Getting to Know You

John 14: 9

Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me?

Philip was one of Jesus’ hand-picked apostles. He was on the executive council, if you will, of Jesus’ ministry. He walked, talked and lived with Jesus everyday for three years. They ate together, traveled together and ministered together. One would think that anyone in that position would know Jesus pretty well. None the less, Jesus accused Philip of not knowing him at all. Jesus sounds pretty astonished that they spent so much time together and yet Philip still did not have a revelation of who Jesus was.

Of course, my reaction is if Philip walked daily with Jesus while Jesus was in the flesh, on the planet and didn’t really know him then what chance do I have? The truth is, many of us call ourselves Christians or followers of Christ and yet do not know him very well at all. It should be our goal, though, to become intimately familiar with him. We can do that, you know. Jesus is still very much alive and although he is not here in the flesh he still talks with his people every day.

In many ways we have even more of him now than the apostles did. He has now made our hearts, your heart, his temple. We can, and many do, have daily fellowship with him. Reading Jesus’ words to Philip makes me cringe. I sure don’t want Jesus to say those words to me or worst yet the words he spoke in Matthew 7: 21 – 22: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”.

So what is the point? The point is that we, like Philip, can hang out in all the right places, partake of all the right feasts and rituals and yet come to the end and find that we don’t know Jesus and he doesn’t know us. So how do you get to know Him? Well, John 1: 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So we start with the Word, but you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?  Next, jump over to Joshua 1, verse 8 and see the advice God gave Joshua: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” So, step 2 is to meditate on what you read from the Bible or ponder it, we might say. This really isn’t an intellectual exercise although it may sound like it. We aren’t analyzing, cogitating or thinking about what we have read. It is more like mulling it over, rolling it around inside of you for its deep meaning. Through this process, revelation arises.

And then we should have the word in our mouths. That’s what God said. We speak as he speaks. We keep His words in the forefront of our thoughts and in our heart. Lastly, pray but when I say pray I really mean spend time seeking Jesus. Talk to him as you would a dear friend. Take him with you everywhere you go. Spend the day talking with him and listening to his responses. The more you hear him, the more you will get to know him. Seek him, that is the real key. If you seek him, you will find him. I promise.

The greatest reward of Christianity is getting to know Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. They can become your closest friends if you like and it is nice to know they are always there with you. Don’t get caught out in the cold. Get to know Jesus.

The Word of the Day

John 1: 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It all began with the Word as all epic quests must. The Word is the power, the beginning and the end. If you are going to undertake any grand project may I recommend that you take a page from God’s playbook? Begin with the Word.     

When God initiated His immense project of creating and populating the earth, He began with the Word. The Word was with Him in the beginning and it was through that Word that everything that was created came into being. Salvation began with the Word also since Jesus is the Word. Thus the Word saved us from eternal hell. Healing begins with the Word. “He sent His Word and healed them” (Psalm 107: 20). Everything begins with the Word.

In my dialogue with God this morning He asked me what the Word means to me. “Well,” I said, “it is salvation and mercy and grace and life and ….” Even as I answered though, I could feel that I wasn’t expressing what it really means to me. You see, when I need to reach God I usually meet Him over the Word the way the priests of old used to meet Him over the mercy seat. I heard the father speak to me. “Don’t answer with your mind. Tell me what is in your heart about the Word.” I stopped and regarded my heart and it took only a moment for this one Word to well up within me. “Love. The Word is love.” Today’s verse tells us that the Word is God and we know from 1 John 4: 8 that God is love. Therefore, the Word is love. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3: 16). So it seems that love is the Word and the Word was sent to us to heal us, save us, redeem, restore and help us. Everything that God is, everything that He wants to do for us is embodied in the Word. That is why the Word is so powerful. It is the power of God in the person of Jesus, our Lord and savior.

It grieves me to see the Word given so little attention at times. Christians and even ministers are not clinging to it as we ought even though our destiny is to be wedded to the Word. How is Jesus to come for his bride when we love not His incarnation in and through the Word? We are abandoning our love and as we do we forsake the blessing and authority that is its substance. If you have not given the Word a prominent space in your life then you are depriving yourself of the victory which is the meat of the Word. Our blessed Father is sending His love to us through His Word. He transmits everything we need through the Word which is alive and came into the earth to save us all. You cannot separate Jesus from the Word. Any attempt to do so results in our disabling the power of Jesus in our lives.

Whatever you do, whatever you are given to do, whether the task be gigantic or commonplace, begin it all with the Word. It is the grace for success in your job, business, marriage, relationships with your children, and every other aspect of life. One word from God can (and will) change your life forever. Get into the book and let God speak His words of encouragement and affection to you. Open your heart and let Him speak His Word directly into your heart. It is with your heart that you first accepted the Word, Jesus, into your life unto salvation. Now let Him speak a new word into your life. Whatever you need, He is right there with the Word to bring it to pass. Be blessed; be filled, in the name of Jesus, our Lord.

Life in the Word

John 12: 47 – 50           NIV

“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Jesus’ words bring life to those who find them. Jesus tells us that his father’s command leads to eternal life. Moreover, Jesus said that everything he said came from the father so everything that Jesus ever said leads us to eternal fullness of life. Everything we want, everything we need is fulfilled through Jesus’ word.

It sounds simplistic to say that everything we need can be obtained through the Word until we remember that God created the entire universe with the spoken word. Now He has given us His words. With them there is nothing which is impossible to us. If we are not where we want to be in life, then we need only go to His Word and get more life. Jesus said that he came to bring us abundant life and we know from John 1: 1 that Jesus is the Word. So the Word came to give us abundant life.

Conversely, if we are not living the abundant life, then we have not allowed the life of Christ to fill us and we need to put more of Jesus inside of us by ingesting his word. The Word of God is the seed and the soil is the heart. When we plant his word in our hearts it yields a harvest. If we fail to bear fruit then Jesus need not judge us for we are already judged. The word that he has given us produces life so our lives will show whether we have accepted or rejected Christ’s word.

Do you remember the story of the talents in Matthew 25: 14? The servants were not tasked with safeguarding the master’s assets. The mission is to use the talents God has given us to produce a crop. He has given us his word and it is our job to do something with it. Prepare the soil; till it and pull out the weeds. Then plant the seed. If you will be diligent and faithful at reaping season you will have a bountiful harvest.

Faith in His Glory

Matthew 9: 20 – 22

And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.”  But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.”  And at once the woman was made well.

I believe this is an important recounting of one person’s encounter with Jesus. This event was also recorded by Mark (chapter 5) and by Luke (chapter 8). We see in this encounter that it wasn’t actually Jesus that healed this woman. Jesus said that it was her faith that made her whole. That is a very important lesson. But there is more here than we may at first see.

We learn from Psalm 107: 20 that God sent His word and that the word had the power to heal. We now know from our post-Messiah perspective that Jesus was the Word that God sent (John 1: 1) and that he is our great physician and wonderful healer. None the less, most of us are not walking in perfect health. Many of us have prayed for people who have not manifested their healing or been prayed for ourselves without evidencing the healing truth of Jesus in our bodies. So what is going on here? Why did the woman in this account receive her healing and so many of us fail in receiving ours?

I was praying for someone’s healing this week and something occurred to me as I opened my mouth to pray. It is best framed in this question. What was the faith that the woman in the story demonstrated? Jesus said that it was her faith that made her well so what was that faith? When we pray for others or receive prayer for ourselves we often become very focused on ourselves. We begin focused on the sickness or injury. Then we shift our focus to our faith because we want healing. Then we focus on receiving the blessing, and on and on. The point is that unwittingly we have deviated far from the example of the woman whose faith healed her. I believe the key in her healing is that she had faith in Jesus himself. She said to herself, “If I can but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made well.” The key here is that her eyes were on Jesus. She was fixed on him and his glory. I believe we are spending so much time thinking and worrying about our faith and our receiving that we have actually taken our eyes off of the healer.

I picture this woman of faith on the ground below Jesus looking up at him. She had faith in him. She believed in him. I don’t think she thought that highly of herself. Moreover, I don’t think she had herself on her mind. I believe the crucial point here is that she was absolutely fixated on this man Jesus. She believed there was healing issuing from him such that if she could just touch even the fringe of his garment she would be made well by that anointing emanating from him.

Receiving your healing really ought not to be about anything you have to do. It isn’t as much about your faith and your ability to receive as it is about the glory of the Lord Jesus. When you invited him to make his abode inside of you, he took healing with him. He had no choice, it is part of him. We have separated ourselves so much from the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus that his power is deactivated within us. It is exactly like when he went home to Galilee and could do no miracles there (Matthew 13: 57). He is the same Jesus, the same Christ with the same power. He was able to perform miracles everywhere he went except in his hometown where they did not revere him, where their eyes were not full of the awe and wonder of him. The text in Matthew 13 says that he was without “honor” in his hometown. I believe many of us are experiencing the same thing. We have become a bit complacent in our regard of him. He has, perhaps, become too familiar. He should be your best friend but at the same time we should never lose sight of his majesty and magnificence.

Secondly, our attention and concern with the quantity and quality of our faith has caused us to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on ourselves. We constantly check our hearts and minds looking for evidence of world changing faith. Jesus said we only needed mustard seed faith which is the smallest of all seeds. All we need is just a bit. When we sow that little bit of faith in him and put our eyes on him and stop worrying whether we have enough faith or we have strong enough faith, then there is fullness of faith. It is then that we can see him in his glory and when you really see Jesus for who he is, you have no trouble believing that he can do all things. You won’t even see yourself as a roadblock to his greatness. You will know that he can do all things, even in you. We just have to get a bigger picture of Jesus. We don’t need to worry about who we are or who we are not, what we have or what we don’t have. It really is not about us, our qualifications or knowledge. It is all about him. He is the Lord of glory. He is the Word that our father sent with healing in his hands.

Everything we need for healing, for life, for success in every area of our lives is with us right now. God sent his best and he sent his all. There is nothing that has been withheld. What great news! Now, just let your mind and spirit be filled with Jesus. Look upon him and see the radiance of his visage. The more you fill up on the vastness and greatness of our Father God and our Lord Jesus, the less the damaging effects of this world can impact you. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Fill your mouth with his praises. There are great things for you in his heart. He is the breath you breathe, he is health to your whole body; he truly is all in all. He is the Lord God Almighty to whom no thing is impossible. Selah.