Sunday, April 30, 2017

Discerning the Presence of Evil

Evil’s influence can be lurking in the places where you’d least expect it. Will you be able to recognize it?

April’s Awakening, Day 30

The fiend chooses for his most furious attacks the times when we feel most unable to pray.

 —Nilus Sorsky 

Some years ago in China, at a meeting of missionaries and Chinese pastors, one of the Chinese pastors made a striking address. He said that he and his brethren were more than grateful to those who brought them the word of life and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, but yet, he said, there was one thing more which missionaries should teach their spiritual children. This new thing was to pray with authority, so that they might know how to take their stand in faith before the throne and rebuke the forces of evil, holding steady and firm, and gain the victory over them. That same need is tremendously evident today in the experiences of all that are seeking to walk closely with the Lord, and to stand for Him in the face of increasing opposition. Some have spoken of this as “throne prayer”—praying with one’s hand touching the throne of God.

 —T. Stanley Soltau 

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:21–23 NIV 

            Spiritual oppression can come at us from any direction and in any number of ways—including emanating from those close to us. It is critical to remember that while no demonic spirit can possess a believer (since all believers already have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them), demonic influence from the world is ever present and can influence our thoughts, words, and actions. We must constantly be spiritually aware and in tune with God, and be sensitive to that still, small voice of the Divine Whisper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us. As we become more spiritually in tune with Him, we will become more spiritually discerning.

            Also keep in mind that no demonic spirit can know your thoughts, only God can do that. Nor can any spirit be everywhere at once, but also know that all the fallen angels have significant power, abilities, and intelligence, and they have had thousands of years to accumulate that knowledge. Satan cannot read your mind but he can surely hear everything you’ve said and see everything you’ve done, even in secret, and he has a whole host of demonic spirits under his command (as one-third of all the angels fell and rebelled with Lucifer). We also know from Scripture that although they are spirit beings, angels can, on occasion, take a human-like form and speak directly to us. The most important thing to remember in spiritual warfare is to pray aloud. God can hear your silent pray but the forces of evil cannot. Your spoken words have power to transcend into the heavenly realm, just as the light shining forth from a star millions of light-years from us is still visible. Spoken words are your weapon and God’s Word is supreme. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Satan’s Tactics

He fights ugly and dirty with no holds barred and no rules. Are you ready to take him on?

April’s Awakening, Day 29

Satan cannot deny but that great wonders have been wrought by prayer. As the spirit of prayer goes up, so his kingdom goes down. Satan’s stratagems against prayer are three. First, if he can, he will keep thee from prayer. If that be not feasible, secondly, he will strive to interrupt thee in prayer. And, thirdly, if that plot takes not, he will labor to hinder the success of thy prayer.

 —William Gurnall 

Satan’s tactics seem to be as follows: He will first of all oppose our breaking through to the place of a real living faith, by all means in his power. He detests the prayer of faith, for it is an authoritative “notice to quit.” We often have to strive and wrestle in prayer before we attain this quiet, restful faith. And until we break right through and join hands with God we have not attained to a real faith at all. However, once we attain to a real faith, all the forces of hell are impotent to annul it. The real battle begins when the prayer of faith has been offered.

 —J. O. Fraser 

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8–9 NIV 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV 

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Matthew 7:15 NIV   

            Devour, steal, kill, destroy, lie—these are all what the enemy will bring against you, your loved ones, and your possessions. You must always be watchful, standing firm in your faith, and resist the enemy with your weapon of weapons—the Word of God, just as Jesus effectively resisted him under temptation in the desert. You must be unseverably attached to Christ’s victory and the power of the Holy Spirit within you. You cannot do battle alone. Christ’s blood shed for you cleanses you from every mistake of your past and every mistake in your future—Satan has no viable grounds to condemn or accuse you. The Holy Spirit surrounds you, protects you inside and out, and will assist you in the words of your prayers. And don’t forget you’ve got your guardian angels watching over you too.

            Prepare and have your armor always on. Be firmly connected to Christ and the Holy Spirit within you. Know your enemy and his tactics and use discernment to sense his presence—even as he may speak by influencing others. Know God’s Word and be prepared to use it. Know who you are in Christ and never be shaken. You have the power to defeat the evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realms because His power resides within you.

            One final note—don’t be too quick to ascribe everything that goes wrong or bad to Satan. Still, the greatest enemy you will constantly face is the old self within you—your own bad choices will be reaped with the appropriate consequences. Make sure you do battle with the old and put on the new self in Christ each day.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Know Your Enemy

Do you know who your enemy is and how to spiritually recognize him? Do you have the discernment to sense his presence and know when he is seemingly speaking through others?

April’s Awakening, Day 28

The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints form praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies/work/Christian activity. He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.

 —Samuel Chadwick  

The devil is aware that one hour of close fellowship, hearty converse with God in prayer, is able to pull down what he hath been contriving and building many a year.


Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:7–11 NIV 

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. Ephesians 2:1–2 NIV 

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NIV 

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV  

            Your spiritual enemy is Satan and all the fallen angels under his command—they are the rulers of the kingdom of the air, this world, and the authorities, powers, and principalities are part of Satan’s hierarchy of the evil spiritual forces of this unseen realm. As God is pure light, holiness, and righteousness, by contrast, Satan is pure darkness and evil, and he is also the great masquerader, counterfeiter, and ultimate deceiver. Remember, created as Lucifer, the day star or morning star, he was probably the most beautiful of all God’s created angels, hence he may appear as a beautiful angel of light—one more in his unlimited repertoire of deceptions. [Refer back to January, Day 10 in this devotional, Worship Combats Original Sin, and the Fall of Lucifer, Ezekiel 28:12b–19 and Isaiah 14:12–15, for more on Lucifer’s transformation into Satan.]

            Prepare yourself spiritually, for the pure evil and lying nature of Satan will bring up every sin, mistake, failure, error of judgment, insecurity, doubt, shame, guilt, and every temptation from deep within your past to thwart your efforts. When he brings those to the forefront of your mind you must be ready to stand and counter with the knowledge and fact that you are a beloved child and heir of the King, free from the power of sin, death, and your past, and you are the new creation in Christ. The battlefield of spiritual warfare is a battlefield of the mind—your mind. You conquer by the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and the Holy Spirit within you. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Your Warfare Inner Chamber

Prepare for battle. Strategize in your war room and pray against the spiritual forces of evil and darkness and call forth the light of Christ to shine through in victory.  

April’s Awakening, Day 27

Enter into the inner chamber of you mind. Shut out all things save God and whatever may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door of your chamber, seek him.


Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.

 —D. L. Moody  

It is a basic spiritual truth: words have power!

 Grant Dean, “Practical Step to an Awesome Life through Changing Your Words”

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 NIV 

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, Matthew 14:23 NIV

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 26:41 NIV

            If you’re going to be undertaking spiritual warfare in prayer, it would be good to have a war room for such purposes. This allows isolation of yourself from all the outside distractions. Warfare preparation is key. You should always have your spiritual armor on, and if need be, remind yourself by putting it on again verbally piece by piece (Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes of the Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith, Helmut of Salvation, and grab the Sword of the Spirit—the Word of God, and remember to clothe it all in the armor of Christ’s light). You should always have a Bible with you and it is always good to start with reading a Scripture and meditating on it to hear what the Holy Spirit, the Divine Whisper, is telling you. A great way to prepare your heart for battle is to worship and praise God at this point and thank Him for all He’s done for you and all He’s going to still do. Focus on Christ and the Cross, for He is the Victor and the One who will lead you into battle, and the Holy Spirit is ever present to direct your thoughts and your words. It is also good to keep a journal with you, along with your Bible, so you can write down names and prayer requests and God’s answers to your prayers. This will help to motivate you even more to keep praying as you see God answer—sometimes answers may take a while or be unexpected, but nevertheless, answers and results will come. And now you’re ready to pray and do battle in the spiritual realm.

            Once you’ve become comfortable is this, then eventually you can transfer your physical war room to become a permanent inner chamber of your mind. That way, you are always ready and can pray and do serious spiritual warfare wherever and whenever you are on a moment’s notice as you go about your daily routine. I personally find this most effective because the war room light is always on and prepared for battle—the enemy will never catch you off guard.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Keep the Light On—His Light

There is one more thing you must do after you’ve put on the spiritual armor, before you begin wielding the sword of the Spirit in prayer—clothe yourself in the armor of Christ’s powerful, protective, and penetrating light.

April’s Awakening, Day 26

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.”

 —C. H. Spurgeon 

He that seeks God in everything is sure to find God in everything. When we thus live wholly unto God, God is wholly ours and we are then happy in all the happiness of God; for by uniting with Him in heart, and will, and spirit, we are united to all that He is and has in Himself.

 —William Law 

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:12, 14 NIV   

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3 NIV 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

“How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! Job 29:2–3 NIV

            After you’ve suited up in your spiritual armor, with the sword of the Spirit honed to a fine, sharp edge, then there is one more thing to remember before undertaking intensive prayer in spiritual warfare—put on over everything the armor of His light. There is nothing more important than to live in His light, surround yourself with His light, let your heart burst forth with His light, and speak His light. Remember, in the spiritual realm, only His light will pierce the darkness and make it flee and burst forth with the brilliance of His light. Christ’s light is your force-field shield and the beacon and spot light that blinds the enemy. To be battle-ready, heading into the invisible dark chasms of the evil powers that be, you need His light to always be on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Suit Up

Open your spiritual closet, dust off God’s armor, and put it on. It’s time to be powerful and effective.

April’s Awakening, Day 25

Before the war begins, seek out your ally; before you fall ill, seek out your physician; and before grievous things come upon you, pray, and in the time of your tribulations you will find Him, and He will listen to you.

 —Isaac the Syrian  

It is in the field of prayer that life’s critical battles are lost or won. In prayer we bring our spiritual enemies into the presence of God and we fight them there.

 —J. H. Jowett 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:14–18 NIV 

            Before going into any battle, preparation is necessary and the proper attire and hardware are essential. The Bible describes five pieces of defensive spiritual armor which are required attire to thwart the onslaught of the enemy. In addition to the defensive armor, we have the most powerful weapon to wield both in a defensive fashion and an offensive fashion to take the high ground—the sword of the Spirit, which is the invincible Word of God. But first, let’s suit up in our defensive armor.

            First, put on the belt of truth, buckled firmly around your waist, surrounding you on every side with God’s Truth, His Word. This invisible and impenetrable barrier of His truth must surround you on all sides because the enemy will come from every direction and speaks only lies and distortions. You must know God’s Word and His Truth to effectively resist the lying schemes of the enemy and stand firmly in the truth of His Word.

            Second, put on the breastplate of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness imputed to you, which covers your most vulnerable place of attack—your heart. Your heart is your center and essence of being and it must be covered and protected at all cost. Your righteousness and full forgiveness come from Christ, and the Accuser will come at your heart with every weapon that he has. Guard your heart, the wellspring of your soul, with the knowledge that you are freed from the power of sin and death and there is no condemnation in Christ.

            Third, put on the shoes of the gospel of peace, the Gospel of the knowledge of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The shoes carry you onward at lightning speed to bring forth not only your personal testimony of Christ in your life, but also give you the ability to spread the Good News of Christ to all you can reach. Nothing thwarts the enemy more than spreading the Gospel, and nothing can diminish the power of your personal testimony. Run to win. You have the shoes.

            Fourth, grab the shield of faith, faith and belief in Christ so powerful that no flaming arrow or fiery dart of the evil one can penetrate your presence with any doubt, fear, shame, or worry because your trust is on the firm foundation of His every promise for you. Nothing can sway you, nothing can move you from His hand that firmly holds you and shields you.  

            The fifth, and final, piece of armor to put on is the helmet of salvation, the undeniable assurance that you are a beloved child of the King of Glory and you are going home soon. The helmet covers the other most vulnerable part of you—the head, and every thought and desire and hope. The helmet makes you take every thought captive to be obedient to the mind of Christ. Satan loves to distract you and distort and twist your thoughts to conform to the world or your old self instead of living in the newness of Christ. The helmet is there to protect your mind to keep it in the purity and nobility of your new creation in Christ.

            You’re fully suited up in your spiritual armor and now you grab the ultimate weapon, the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Nothing is more powerful and effective than God’s written Word. With the spoken Word, God brought everything into existence. With it, Christ thwarted the lies and temptations of Satan in the desert. It has the power to heal, cast out demons, bring the dead back to life, and move mountains of obstacles. Know it, love it, speak it, live it. God’s Word is the only weapon you need.

            Finally, pray with the understanding and pray in the Spirit. Prayer, along with the Word of God, is your strategy for combating the enemy and seeing the victorious hand of God move. Remember, Christ already has full victory, we just need to keep reminding Satan and ourselves of that fact. You can run to win, because Christ has already won.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Whole Armor of God

If you’re not wearing the full armor of God continually, you’re blind, naked, and fully exposed to the enemy. Are you going into battle dressed like that?

April’s Awakening, Day 24

In heaven we shall appear, not in armor, but in robes of glory. But here these are to be worn night and day; we must walk, work, and sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ.

 —William Gurnall 

We must engage in spiritual warfare. We must put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:12). We must put to death the misdeeds of the body.

 —John Owen 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10–13 NIV 

            A medieval knight wouldn’t dare go into battle without his full armor on, nor would modern-day military personnel behind enemy lines undertaking guerilla warfare do so without being fully equipped, nor would any professional athlete play the game without full uniform and gear on and in order—yet that is precisely what we as Christian soldiers do every day as we battle the enemy unprepared and unprotected. Your life as a professional believer requires that you be prepared and wear your spiritual armor every day—and sleep with it always on. Most of us go through life spiritually naked and fully exposed to the forces of darkness—ill-prepared and nary a clue—and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s time to suit up. It’s time to do serious battle with the enemy and win—for we wrestle not with the flesh but against Satan, the fallen angels, and the dark forces of evil which permeate this world. Evil never sleeps—and neither can our spiritual defenses—tomorrow we suit up and stay suited up. It’s time to take back the high ground.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Preponderance of the Evidence

How do you plead to the accusation of being a Christian? What will the jury’s deliberation decide? Will you be found guilty? Guilty here would be good.

April’s Awakening, Day 23

If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

 —Author Unknown 


There is no Scripture written on this page, only the Scripture which you have hidden deep within your heart. Your Heart 1:1 (ET—Every Translation)


            What say you? How do you plead? Are you prepared to present your evidence? Who is the first witness you will call to testify on your behalf? Will the preponderance of the evidence definitively assert that you are, in fact, without any reasonable doubt, a Christian?


            When you take the stand and the prosecutor asks you the following questions, how will you respond? Do you believe that you are a sinner? If so, do you believe that you need a Savior? If so, who is your Savior? Do you own a Bible? When was the last time you read it? Do you know and understand what the Bible says and means? Do you know any Scripture by heart? Do you pray? Has anyone ever heard or seen you pray at a meal or in public? Do you go to church? Have you ever gone to church? Have you ever been seen in a church? Have you been baptized? What do Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter mean to you? Can you describe who God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ the Son are? Who is your faith in and why? Are there eye witnesses who have seen or heard your testimony about your faith? Is your life living proof of following the example of Jesus in everything that He portrayed? Do you give any of your time and resources to God? And the questions could go on…


            What say you now? Is there truly enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?


[Please note that not all these are requirements for being a Christian, but they certainly would be good indicators that you are.]


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Saturday, April 22, 2017

No Other

You’ve seen and heard the evidence. What is the choice, what is the decision that you’ve made in your heart?

April’s Awakening, Day 22

If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him” [1 Corinthians 1:30]. If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Hebrews 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [cf. Hebrews 5:2]. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross [Galatians 3:13]; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.

 —John Calvin 

In the cross of Christ I see three things:

First, a description of the depth of man’s sin.

Second, the overwhelming love of God.

Third, the only way of salvation.

 —Billy Graham  

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NIV 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13–14 NIV

            Jesus. Everything in the Bible ultimately points to Him. Everything about Christianity ultimately is concerning Him. Jesus Himself declares He is the only way, the only truth, the only life. There is no other road you can travel nor gate by which you can enter into heaven and the Father’s presence. If there were, then why His suffering sacrifice in the first place?  Jesus isn’t just an option, He’s the only choice. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Two Scarred Hands

The only hands that can pull you through are the two scarred hands of the One who’s gone before you.

April’s Awakening, Day 21

At Calvary we see what sin deserves and what God requires. Calvary was too terrible to be optional, the suffering involved too enormous to be unnecessary, and the Sufferer too precious to his Father to have been given over needlessly to such pain.

 —Peter Lewis 

Christ endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

 —Melito of Sardis

The trouble is, people do not know that Christ is a Deliverer. They forget that the Son of God came to keep them from sin as well as to forgive it.

 —D. L. Moody

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:17 NIV 

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31 NIV 

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17 NIV

            On the hill outside Jerusalem, the place of the skull, Golgotha in the Greek and Calvary in the Latin, Christ’s suffering was complete. In His life and in those final hours, He truly carried upon Himself all the sin, pain, suffering, sorrow, and shame of all those who came before Him and all those who would come after. He was no stranger to the rigors and difficulties of human life, and He experienced in full the worst of everything that we would face. He did it for you and me. He did it because of His unconditional love. He did it because there was no other possible way to mend our relationship back together with God. You can freely call upon His name because He truly knows what you’re going through—He’s been there and overcame it all for you. There is no condemnation in Christ—just His love and understanding and His two scarred hands reaching out to pull you through.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Anointed One, the Christ, the Messiah

Jesus first came to take away your sin. He comes again to bring paradise back to earth. Do you believe He is the One?  

April’s Awakening, Day 20

Jesus has been—declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Holy Spirit, through his resurrection from the dead. In this declaration and appointment—which are beyond historical definition—lies the true significance of Jesus. Jesus as the Christ, as the Messiah, is the End of History; and He can be comprehended only as Paradox … as Victor … a Primal History. As Christ, Jesus is the plane which lies beyond our comprehension.

 —Karl Barth

Let us serve Him faithfully as our Master. Let us obey Him loyally as our King. Let us study His teachings as our Prophet. Let us walk diligently after Him as our Example. Let us look anxiously for Him as our coming Redeemer of body as well as soul. But above all let us prize Him as our Sacrifice, and rest our whole weight on His death as atonement for sin. Let His blood be more precious in our eyes every year we live. Whatever else we glory in about Christ, let us glory above all things in His cross.

 —J. C. Ryle  

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 NIV   

            Messiah in the Hebrew literally means “anointed one,” and the Old Testament, especially in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 11, describes the Messiah as the future King who would come under special anointing to reunite the twelve tribes of Israel and usher in the Messianic Age—a period of leadership and prosperity of Israel and the entire world at peace. The Messiah would be King, on the throne of David, to continue God’s divine leadership promised to David (the Davidic Covenant) that an offspring of David would rule forever on the throne. The Messiah would be of “the root and offspring of Jesse,” (David’s father), and oftentimes the anointed one would be referred to as the “Branch” of Jesse. This is the Messiah that the Jews were looking for—a King to retake control and command of Israel and the entire globe.

            Messiah in the Hebrew is transliterated as “Christ” in the New Testament Greek. So we have Jesus as His given name and Christ is really His title, the anointed one, the Messiah. Jesus often referred to Himself as the “Son of David,” “Son of Man,” and “Son of God,” to identify Himself as the fulfillment of Old Testament Messiah. And in fact, Jesus was of the direct lineage of David, both through Mary, his biological mother traced back to Nathan, one of David’s sons, giving Jesus the legal right to the throne, and through Joseph, as Jesus’s adopting father, tracing back to Solomon, giving Jesus the royal right to sit on the throne. The Book of Matthew traces the royal lineage through Joseph, and the Book of Luke traces the legal lineage through Mary.

            What the Jews missed is that Messiah would come first as the Suffering Servant, the Man of Sorrows, the sacrificial Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world. When Christ comes again at His Glorious Appearing, He then comes as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the King of kings and Lord of lords. The one-thousand-year reign of Christ here on earth, sitting on the throne of David in the temple in Jerusalem, ushers in the Millennium—indeed, that will be the Messianic Age. Jesus is the Anointed One, the Christ, the Messiah—don’t miss it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Love Ran Wild

Love ran wild and even the tombs gave up their dead. Our connection with God—restored.

April’s Awakening, Day 19

The attributes of God were visible in their fullness on the day Jesus died. God’s nature poured out on Golgotha in a cosmic flood of revelation, and the world quaked. Justice was done, mercy was granted, redemption was accomplished, power was displayed, holiness was vindicated, community was reestablished, perfect wisdom was demonstrated, and love ran wild.

 —William R. L. Haley   
God proved his love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died it was God saying to the world—I love you.

 —Billy Graham 

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:45, 50–53 NIV

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. Matthew 28:2–4 NIV  

            We have already witnessed God’s love for us through Christ in this devotional at the end of January and early February—John 3:16–17; John 15:13; and Romans 8:38–39. God gave us His all at the Cross and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. This was no ordinary crucifixion—three hours of darkness upon the land, an earthquake both at the crucifixion and resurrection, the veil of the temple rent into two, and even the dead raised to life. God displayed all His love, in extraordinary ways. “It is finished.” Jesus accomplished everything that needed to be done to restore us back into a relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You are most dearly loved indeed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

To Live For

Perishable is raised imperishable. Dishonor is raised in glory. Weakness is raised in power. The natural body is raised a spiritual body. You are alive and to live for.

April’s Awakening, Day 18

Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God—to be the son, the spouse, the love, the delight of the King of glory? Christian, believe this, and think about it: you will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting—of the love which brought the Son of God’s love from heaven to earth, from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to glory—that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced—which fasted, prayed, taught, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died. That love will eternally embrace you.

 —Richard Baxter

All the kings throughout history sent their people out to die for them. Only one person ever died for their people willingly and lovingly.

 —Dave Brown  

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:12–14, 20–22, 42–44 NIV  

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 1 Corinthians 15:3–7 NIV  

            Christ certainly is risen from the dead and alive. For forty days after His resurrection, before His ascension into heaven, Christ walked this earth and was seen by many individuals on many different occasions. As believers, we can also trust that we will have glorified, resurrection bodies just like Christ. After His resurrection, Christ could eat and drink and could also seemingly appear and disappear without notice and pass through locked doors. A spiritual body indeed, but very physical too. So will it be with us when our salvation is complete at the Rapture, when our body, soul, and spirit will be united together in the air with Christ, with holiness once more a part of us and sealed within us forevermore. We will live forever in our glorified bodies through the Millennium and eternity to come. In the twinkling of an eye—what anticipation awaits that moment—come quickly, Lord Jesus!  

Monday, April 17, 2017

To Die For

You are not an afterthought and you are not a patch-fix. You are to die for.

April’s Awakening, Day 17

Jesus Christ’s claim of divinity is the most serious claim anyone ever made. Everything about Christianity hinges on His incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. That’s what Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter are all about.

 -Luis Palau

If Christ is not the Substitute, He is nothing to the sinner. If He did not die as the Sin-bearer, He has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point nor misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the Deliverer, think they have preached the gospel. If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? If I cast myself into the sea and risk myself to save another, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more? Did He risk His life? The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is THE SUBSTITUTION OF HIMSELF FOR US—HIS LIFE FOR OURS! He did not come to risk His life; He came to die! He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labor, a little suffering; “He redeemed us to God by His blood” (1 Peter 1:18,19). He gave all He had, even His life, for us. This is the kind of deliverance that awakens the happy song, “To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

 —Horatius Bonar  

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:18–21 NIV 

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:22, 26b NIV

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:4b–6 NIV

            Your salvation and reconciliation to God was not an afterthought or a software patch to fix an unforeseen problem. God’s plan of salvation and the sending of Jesus Christ to be the atoning sacrifice on the Cross and to be raised again to everlasting life was in the mind of God before creation itself. The entire Old Testament points to Christ on the Cross. The Ten Commandments were given to show us the sinfulness of sin. The animal sacrifices were to show us that only the shedding of blood could purify one of sin, and that was only temporary. It would take the shedding of the blood of the God-Man, the unblemished Lamb of God, to once for all and forevermore take away sin and death from this world. Christ came for one reason. Christ came to die for you.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Renew My Heart, O God: Daily Devotions for Healing Your Heart by Jeffery...

My Book, "Renew My Heart, O God" is now available online in eBook format! It is available in Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Apple iBook formats for $9.99 in all formats.
Here is my new YouTube short video link produced by my Publisher! I hope you like it and pass the link along!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support and Happy Easter! Christ is risen and alive and well in the hearts of His people and sits at the right hand of God the Father! Amen!
Prayers and blessings,