GOD’S GLORY OR MY JOY?

GOD IS GLORIFIED, I AM SATISFIED

Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
MK 2:1

God loves to display His Glory. He shows His Glory all around us everyday in countless ways. We see His glory in creation, in His word , in His redeeming grace, and in this instance, in the healing touch of Jesus. The people were amazed by this miracle, and they began to glorify the Lord.
Jonathan Edwards always spoke of the Glory of God seen in all things. In his book, ” The End for Which God Created the Earth”, he describes God’s Glory being displayed through the happiness of man, not just because He meets our needs in life, but because God Himself satisfies the hunger of our hearts. As Edwards says ” God is my good”. Now this changes everything. The lame man came to Jesus looking for healing, but he got so much more than that. When his sins were forgiven, He was brought to God. He found Himself looking into the eyes of God. He found the source of life that day. God became his good.
Jonathan Edwards says it like this,
“God in seeking his glory seeks the good of his creatures, because the emanation of his glory (which he seeks and delights in, as he delights in himself and his own eternal glory) implies the communicated excellency and happiness of his creatures.”
God communicates His Glory, Himself, to us. This is where life, happiness and, yes, healing is found. Today, you can experience the Glory of God and the greatest happiness of all. In the Presence of the Lord is fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures evermore. Just as the lame man found far more than he bargained for that day, you can find more life than you ever imagined as you draw near to God. He loves you so much that He wants to give you His best. Maybe you are just looking for a healing, or a financial breakthrough; when you get close to Him you will find more than you hoped for. You may get your miracle, but you will also get His best gift, Himself. After today you can join together with Jonathan Edwards and say “God Himself is my good.”

THE DOUBLE CURE

THE DOUBLE CURE

But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Mk 2:10-12

“How can this man forgive sins? Who does he think he is? Only God can forgive sins.”
The Pharisees were angry. They felt the words of Jesus were blasphemous. They were indignant at what they were seeing and hearing that day. They had a detailed system in Judaism to deal with sin. Animals had to be sacrificed. They had no idea who Jesus was. He was actually that sacrificial lamb. He was the fulfillment of all the old testament types and shadows. Not only is He the promised messiah, He is the Lamb of God that takes away our sin. He could forgive sin because He was going to die for our sins. He was telling the lame man that he was taking responsibility for his sin. That is why He could say, “Your sins are forgiven”.
Sin has caused mankind all sorts of misery and suffering. Until sin entered the world, our world was filled with life and health. When sin came, all of our problems began. Think of the problems you are facing in life. Ultimately, all of them stem from our sin problem. When Jesus died for our sin, He brought the answer to all of life’s dilemmas. Today, Jesus has a solution for every situation you are in. The answer begins with forgiveness, “Son, your sins are forgiven”.
This is where your life begins.
This paralyzed man thought he was coming for a healing in his body. He had no idea he needed healing for his soul. As he felt the cleansing power of God sweeping over him, he realized how enslaved he had been. He had been imprisoned by the guilt and shame of his past. That was all over now. His sins were forgiven. He was healed. He had received the double cure. Not only could he live a normal life, finally free from paralysis, but he was free from sin. Jesus had given this man new life. What about you? Draw near to the Lord. Confess your sin to the Lord, you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. Your sins are forgiven, Jesus has made you whole.

HE CALLED ME SON

” HE CALLED ME SON ”

“Son, your sins are forgiven you”
Mk 2:5

“Son”, that was the greatest word this paralyzed man had ever heard. Jesus’ words carried more than pity, they were filled with compassion. The Lord recognized the actions of desperate faith, and he responded by calling him son. To be called God’s son is the greateast privilege imaginable in this world. If you are born the son of a poor man, it brings certain limitations in your life. If your father is wealthy or powerful, it brings certain privileges and blessing. If you are born the son of a king, you are born into a life far different from anyone else. To be a son of God, brings privileges far beyond anything we can think of or comprehend in this life. In the life to come, eternal joy and satisfaction increasing through the ages will be ours.
Paul spoke of this sonship in the book of Romans.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Rom 8:14-17

The paralyzed man could never be the same after that day. When he looked into the eyes of Jesus, he saw love like he had never seen before. He forgot about his disease at that moment. He was lost in this incredible love. Suddenly, he felt life going through his legs. He was healed! What a moment. All he had thought about for years was his paralysis, when it didn’t matter, suddenly he was made whole. What kind of love was this? Love that saves your soul and heals your body. Suddenly he was on his feet and running toward his home. He couldn’t wait to tell his wife and all his friends. He had found a love better than life itself, now he knew why he was alive, to glorify his new friend, Jesus, and to tell everyone about His amazing love.

IMPARTED FAITH

IMPARTED FAITH

When Jesus saw their faith.
Mark 2:5

Jesus saw something when He looked at the paralytic and his friends. He saw an expectant faith in their faces. Where had this faith come from? They had heard stories of others that had received a miracle. Maybe their friend would get a miracle. As they drew near to Jesus, this hope began to change. When they looked through the hole in the roof, something awakened in their hearts. Something was about to happen, they just knew it. They had come to Jesus, something great was about to happen for their friend.
What is this thing Jesus saw in these men? What is faith? The author of Hebrews called faith a “substance”. What kind of substance is faith?
Faith is the effect grace has upon the human heart. Faith is the imparted ability to perceive the spiritual realm. Faith is the opening of our spiritual senses, so that the things of God’s kingdom become real to us. This is what David described when he said “Taste and see that the Lord is good”.
When the paralytic and his four friends came near to Christ, their senses began to be flooded with light. Grace and truth are in Christ. Their faith came alive and a miracle was birthed. Maybe you are facing circumstances that are beyond human remedy. Maybe you feel like faith is dim, and the Lord is far away. Actually, He is nearer than you can imagine. He is a very present help in times of trouble. Today, He is in your house, ready to impart faith into your life. How could that happen? Faith and love are in Christ Jesus. You do not have to work it up. Just get close to him, whatever it takes. Press through the crowd, climb up the tree, tear off the roof, or lift up your voice in desperation. The Lord is near and your miracle is in His hand. You do not have to depend on human faith, but you have access to God’s faith. As you get close to Him, your faith is awakened. He pours His faith into you and then looks into your heart. What does He see? He sees a glimmer of faith. Like He said to the paralytic,”Your sins are forgiven. Pick up your bed and go home”.

DESPERATION

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.
Mark 2:3,4

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

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.
Mk 2:2

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”
Psalms 19:1,2
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.
Proverbs 4:20-22

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.

TEARING OFF A ROOF

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.
Luke 5:17

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

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
disobedience.”.
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

CHICKEN RANCH JOY

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come into His presence with singing.”
Ps 100:1,2

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

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.