THE POWER OF DESPERATION
Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He (Jesus) was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
These men were desperate. Their friend was in trouble. Only a miracle would do for them. They needed to get to Jesus. The Bible is full of stories of desperate men and women. There is the woman with the issue of blood, there is tree-climbing Zacheus, of course the nobleman who walked from Capernaum to Cana (twenty miles) to receive a healing for his son. How could we forget the screaming of Bartimaeus or the persistence of the Caananite mother with the demonized daughter or Jairus who risked his career and reputation to see his little girl healed.
The Bible is full of stories of desperate people calling upon the Lord. These four friends in Capernaum did not leave disappointed. What would happen if they tore off a stranger’s roof? Would Jesus respond to their desperate action? What will He say when they break through the tiles? Their desperation was changed into faith when they came near to Jesus. He looked at the men, then looked at the paralytic, and He saw their faith.Their dreams were then realized. “Son, your sins are forgiven. Pick up your bed and go home.”
Maybe today you are in a place of desperation. It may seem there is no escape from your circumstances. Take courage, be not afraid. The Lord responds to the desperate cry. Make a determination to let your desperation bring you to Christ. Take some desperate measures to find Him. Maybe you can’t climb upon a roof, but take some new steps to seek after the Lord. Open your Bible, search the scriptures, you will always find Him there. As you approach Him, His eyes of compassion begin to search you heart. He picks up the smallest glimmer of faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed. Then He sends out His Word, ” Your sins are forgiven, go in peace, and be healed from your affliction”.
MEDICINE FOR YOUR FLESH
Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.
Jesus always preached the Word, after all He is the Word of God. It would be easier for the sun to stop shining, than for the Lord to stop declaring God’s Word. His creation is constantly declaring His Word, as David said,
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech”
God’s words are healing words. That day, Jesus was preaching in Capernaum, in Peter’s house. The house was filled, filled with people and filled with expectancy. Four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. They were looking for a miracle. Jesus spoke His Word to this man. “Your sins are forgiven”, Jesus said. Then He said, “Pick up your pallet and go home.”
Without hesitation he got up and headed toward his house. The people in the house were stunned, stunned by the miracle and stunned by Who was standing in the room. The creator of all things was there, healing was inevitable.
Today, nothing is any different. Jesus is here, His Word is being preached, and healing is in the air.
20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
You can find healing for you soul and your body in God’s Word. Dig into the Bible. As Solomon said, it is healing for our flesh. Jesus is in the house. The Word is in His mouth. As you search the scriptures, more than information is going into you. Christ Himself is the Word of God. Life is in every word of scripture, that life is healing you, your soul and your body. Jesus is in the house, He lives in the Bible, today He wants to live in you.
POWER PRESENT TO HEAL
Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
The Presence of the Lord was in the room. Luke said “the power of the Lord” was present to heal. Luke was describing the power, dunamis, of the Holy Spirit. Of course God had anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power to heal the sick, but this was different. There was an unusual presence in the house. Something incredible was about to happen. Shortly after this, there was a noise on the roof. Four men were tearing a hole in the roof! Then, they began to lower a paralyzed man down in at the feet of Jesus. Within a few moments, the paralyzed man was on his feet. He was rolling up his pallet. He was going home. He was going home, healed! The people were filled with amazement and began to glorify the Lord. What else could you do? God’s power had been seen. The lame man was well. Our only response can be adoration of our Blessed Lord.
Jesus has not changed. He is pouring out His power in these last days to glorify His name. Maybe you or someone you know needs a miracle. Don’t despair, the power of the Lord is still being poured out. His presence is here now to heal you of your infirmities. How will it happen for you? Maybe through the laying on of hands, or during a time of intimate worship, or during the preaching of God’s Word, or maybe during your Bible reading time. He heals many different ways. The power of the Lord is present to heal. The atmosphere is beginning to change, something wonderful is about to happen. Put yourself in a position to receive. Get hungry for God. Maybe you won’t tear off someone’s roof, but press in, a miracle is coming toward you.
ENTER IN TO THE TREEPLANTER’S REST
Psalm 100:1-2 ESV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Serving the Lord with gladness is one of the perks we have as Christians. Most people relate work, or serving, with duty which lends itself to serving out of obligation rather than delight. There is a spiritual place available to us where we can enter into a place of rest and service regardless of what the
circumstances may be.
One of my first experiences with this supernatural service took place in the mountains of Oregon and Washington when I was doing reforestation work to support our Bible school in California. Parris and I lived in the mountains with our infant son Jeremy for seven months. We would camp with our team near a river, and live in our tent village. The living conditions and working conditions were quite difficult.
Tree planting takes place in the fall and winter months, and is especially cold and rainy in the mountains of the Northwest. Planting trees on the sides of those mountains for 10-12 hours per day was quite difficult and rather dangerous. Because of the conditions, without serving the Lord with gladness, you could be quite miserable. I experienced a number of those miserable days. One of the things we were taught by our Pastors was what they called “entering in”! The author of Hebrews describes this in Hebrews 4:11. “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of
You could embrace the work with joy if you embraced the Lord and His presence while treeplanting and if you saw the work connected to the ministry. Our physical work was advancing the kingdom, believing and acting on this changed everything. Planting trees in the mountains proved to be a great joy in my life. I was able to learn how to “enter in” and embrace the Lord in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. I was learning to serve the Lord with gladness.
CHICKEN RANCH JOY
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come into His presence with singing.”
Many times our work can be a source of frustration and can be something we do because we have to work, just to pay the bills. I had one of those jobs. I worked for one year at B & C Egg Ranch in the San Joaquin Valley in the early seventies. I hated to go to work. My job consisted of pushing chicken manure. It was hot, it was stinky and I was miserable. On one of those miserable days I had a great spiritual breakthrough. I felt like I could not do that job anymore and began to cry out to the Lord. Thousands of chickens went silent as I began to shout out to God. He met me in an amazing way. In a moment of time He changed everything. He reminded me of my tithes and my offerings that I had given at church the night before. Then the Lord reminded me of the missions team we were sending out. In a moment of time I saw it. My work was connected to my giving. My giving was connected to the advancing of God’s kingdom. My work was not in vain. A portion of my earnings was going into the work of God. Joy began to flood my soul. Instead of crying out in misery I began shouting for joy.
Everything changes when you see your work as valuable. Just pushing chicken mess seems like a waste of time and energy. Maybe your job seems like just pushing chicken mess. If you give the first fruits of your harvest, your tithe, into the work of God, your work is not in vain. Your work is connected to the Lord’s work.
My experience at the egg ranch changed drastically that day. I was no longer working with regret and hopelessness but now I was serving the Lord with gladness.
THE GOD CENTERED MAN
In Romans 11, Paul seems to be overwhelmed with the goodness and greatness of God. “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” Vs33. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. Vs.36.
The heavenly man becomes a God centered man. Our interests in Him have gone far beyond what He can and will do for us in this life. We have been captured by His greatness. We have been stunned by His beauty. We have been humbled by His grace. We have been awed by His wisdom. Paul is describing the God centered life that flows from a God encounter. Paul’s spiritual life began from his encounter with the Lord on the Damascus Road. He saw a light that was brighter than the noon day sun. This light opened his blind spiritual eyes, and the same light, closed his natural eyes for three days. I will never forget the day I was visited by the Lord on a Tuesday afternoon in Dallas, Texas. Hands were laid upon my head in a prayer line, unexpectedly I found myself caught up in His wonderful love. I was overcome by His Presence and a whole new world opened up for me. That day, I got a touch of what Paul describes in Acts 9. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things!!!! From that day, Christ became the center of my world. Drinking in His Goodness became my passion in life. Have you experienced Christ for yourself? Are you experiencing Him in your life? I beseech you, I beg you, be transformed, become that heavenly man, leaving behind earthly things. Start today! Spend some time reading His Word . Spend some time listening to worship and entering in to worship yourself. Pray in the Spirit. The Lord has a heavenly plan and I think you have a part to play in it. That plan begins to unfold in you as you step over into His Presence. From that time, Christ becomes the center of your world.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”* 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth”.
Remember what Paul is saying, “I beseech you therefore brothers, in view of the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Be transformed….he continues in Chapter 9 to describe for us the matchless mercies of our God. In this chapter Paul talks about the blessing and mystery of God’s sovereignty and His election of Sons and Daughters. Remember the words of Jesus, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Paul spoke about this in Romans 9:15,16. “For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.” This teaching can bring great change into our lives. He has a plan for my life. This plan is surpernatural and eternal. His plan is sure, perfect, and will come to pass. As I let go of my plans and yield to God’s eternal plan, I am changed. The heavenly man rejoices in the sovereignty of God. This is the place of safety and humility. Trusting in His goodness , wisdom, and power brings great peace into our lives. We spend our lives yielding rather than striving. Today, in view of the SOVEREIGN PLAN of God, yield yourself to Him. His plans for you are good and you will never be disappointed as those plans begin to come to pass. Instead of worrying, striving, and doubting; you can enter a time of spiritual rest and enjoyment.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your path
PUTTING TO DEATH THE OLD LIFE
“For I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”(Romans 7 vs.21-23)
We should not be discouraged by the natural tendencies that still try to dominate our lives. Rather, this struggle pushes us to the Lord. Transformation does not come from human will power, human wisdom or determination. Transformation into the heavenly man comes by the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about this ability to overcome the natural man in Romans 8. In verse 12 and 13 he gives us some important revelation. “So then brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, (the natural man), to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Did you get that? We can put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit or by the anointing. Practically, we yield to the anointing several ways to cooperate with this work of God in our lives. We pray in tongues regularly, putting to death the natural tendencies. We saturate ourselves in worship, drinking in the heavenly presence that produces change. Finally, we spend time in Holy Ghost services, this brings destruction to the sinful tendencies. The anointing is the manifest presence of the Lord. The natural man does not want to live in the anointing, he wants to watch football and eat chips. The new man, loves the anointing. Spend time in His presence, especially if you are struggling with temptation. Start your journey now, destroy the natural man by walking in the Spirit.
Free From Sin
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
In Romans 6 Paul talks about the death of our old life. He talks about us being crucified with Christ. He also says that if our old life is dead, consider ourselves as dead men. We no longer have to live as natural men, our old life is finished. If this is true, change is possible. The Lord not only dealt with sin, He dealt with the sinner. He crucified him. If you have been crucified with Christ, you are dead to sin. Consider yourselves dead. How do I consider myself dead to sin? Of course by reflecting on the “mercies”of God. The Word of God becomes our place of refuge. As we soak ourselves in scripture, this precious truth comes alive. I am dead to sin. I am alive to God. That person I used to be is gone. There is a new man living inside of me. Who is that new man? Of course it is the Heavenly Man, Jesus Christ. Christ’s death not only dealt with sin, He dealt with the sinner. I was crucified with Christ. The natural man was put to death so the Heavenly Man could be revealed. As we identify with Christ by faith, these truths are awakened. As we are awakened, we begin to walk in the power of this new life.
Why spend another day living that miserable old life, wallowing in the fears, temptations, and depression of this dark world? Start living, really living today. I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.
JUSTICE AND MERCY
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed
In Romans 3:25, Paul presents the solution for our sin. He introduces a word called propitiation. This is a very powerful and very important Bible word. Propitiation describes the joining together of the two diverse qualities found in our Lord, justice and mercy. Our God is a Holy and Just God. Sin cannot enter His presence and sin cannot go unpunished. At the same time the Lord is incredibly merciful, “the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.” At the cross, sin was judged. Christ became the representative of the human race. The Lord did not overlook sin, He judged it. Man’s sin, my sin, was judged by God. Because of the judgment of sin at Calvary, mercy becomes available. Because Christ suffered in my place, mercy has triumphed over judgment. Christ has forgiven me. I have been declared righteous. By faith I can now live. This is one of the great truths Paul proclaimed. Sin has been judged, the sacrifice has been accepted. We have been declared righteous because our representative took our judgement on Himself.
Several times, in the ministry of Jesus, He would say, “Go in peace, your sins are forgiven.” The Lord never made light of sin because of the horrible fruit sin produces. He was saying ” I am taking full responsibility for your sin”. He could say “Your sins are forgiven ” because of what was about to happen at the cross. At Calvary, My sins received full judgement because God is just and holy. At the cross my sins were forgiven because God is merciful. Christ Himself, has fulfilled the righteous demands of God. In view of the mercies of God , offer yourself to Him.