender and He will do the rest. His love is unsearchable. His love is everlasting. It won't fail you as people may have. As He has done for me, He will do for you!
Let Him in! Open your heart! Don't be deceived by the enemy. The enemy wants you to stay where you are. He may have you believing that you have no sin, but why would we need Jesus if that was the case.
Once you have encountered Jesus nothing else is needed. He is our resting place. He is our healer! Allow Him to heal you today and walk in newness of life.
Ephesians 6:10-11 - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Are you equipped for war? This is a very profound question because we are definitely in a war. We are not in a natural war, but a spiritual war. This spiritual war is very serious. For it is a war for our souls!
In the book of Ephesians, Apostle Paul instructed the believers to put on the full armor of God.
So what then is armor? First and foremost, the dictionary defines armor as any covering worn as a defense against weapons.Ephesians chapter 6 declares the following as the armor of God:
- Girding your loins with truth
- Putting on the breastplate of righteousness
- Your feet being fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
- Taking up the shield of faith
- Putting on the helmet of salvation
- Take up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
To sum this up, the full armor is found only in relationship with Christ. We only have to stay covered in Him. His power does the work.
Also, when I looked more closely at the cross references to this scripture, I was blessed to find scriptures of how putting on the armor of God really looks:
- We must first cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12)
- We must put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24)
Therefore, we can only be strong in the power of the Lord Jesus. We can't defeat the enemy on our own. Christ name alone causes demons to tremble. So a true relationship with Christ is a must! Walking with Christ is not to be taken lightly! He sees and knows far more than we could ever know. He is the one that causes us to see and overcome! We can only stand in Him!
So I ask you again, are you equipped for war? If not, the enemy will overtake you! Put on God's armor and no devil in Hell or on earth can defeat you! Take refuge in Him. Allow Him to do the work! He's mighty!
Hope-in-Christwww.hope-in-christ.comCopyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New King James Version were found on Bible Gateway.
About two weeks ago, the Holy Spirit led me to begin to study the book of Hebrews. While studying, I have been amazed by the great detail of the speaker in trying to get the audience (the converted Jewish believers) to understand that they didn't have to do what they used to do. They didn't have to walk in the old covenant. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for their sins once and for all.
As I continue to deeply study this great book of the Bible, I have asked God many questions. If Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, then why are people not walking in true freedom in Him? Why are people still bound by sin? Why is the enemy deceiving so many individuals?
God then took me to a few more scriptures to help me better understand. I begin to analyze the word "redemption." Redemption means to rescue, recovery, rebirth, or deliverance from bondage. I then begin to asked even more questions. In order to be redeemed, don't we have to first acknowledge that we need redemption from something? Don't we have to acknowledge that what You recognize as sin is sin to us as well? How can I remain bound if I say that I have Christ and shed His blood to set me free?
There is a disconnect here!
I came to a better understanding that we can be our own hindrance. We can be so comfortable in sin, bound by sin, bound by our past hurts and struggles or simply walking in fear that we don't allow Christ to do the work in us, to make us whole. You see in the book of John, chapter 5, Jesus asked a man a very thought provoking question. Jesus was coming from a Jewish feast and went up to Jerusalem to a place called Bethesda. This place had 5 porches and a pool. He found many sick people there waiting for an angel of God to come down and stir the water in order to be healed of all their many diseases.
There was a certain man there that had been sick for over 38 years. On this day Jesus asked him a simply, "Do you want to be made whole? (John 5:6-11).
The man began to give Jesus excuses and blame others, but Jesus was trying to get him to take a look at himself, and understand that he had to have the will and the desire to truly be made well. This was not temporary what Jesus wanted to do in his life. It was permanent. He had to participate. He couldn't wait for anyone else to do it for him. Did he trust God or not? Did he really want complete wholeness?
Jesus then said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." The scriptures go on to tell us that the man was made whole immediately and he didn't step one foot in the pool. He had faith in the only one that could truly heal him. Christ did it, because he believed and wanted a changed life.
Jesus saw him again and gave him a final instruction, Go and sin no more, or a worse thing will come upon you (John 5:14).
So today, just like the main at Bethesda, Jesus is asking us, "Do you want to be made whole?" I believe that God has asked me that same question more than once in my life.
God is not powerless! He has all power, but do we believe Him? Do we believe that He loves us and desires to bring us out of darkness? Do we believe that His plans for us are good or are we going to keep trying to figure it out on our own? Do truly understand what it means to be made in His image and likeness? Are we walking in fear or condemnation? What is it?
What ever it is surrender it ALL to Him! Be made whole in Him today! Only He can truly set us free. I am a living witness of it!! Trust Him! Allow Him to make you complete in Him!!
Copyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Project H.O.P.E. Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New King James Version were found on Bible Gateway.
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - KJV
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. AMP
Hebrews 11:1 - The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. - MSG
What does the Bible mean by faith? Why is it so important?
According to the Strong's Bible Dictionary, faith is the acceptance, belief, confidence, and certainty of God's truth as revealed in scripture, The Holy Bible. Faith is essential to our walk with God. It is the essence of discovering who we are in Him. The writer of Hebrews 11:1 focused on faith's importance as he/she spoke to the Jewish converts of that time, reminding them of the dangers of turning away from true faith, faith in Jesus Christ.
As I was reading this particular scripture on faith, I found it very helpful to break it down into parts in order to get the big picture. Here is a closer look:
Who should have faith?
Believers; All of humanity
What is faith?
True faith is having confidence and belief in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and His plan for redemption of mankind through the blood of Jesus Christ.
When should one have faith?
One should have faith continually without wavering.
Where does faith abide?
Faith abides in the heart.
Why should one have faith?
Hebrews 11:6 specifically states, "But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. - AMP
Without it, we can't draw nearer to God and be made whole through Christ blood.
How is faith obtained?
Faith is obtained by hearing the Word of God (the message of Christ), according to Romans 10:17.
So as you can see from the analysis, we cannot live a truly productive and redeemed life without faith. Our faith can't be placed in those things that profit nothing, but must be rooted and grounded in Christ alone. Let us keep our hand in His and allow Him to lead the way to eternal peace!