In Acts 8:14-25 we see Jesus changing three individuals as they make the right choices to believe, repent and follow Him. And if Jesus changed these people, He will change whoever decides to follow Him.
Peter was a fisherman who decided to follow Jesus. At the cross of Christ, Peter denied knowing Jesus although he had followed Him for three years. Jesus didn’t give up on Peter though. After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter, not to condemn him or judge him, but to renew and restore him. After the ascension of Jesus, Peter stayed in Jerusalem to wait for what Jesus had promised – the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, Peter was used to deliver a basic message (Acts 2) and three thousand people decided to become Christ followers that day. But Peter still has some prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated so He is one of the Apostles that goes to Samaria to see if it could really be true that Samaritans and not just Jews could become Christ followers. As He sees that it is true, the racial prejudices that have gripped his heart begin to loosen and His heart becomes more like that of Jesus, the One he follows.
The apostle John joins the apostle Peter on this trip to Samaria. John like Peter, had prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated. It was John who had wanted to call fire from heaven to destroy a village in Samaria when they had rejected Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth (Luke 9:51-56). Of course, Jesus rebuked John’s actions teaching John an important lesson at that time and directing his steps to Samaria this time to further purge the prejudices of John’s heart.
It was not by chance or accident that these two men were chosen as the delegation of the apostles to test the authenticity of the new non-Jewish Christ followers. They were following Jesus once again to Samaria. He was directing their every step and was going to bring more change to their heart and way of thinking that would impact their behavior.
Simon was a Samaritan entertainer who had just decided to follow Jesus. He had much to learn and it would require the rebuke of a fellow Christ follower to straighten his walk with Christ. Simon witnessed the effect produced by the laying on of hands, practiced by the apostles Peter and John, and offered them money in order to acquire the same power. Ever since that day, the attempt to turn the spiritual into the commercial has been given the term “simony”. Peter gave Simon a stern rebuke for his actions (Acts 8:23-24) and Simon’s motives were checked. He learned a lot about humility and repentance that day.
As Peter and John witnessed the authenticity of non-Jewish people who had become Christ followers, prejudices were broken down in their hearts. Their way of thinking toward others changed impacting their behavior toward others. On their journey from Jerusalem to Samaria, they did not bother preaching the word to the villages in Samaria. As they left Samaria to return to Jerusalem, they did preach the gospel to the villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:25). Jesus had brought more change to them. They now were looking at people through the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of the prejudices that they had learned all their life.
As we continually choose to follow Jesus and we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He changes us. We develop more of His mind and more of His heart which impacts our behavior each step of the way on our journey from earth to glory.
THE SPECIAL CARE GIVEN TO THOSE AROUND THE THRONE OF GOD MAGNETIZES ME TO IT.
Notice the loving care they receive. They continually stay in God’s presence. "Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them." (Revelation 7:15 NIV) They will never again experience separation from the presence of God.
God protects them from pain and suffering. "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat." (Revelation 7:16 NIV) This life is full of pain and suffering. People around the world are in pain and suffering today. The beloved will spend eternity in God’s presence where there will be no pain and suffering.
God wipes away their tears. "For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17 NIV) There will be no crying around the throne; just joy unspeakable and full of glory!
There is so much about God’s presence and spending time with Him for all eternity that I don’t understand or comprehend, but I know one thing – I want to be a part of the great multitude wearing white robes. I want to be found in this beautiful picture painted for us in God’s Word. Only now on this earth are we given opportunity to wash our robes.
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:14 NIV) They have overcome the world. While they were on earth, they washed their robes. They accepted Jesus as their Savior. They placed their faith in Jesus and accepted everything He did for them at the cross of Calvary. They made Jesus their Lord; they fixed their eyes on Jesus and they followed Jesus. In doing so, they overcame the world.
Beloved, we live in an evil and perverse world that increasingly grows out of step with God’s Word. Only now on earth can we wash our robes in the blood of Jesus Christ. Without the blood there is no cleansing. Without cleansing, there is no redemption. There is no salvation. Wash your robes. Daily go to the foot of the cross and wash your robes in the blood of Jesus Christ. Daily go to the cross and crucify self. Crucify your fleshly nature at the foot of the cross. As we decrease at the cross, Jesus increases in our life. We make Jesus Lord; we deny ourselves and we take up our cross and follow Him. And one day beloved, we will find ourselves around the throne full of joy and wearing spotless white robes!
The angels fall prostrate before God and begin to worship Him "saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"" (Revelation 7:12 NIV) These angels are not able to sing redemption’s song, but in all humility they praise and honor God. They give their creator all glory! They also are full of joy in bearing witness to the multitude of the redeemed shouting praise to God.
Here we see glorious angels who have never sinned praising God in all humility. How much more should we who have sinned and been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ humble ourselves and worship Him?
Beloved, salvation is only by God and Jesus. God desires to save us from sin, guilt, death and wrath. As a person places their faith in Jesus, God saves them by His grace. They are placed among the beloved and will be around the throne shouting God’s salvation! They are full of joy because they know without God’s grace, they would not be there.
"And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:10 NIV)
Beloved, it’s not as much about whom we are as it is what Jesus can make us. Those Jesus calls, He will make into what He desires them to be and the finished person will not look like the one that answered the call. All that those called must do is keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and follow Him. Along the way, He will perfect the faith that He initiated in them when He first called them. God’s Word says in Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Friend, if you are not yet following Jesus, please know today that Jesus is calling you. His call is the same as it was on this day alongside the Sea of Galilee. He calls you right where you are at and He calls you just as you are. You are not what He wants you to be yet, but that does not matter to Him. He calls you anyway and promises to make you what He wants you to be. What you will become depends upon you following Him. You don’t have to go to a church service, walk an aisle and repeat a prayer after a pastor. Jesus did not teach that at all. All you have to do is to step out of what you have grown accustomed to – that is the boat that you are in. Don’t hold on to the things of this world with a white knuckled intensity – that is your nets. Just drop the nets, get out of the boat and follow Jesus. He will take you on an exciting and rewarding journey from earth to glory.
Jesus’ call demands an immediate response. These ones alongside the Sea of Galilee this day would have to leave their former way of life and its agenda. They would have to leave the security in which they had grown comfortable. They would have to place themselves under the authority and teachings of Jesus. They would have to trust Him. They would have to walk in the faith that Jesus was now initiating in them in order for that faith to grow and one day reach perfection. It would not be an easy journey, but it would be a rewarding journey.
They made the right choice that day. It was immediate. They dropped the nets. They got out of the boat. And they followed Jesus. What will you do today?
The first 15 verses of the Gospel of Mark tells us about the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus and the message of Jesus, which is the same message for us in our day. In verse 15, we hear Jesus say "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." After making His message simple and clear, He began to call those who would follow Him and continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. (Mark 1:16-20 ESV)
John the Baptist is in prison and Jesus could have decided to continue His ministry alone, but He chose not to do so. His plan is to call people to follow Him. He will train, empower and direct them to continue His point of need ministry. He trains by example, He empowers by the Holy Spirit and He directs through His Word.
The world is looking for leaders to step up today. Jesus is looking for followers to step out today and follow Him in point of need ministry. Stepping out will require faith and that faith is initiated by Jesus in those who He calls. He calls us right where we are at. He calls us as just as we are. He makes us into what He wants us to be as we answer the call and follow Him.
In what does one believe? Jesus said “repent and believe in the gospel.” One must believe that Father loves them so much that he placed in motion a plan of redemption from sin even before they were created. He wants to give us His very best to show His love for us, so He sent Jesus, His only begotten son, to be the sacrifice for our sin. We must believe in that good news. It is the good news of God. We must believe in the love of Father. We must believe that Jesus is the Savior, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Jesus made it simple – repent and believe. Those who truly repent and believe will experience the kingdom of God now and be participants in growing His kingdom here on earth as we await the return of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.
Beloved, Jesus’ message has not changed. It’s the same today as it was when He walked this earth over 2,000 years ago. He brought the good news of God which is that God loves us and the kingdom of God is near. We can participate in it now. We don’t have to wait for a future age. All we have to do is repent and believe. Praise the Lord! To God be all the glory! Amen.
How does one repent? Repentance is a change in the mind that results in a change in actions. A person becomes aware of their sinfulness and it sickens them so much, they no longer want to live in that sinfulness. God’s Word says “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT”
We can not confuse being sickened by the consequences of sin with being sickened of sin itself. Many are sorry for their sins because of the consequences they bring, but that sorrow does not lead to true repentance. The sorrow that leads to repentance is a sickening of sin itself. When we get to that point we will decide to run from it and run to Jesus. He will save us.
At this time of Jesus, the Jews believed in two ages. They believed in the present age of sinfulness ruled by Satan and they believed in an age to come when God would destroy Satan and evil once and for all. Jesus comes along and preaches something different than what they believe in. He says the “kingdom of God is at hand”. The people would not have to wait until a future age because Jesus brought the kingdom to earth. This kingdom will ultimately include the restoration of all creation, but we can be a part of God’s kingdom today. It is all about the kingly rule of Jesus. Jesus rules in the hearts and minds of those who follow Him. He not only is their savior, but Jesus is their Lord!
After Jesus’ startling announcement of the immediacy of the kingdom, He is quick to point out how one can be a part of that kingdom with two words – repent and believe. It’s not about walking and aisle and repeating a prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart. Jesus did not teach that. In fact, you will find it nowhere in Scripture. Beloved, we need to get back to what Jesus preached – repent and believe!
Time is something in which we are much attuned. We look back on our life and wonder where all the time has gone. We can not account for all of it, but we have milestones along the timeline of our life that are very meaningful. For me those times are when I graduated from college, when I got married, when I had children, when I was ordained as a minister of the Gospel and when I finally realized what it meant to follow Christ, taking up the cross and beginning this wonderful journey from earth to glory.
Throughout the time of the Old Testament, from Abraham through the Prophets, Christ was anticipated and expected. As we today read through the Old Testament, we see that Christ was typified throughout. We learn that the salvation of man through Christ is not a random act, but very well orchestrated by Father. Father loves all people so much; He had a plan of redemption in place even before the foundation of the world was formed. But it would not be in man’s timing. It would be in Father’s perfect timing. Jesus came into our world and announces that the time is fulfilled, and indeed it is fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
Jesus fulfilled the old covenant which identified our sinfulness and He brought us a new covenant that would bring deliverance from the power of sin. Under the old covenant the power of sin was identified, but not broken. Under the new covenant, the power of sin has been broken through what Christ accomplished at the cross of Calvary. And in Father’s perfect timing Jesus came into our world. Beloved, God is and has always been in total control.
Jesus was the greatest person that has ever walked this earth. He came into our world and revealed to us the heart of God through His words and through His actions. His message continues to speak to us in our day. His message has not changed. If He were invited into church services this weekend, what would He preach? What message would He deliver?
To answer that question we must go back to the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Jesus had just been baptized in water by John the Baptist. At His baptism, the Spirit descended on Him and Father spoke words of pleasure from the heavens. He was immediately driven into the wilderness where He would spend 40 days in seclusion being prepared for the ministry in front of Him that would include a violent death on a cross. He overcame temptation in the wilderness and came out ready to touch people at their point of need while He headed to the cross as the lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
(Mark 1:14-15 ESV)
The location is Galilee, a province of Palestine. Palestine was divided into three provinces – Judea, Samaria and Galilee. Galilee was the northern most province and it’s here that we get to listen in to the message of Christ. He delivered the good news of God and it was fourfold: the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you get a song stuck in your head? You are really not sure why, but you can't seem to forget it and you find yourself singing it over and over again. Well, I just experienced one of those weeks and I would like to share the song with you that got stuck in my head. It is a beautiful hymn that I'm sure most of you know and have sung before.
Verse 1: When peace like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Verse 2: Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control. That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
Verse 3: My sin oh the bliss of this glorious thought: My sin not in part, but the whole. Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.
Verse 4: And Lord Haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, Even so it is well with my soul.
Chorus: It is well; it is well, with my soul, with my soul. It is well; it is well with my soul.
This is such a great hymn and is so comforting and encouraging to all Christ followers who know that it doesn't matter who you are, or what color your skin is, whether you're rich or poor, or where you live or what kind of trials you are facing in your life right now. Through it all we know that Jesus Christ Himself has regarded our helpless estate and that He shed His own blood for our souls. That should be enough to make us all sing praises!
Be encouraged today my friends, whatever your lot in life. One day soon, the trump of the Lord shall sound and He shall descend. We will at that time live by sight instead of by faith. So let it be well with your soul today. Let it be well with your soul.
We thank God for all those who send in monthly support that allows us to minister the love of Christ to people all around the world. Please keep me, my family and the worldwide ministry of LovingGodFellowship.org in your prayers as we keep you in ours. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.
Partners in the Faith,
Rev. Becky Johnson
Rob Wells, who is a close friend of mine and one of six on the Loving God Fellowship Board of Directors, gave me a book to read titled So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore. I have finished reading it and I am adding it to my recommended books list.
The main character of the book is Jake. When the book begins, Jake is a minister on staff at a large church. Each of the thirteen chapters tells of a separate conversation that Jake has with John, a man who keeps appearing in Jakes life. John takes Jake on a spiritual journey that will take him out of his comfort zone and lead him into a freedom in Christ that He had never experienced before.
I could so relate with Jake in this book. As I read through the chapters, I found that Jakes journey resembled the one that I have been on, almost in detail. I was once the senior associate pastor of a large church and resigned without disclosing the true reasons in order to protect the church while being shunned by many as the senior pastor set out to publicly ruin my character in order to protect his own in case I went public with what I knew. I refused to retaliate or defend myself. It was one of the hardest and loneliness periods of my life, but it would lead me into the freedom in Christ that I now experience and will spend the rest of my life trying to lead people into.
If you are frustrated with just going through the motions of Christianity and are looking for something deeper and more meaningful, you need to read this book. It is published by Windblown media who published The Shack which is also on my recommended book list. If you liked The Shack, you will like So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore.
May God lift up those in our day who will choose the genuine over the entertaining. May we be those who will reveal to our city God’s kingdom through words and actions resulting in repentance, believing, baptizing and social change.
Many today have turned to entertainment which appeals to the flesh, but does nothing to reconcile us to God and man, nor does it grow God’s kingdom. What is needed today is a genuine move of God through Christ followers who are willing to reveal God’s kingdom through their words and actions resulting in people repenting, believing and being baptized. In Acts 8:9-13 we see a contrast in the impact that an entertainer and a Christ follower has on the public.
Notice the contrast between Simon the magician and Peter the Christ follower.
Simon the Magician:
Was a popular entertainer
Drew attention to himself
Amazed the people with his magic
Peter the Christ Follower:
Revealed the good news about the kingdom of God through his words and actions
Pointed people to Jesus instead of self
Baptized believers as a sign of conversion
The great conclusion of Acts 8:9-13 is that even an entertainer realizes that there is need for something more and that they desire the real over the entertaining.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-8 Therefore we ourselves boast about you among God's churches--about your endurance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you endure. It is a clear evidence of God's righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God's kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is righteous for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels,taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don't know God and on those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
What would be an appropriate epitaph on your tombstone? What statement (one-liner) would you say described your life rather than the specific circumstances you are facing right now? When Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, they were in the midst of intense suffering. But Paul encouraged them to look beyond their immediate troubles to the return of Christ and affirmation in God. (23B;pg 2174)
…you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you are also suffering.
Paul says that the lawless one is already at work and working to deceive them and those around them. Thessalonica, in A.D. 51, was a thriving commercial and military center on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is now western Greece. The fledgling community would have been influenced by temptation which would have proven very difficult to resist. Paul was writing from Corinth, so the church probably felt alone and exceedingly small in contrast to the population that surrounded it.
What does Paul tell his brothers in Christ? There will be rewards and there will be consequences for our action and our inaction. Even then the power of Satan was felt in everyday terms. You can be assured that skeptics and pagan worshippers would have been waiting with keen interest to see if these new followers of “Jesus the Christ” were for real. It is likely that Paul came in with a flourish and caused a stir as he set up the Thessalonian church. Even though he constructed tents which were sought after, he undoubtedly overshadowed his commercial success by threatening local priests and government leadership with his urgent message.
Paul says to “hang in there” because the last chapter has not yet been written. He gives believers hope in Jesus’ return … that any persecution they experienced would work for them as martyrs for the cause of Christ. Notice that Paul did not say to pay back “in kind” but that God would hand down appropriate judgment. Paul says there will be a revealing and it will be accompanied by powerful angels taking vengeance with flaming fire.
I suspect that this flaming fire (possibly a tar or petroleum product flung at the enemy) would have been the weapon of choice in that day causing a painful and slow death. They would have understood the reference clearly.
So when you and I finish the race, what will be written about us? Will it glorify God or self?
The kingdom of God is good news to all who will listen, repent and believe that it is here through Jesus Christ. Entertainment will bring temporary satisfaction, but becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom provides eternal fulfillment.
As we follow Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to use us in continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus, we will discover that Christ is for the entire world. We will put faith before country and develop a worldview that includes all of God’s children no matter where they live. May God bless the world!
During the days of Christ and His early followers, the Jews did not like the Samaritans. The hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans had lasted a thousand years. It began when the 12 tribes of Israel broke up in the 10th Century BC. Ten tribes made Samaria their capital and the remaining 2 tribes made Jerusalem their capital. In the 7th Century BC, Samaria was captured by Assyria, thousands of people were deported and their land was re-populated with foreigners. The Samaritans intermarried with those of other races. They had lost their racial purity and that, for the Jews, was an unforgiveable crime. In the 6th century BC, the Jews refused the help of the Samaritans in rebuilding their temple. In the 4th century BC, the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. This really upset the Jews.
But, Christ came into our world and specifically reached out to the Samaritans (John 4). In the paragraph of Scripture found in Acts 8:4-8, we find that the early Christ followers are discovering that Christ is for all the world and we see them reaching out to the Samaritans just as Christ had done.
Note in Acts 8:4-8 what Christ followers brought to these people:
Some believe that Christ favors one group of people over another or one country over another. Here in America, people always say "God Bless America". I love my country and I want God to bless where I live, but what about the rest of the world? Christ is for the entire world!
I am a Christ follower and I believe that immigration reform is a moral issue.
I have proclaimed to church congregations for 19 years now that God is bringing immigrants to America to experience the love that flows out of Christ followers as we love God and ALL people. He is allowing them to be our neighbors. Will we love them?
I pray that in these days the church steps up and does not act like many American white churches did during the days of slavery and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. What a negative piece of church history that was. Although we have made many strides towards racial equality in this nation, the church on Sunday mornings continues to be the most segregated place in America. May God help us in our day. And may immigrants experience the love of Christ through Christ followers as we stand for faith and justice while loving God and ALL people.
Martin Luther King Jr. said that "bad laws are worth going to jail over". I'm sure that you would agree with me that segregated buses, restaurants, bathrooms, water fountains and schools were bad laws. Nevertheless, they existed in the 1960s and prior. Dr. King and others took a stand against these bad laws and led the African American community in nonviolent protests against them. Dr. King was placed in jail many times over these bad laws, but as a Christ follower, he took a stand for faith and justice in his day and we must do the same in our day. “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24 ESV)”
The Federal immigration laws need to be reformed to be more compassionate. Until they are reformed, states are left to do their own thing and each state could develop their own laws concerning immigrants like Arizona has already done. I believe Arizona's law is racist in heart and will lead to results in that state that will not be good.
Jesus said (Matthew 25:35-40 NIV) For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'  "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'  "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Welcoming the stranger in our midst (Matthew 25:35) is the direction of Christ, the One we follow.
To put it spiritually, much of our political discourse today dishonors the image of God in each other and in the fragile process of human beings trying to govern themselves in peace. An honest political search to find answers to serious problems has been replaced by a politics of warring factions, where winning and losing become the only considerations. We must do more than simply change our language; we must learn to honor the process and its participants by treating disagreement with respect. When we disagree, we should do so respectfully, without falsely impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith. We ultimately need a moral debate.
Political debate, even vigorous debate, is a healthy thing for a democracy. But to question the integrity, patriotism, and even the faith of those with whom we disagree is destructive to democratic discourse. And to threaten or even imply the possibility of violence toward those whose politics or worldview differs from ours is a sign of moral danger and, indeed, a sign of democracy’s unraveling.
This fundamental disrespect in the political debate has harmed the public square.
Beloved, as we follow Jesus into the wilderness, the place of helplessness, we will learn that it is there that we grow dependent upon God. It is God that leads us there because He desires to do a work in us that will allow us to reach our full potential in His Kingdom. God does this work in His timing and not ours. Temptation will come to us and as we make the right choices instead of believing the lies of the devil, we will be given strength and endurance for our journey as God ministers to us right there in our wilderness.
Know that God will minister to us in the wilderness. Beloved, as you make the right choices and not give into the temptation that comes in the wilderness, God will strengthen you. He will sustain you. He will lead you out of the wilderness in due season. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. And when He leads you out, He will lead you in to a work for Him that will be awesome. It will be mindboggling. It will be God.
The wilderness is not easy. We will be tempted to take matters into our own hands. We will be tempted to do it our own way. We will be tempted to get back to the safety and comfort of what we have grown accustomed to. We will be tempted to try to go back the way we came. Temptation will come and we will be given a choice. God will lead us into the wilderness, but he will not make choices for us there that will override our human will. If He did, he would not be a just God. So, He leads us into a position where we can become more reliant upon Him, but the enemy of our soul will try to distract us and try to get us to make the wrong choices. All the devil can do is tempt us. He can’t make choices for us and God won’t. We will have to decide to allow God to do a work in the midst of our wilderness or believe the lies of the devil. Beloved, allow God to do a work in the midst of your wilderness. You will be glad that you did.
As we follow Christ on our journey from earth to glory, it is the Spirit that drives us into the wilderness. It’s a God thing. He desires us to draw close to Him and allow Him to prepare us for the ministry ahead of us on our journey. Each Christ follower has great potential in God’s Kingdom and revealing that Kingdom here on earth, but they must be prepared. Beloved, the wilderness is where such preparation is made.
The timing of us entering the wilderness is in God’s perfect timing. In Jesus’ case, the Spirit did not waste any time. After Jesus submitted to the will of Father which was pleasing to God, the Spirit “immediately drove Him out into the wilderness”. If you are not already in the wilderness being prepared by God for the next step in your journey, you have either just came out or you are getting ready to go in. The timing is God’s. Beloved, allow Him to do a full work in you as you focus entirely upon Him.
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