In over two decades of teaching, preaching, and pastoring, I have taught parishioners that any time you read a promise in the Bible, you need to start looking around for the conditions to obey in order to receive the promise. If you do your part in obeying the Scripture, God does His part, and the promise will be realized in you. It's a central theme throughout the Bible. The "Bible Promise" books that have been so popular over the years leave the conditions of the promises of God out, leaving people standing on the promises, but ignorant to the conditions to obey in order to receive them.
Now we have a book that explains how to read and understand Scripture finding the conditions that lead to fulfilled promises, and it is written by a friend and mentor of mine, Robert P. Holland, who has been pastoring since 1965. First a word concerning Pastor Holland, and then I will talk more about his book which I have completed reading and highly recommend for all those who are serious about understanding and receiving the promises of Holy Scripture.
Pastor Holland is one of my heroes of faith. I have known him for two decades and had opportunity to sit under his ministry for a short season prior to pastoring my first church in the early 1990s. Pastor Holland has a keen understanding of Scripture that is reflected in his life. He portrays the image of Christ more than any other person I have had the privilege of knowing. His ability to communicate and teach the Word is a gift given to us by God. Those who have had the privilege of sitting under his ministry have not experienced a famine of the Word under it, and have instead been given a bountiful feast that brings growth in the Lord.
I just finished reading his book, Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7, and highly recommend it. The book begins with an explanation of the title which is fundamental to the 44 chapters which follow. In each chapter, which Pastor Holland refers to as "Wisdom and Promise workshops", a Scripture promise and its conditions (Pastor Holland refers to as "Wisdom") are identified and proper exegesis, application and exhortation is given.
For those who will read the book, I believe that the Holy Spirit will bring attention to the areas of life where proper wisdom is not applied, and where promises are not being realized, allowing for proper application of Scripture to take place. I"m sure that every reader who has a desire to please God and live for Him will be able to properly apply wisdom and receive promises as they prayerfully read and glean from each chapter.
There have been some great books that I have read that I commit to reading again. With this book, I plan to incorporate it into my daily discipline of reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture, by reading a chapter each day for a while to come. In the days ahead, I will also be tweeting (@Gregory_Johnson) some quotes from the book and posting some quotes on my Facebook page (GregoryAJohnsonPage).
I encourage you to get a copy of the book today, read it, and let God speak into your life as you discover the wisdom and promises that God would have you receive. The book is available as a paperback and as an ebook on Amazon. Click here and get your copy today - Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7: Finding Wisdom and Receiving Promises.
Beloved, in the world there is sin, sickness, disease and disability. As Christ followers, we have citizenship in God’s Kingdom that Christ is ruling over.
Our citizenship is not of this world and we are to utilize our remaining days on earth putting our faith in action so that those in need can have opportunity to experience Jesus’ forgiveness of sins while seeing the Kingdom in action and desiring to be a part of it. In God’s Kingdom there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.
Jesus, knowing what was in their heart, gave the physical evidence that verified that He had the authority to forgive sins. He gave the paralytic specific instruction and when the paralytic obeyed Jesus, physical healing took place. This man not only received the forgiveness of sin, but He could finally move and walk. The people were amazed and God was glorified.
Friend, we are sinners and Christ forgives sins. A church doesn’t. A pastor or priest doesn’t. Church membership or church attendance doesn’t. Christ does. I encourage you to allow Christ to forgive you of your sins today. Scripture tells us ”This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)”
Beloved, as we put our faith in action within our cities and communities, Jesus will do the rest. As we minister at the point of need, people will sense the love of Christ as our motivation and many will come to Christ and receive the forgiveness of sins. We will reach more people for Christ this way than by telling them that they are going to hell as sinners. If you go to the marginalized in your city and tell them that they are going to hell unless they come to Jesus, they will not understand because they are already living in hell. But, if churches meet the needs of the marginalized in their city, people will experience the kingdom of God in action and want to be a part of it.
I thank God for the Christ following churches who are bringing people out of the hellish conditions in their city and introducing them to the love, grace, peace and freedom of God’s Kingdom through point of need ministry.
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2:1-5 ESV)
Mark is very explicit in pointing out that Jesus was there “preaching the word.” Taking care of people’s needs was important, but preaching the word was priority in Jesus’ life and ministry. The “word” that Jesus preached is defined in Mark 1:14-15 which reads “… 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. (ESV)"
Needs being met attracted the crowds, but Jesus constantly brings attention back to the preaching of the Kingdom which is His priority. Near the conclusion of chapter one Jesus tells His followers "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. (Mark 1:38 ESV)”
In the kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all. That message must take priority over all else in our day. Taking care of the needs of people is vital and is to be the result of preaching Christ and His Kingdom which must be priority. Actions must follow words. The result will be a realization of the Kingdom and participation in it.
More to come tomorrow... Your comments are encouraged!
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them." But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. (Mark 1:40-45 ESV)
What Jesus does in this paragraph of Scripture is startling to the people watching, but Jesus was not focused on the watching people. He was not interested in attracting crowds and that was not why He did the miracles that He did. He was focused on an individual who had lost his health, his dignity, his ability to earn income, his social status, his family and his friends. Jesus responded with a touch and the words “I will; be clean”. The crowds gasped when Jesus touched the leper, but the leper was filled with healing warmth that flooded His being as he was healed of leprosy and was made clean. It was love that moved Jesus to act to make this man’s life better. Jesus did not just feel sorry for him. Jesus helped him. Jesus responded with compassion – a love that compels one to act.
The first touch this man felt for probably many years was the touch of Jesus. He would never be the same. Why did Jesus touch him? He did not have to do so. In all of the recorded exorcisms, Jesus spoke a word and freed the individuals. He never once laid a hand on a demoniac. He would speak a word and the winds and waves would obey Him, so why did He touch this leper? Maybe, he touched the leper to be our example; a pattern for us to follow.
Who are the social outcasts of our day? Is it the diseased? Is it those living in poverty? Is it the homeless? Is it the incarcerated? Is it the shut-in? Is it those living alternate lifestyles? Is it those of a different race? Is it those of a different faith?
Who are the social outcasts in your city? Who in your city is financially and socially isolated? Who is shut-in? What would happen in your city if each person makes it a point every day to do an act of compassion, reaching out to touch one that is in need? I believe more people would realize the Kingdom of God and want to be a part of it.
Beloved, we live in a day where there is an overabundance of armchair theologians and armchair politicians. We don’t need any more of those. What we need in our day are people who will follow Jesus and get their hands dirty in point of need ministry revealing that in the Kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.
Touch people beloved. Touch people. Be Jesus’ hand extended.
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