Are We in Need of Heart Surgery?
What is the condition of many people's spiritual hearts today? How many need to be cleansed, repaired, or even replaced?
Luke 1:5-25 clarifies how Elizabeth discovers that she will bring forth a prophet. She was the wife to Zacharias the priest. This youngster will ultimately be known as John the Baptist. Zacharias obtains this information from a holy messenger yet questions because of his old age. Because of his doubt, he is made mute and unable to speak (Luke 1:62). As anticipated, he and Elizabeth consider and anticipate the introduction of their child. This happens a while before a relative of Elizabeth, Mary, receives some significantly serious astonishing news from a holy messenger as well.
One of the more famous predictions of the Old Testament was the case that Elijah would return, preceding the appearance of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). This was attached to the expectation that a prophet would go about as an envoy for the Promised One.
Zacharias, who has recently discovered that he and his wife’s soon to be child will satisfy this job (Luke 1:11-16). After the youngster, later known as John the Baptist, is conceived, Zacharias will refer to this present messenger’s job (Luke 1:76). Strangely enough, Jesus will bring about that this job as Elijah has a contingent perspective.
John the Baptist will not in a real sense be Elijah, as in some type of resurrection (John 1:19-21), yet his job was to be practically indistinguishable from that of Elijah, which was to urge the people to repent from wrongdoing and return back to God. Had the people of Israel completely acknowledged John’s message, he would have satisfied this very purpose.
All things being equal, a great many people would turn from the total truth of the gospel.
John 6:66-67, From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
He prepared the people for the Messiah’s arrival, and he would perform “heart transplants.” John would take the hearts of stone and replace it with a soft heart. He would remove the rigid heart and replace it with a pliable heart. He would take the skeptical heart and replace it for a trusting heart. He would take a closed heart and exchange it for an open heart (Ezekiel 11:18-20; 36:25-29).
Given the circumstances, John’s service would be strong and powerful. His proclaiming would set others up to comprehend the messages that Jesus would teach (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:2-3). Indeed, even after his own death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven (Mark 6:17, 27; Acts 1:8-9), John’s proclaiming would be essential for the early church’s course of evangelism (Acts 13:24-25).
John was to be the extension to the age gap of that time. Our concern today is not so much a large amount of a hole between the grown-ups and the children, however that there is a hole between God and the grown-ups. If the grown-ups had been having an appropriate relationship with God, then there would not be an issue with the children of today. Christians have failed in passing on Christ’s values to the next generation. Due to the ongoing issue of political correctness, Christians have allowed the world (sin) to filter in and contaminate the future generations.
Now, let us take a look at Ezekiel 11:18-20 and 36:25-29.
“One heart” demonstrates a consistent singleness of direction. Never again will God's people look for some divine beings, yet they will be happy with the God. The new heart is an extreme transfer of the hard, blocked, undaunted heart for a delicate, open, and responsive heart.
The Holy Spirit is the only one that can craft this new life. It is God’s work, yet we should perceive our wrongdoing and abandon it. At the point when we do, God gives us new thought processes, new rules, and a new objective. Have we really accepted our new heart?
God guaranteed the Israelites that He would reestablish them, physically as well as in spiritually also. To achieve this, He would give them another heart for following Him and He would put His Spirit inside them (Ezekiel 11:19-20; Psalm 51:7-11) to change them and to enable them to do His will. Again, He promises another covenant (Ezekiel 16:61-63, 34:23-25), that will eventually to be satisfied in Christ. Regardless of how sullied our life is at this moment, God offers us a new beginning. We can have our transgressions washed away, get another heart for God, and encapsulate His Spirit assuming that we acknowledge his promise. If we can have a new life, why would we want to try to just attempt to fix up our previous lifestyle?
Are we truly open to God as we ought to be? Do we need our heart changed? We are to remember and proclaim that Christ is the true heart surgeon.
Isaiah’s perspective on God in the initial four verses gives us a feeling of God’s significance, power, and mystery. Isaiah's case of perceiving his sin before God urges us to admit our own wrongdoings.
The image of absolution that Isaiah gives advises us that we are pardoned as well. At the point when we perceive how incredible God is, how guilty we are, and the degree of his absolution, we get the strength to accomplish his work. How does our idea of the significance of God match Isaiah's?
In verses 1-4:
The elevated throne, the heavenly messengers, and the triple “holy” focused-on the holiness of God. During a time when spiritual and moral indifference had arrived at their pinnacle, it was significant so that Isaiah might see God’s holiness. Holiness implies perfect morality, unadulterated, and put aside from all transgression. We really need to rediscover the holiness of God. Our everyday encounters, society’s tensions, and our inadequacies diminish and limit our perspective on God. The Bible’s perspective on God as high and lifted up, is what we need to lift us out of our concerns and daily issues. The moral perfection of God, when seen appropriately, decontaminates us from wrongdoing, scrubs our minds from our concerns, and empowers us to venerate and to serve him.
Isaiah’s vision was his call to be the courier of God’s message to the Israelites. Isaiah was given a troublesome mission. He needed to let the individuals, who believed that they were God’s honored and blessed, that God planned to obliterate them due to their rebellion. Just imagine their thought process when they would hear Isaiah speak of the chastisement to come.
The seraphim are angelic beings made by God. This is the only spot in the Bible where they are referenced. Here they work as God's operators in commissioning Isaiah. Isaiah could comprehend them when they addressed him and when they praised God. Since they drifted above God's throne, they may have been God’s attendants. They were striking and amazing creatures, and their singing shook the Temple.
In verse 5:
The Common Man:
To be common is to be unclean, unworthy, with no hope, sinful, deceitful, low in ranking, impure, and/or guilty. Listening in to the recognition of the holy messengers, Isaiah acknowledges he was common and unclean before God, with no hope for matching God's standard of blessedness. Were we not all common before accepting Christ as our personal Savior? Are our lives so important that we are to be placed upon some high pedestal above all other people?
In verses 6-7:
The Cleansed Man:
To be set apart, free from blemish, rid of corruption & impurities, or free of guilt. At the point when his lips were contacted with a burning coal, he was informed that his sins were pardoned. It was not the coal that purged him, yet God. Were any of us holy before we met God? Were we not all dirty with sin? Are any of us still stained with sin? Should we not seek cleansing?
Church Hymnal, page 368, “Nothing But the Blood”
What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
In verse 8:
The Called Man:
To be summoned, an invitation, a command, or a divine vocation. Accordingly, he submitted himself altogether to the service of God. Regardless of how troublesome his assignment would be, he stated, “here am I, send me.” The difficult purifying procedure was vital before Isaiah could satisfy the undertaking to which God was calling him. Has God called us for a purpose, to do a task, to do a specific job? Have we acknowledged that calling? Have we responded to that calling?
Before we acknowledge God's call to represent him to the people around us, we should be purged as Isaiah was. Letting God decontaminate us might be excruciating; however, we should be refined with the goal that we can genuinely be a spokesperson for God, who is holy and pure.
In verse 11-13:
The Continual Man:
To be constant, perpetual, unfailing repetition to endure. How long must I endure? How long must I work? We are to continually work until the task is complete. Have we become lazy and quit working? Have we given up? Have we said to ourselves that the job is too hard? Do we have the strength and the fortitude to continue? If not, then why not? Have we asked Christ to give us the strength? Have we not asked for his guidance?
God disclosed to Isaiah that the individuals would listen, yet they would not learn from his message on the grounds that their hearts had hardened past repenting. God's understanding with their incessant resistance was finally depleted, and his judgment was to desert them to their wickedness. For what reason did God send Isaiah if he knew the individuals would not listen?
Although the country itself would not apologize and would harvest judgment, a few people would listen. In verse thirteen, God clarifies his plan for a remainder of steadfast followers. Indeed, even in judgment God is kind. We can attain consolation from God's promise to save his people. If we are dedicated to God, we can be certain of his benevolence.
When might the people begin to listen to God? Simply after they had reached the end and had no place to turn yet to God. his would happen when the land was wrecked by attacking armed forces and the people taken into imprisonment. The “tenth” alludes either to the people who stayed in the land after captivity, or the people who came back from Babylon to rebuild the land. Each gathering was about a tenth of the total populace.
When will we listen to God speak to us? Must we experience disasters before we will begin listen to God's words like what had happened to Judah? We need to consider what God might be saying to us and obey him before it is too late.
Church Hymnal, page 157, “Trust and Obey”
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Do We Have a Vision of Goodness?
Are we focused just on what and who is inside our church doors? Or are we looking, searching and sharing what we have with others so that they may come in?
In this context, vision alludes to the disclosure (prophesy) that the prophets would obtain from God. Where there is obliviousness of God, sin and crime go out of control. The public moral compass of society relies upon the knowing God’s directions, yet it likewise relies upon individuals keeping God’s laws. All together for nations and people to work and function well, individuals should know God's methodologies and keep his standards.
How are people to have vision? By not walking in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standing with them, but by delighting in God’s Word and meditating on it every day.
We should avoid the relationship of taunting sinners, in order for us to acquire the joy of the Lord. We should similarly search for an understanding of God through His Word.
We can sort out some way to follow God by reading and thinking (meditating) about God’s Word. Thinking about what we read suggests contributing energy examining and mulling over what we have read. It suggests asking ourselves how we should change so we live as God desires. Knowing and pondering God’s Word are the underlying pushes toward applying it to our regular routines. To follow God significantly and more eagerly, we ought to understand what he is saying to us.
What does it mean to have no vision?
Having no vision could mean that someone cannot physically see with their eyes. That means that the person is blind, and blindness is being in the dark. If a person is blind, then that person may need to be guided by someone else, meaning that they must have help to walk around and they may need help with their daily living routine. Some people may have eyesight, but their eyesight is so bad that the eyes do not work well, their eyes cannot focus clearly, and prescription eyewear does not help.
Spiritually speaking, individual vision is a person’s own understanding of the Word of God. During the time of the judges, no prophets were speaking God’s messages. Some refused to listen to God, which allowed greed to get in the way. However, listening and responding is necessary for a relationship with God. We must be ready to listen and to act.
Church vision is based upon the local church assembly or church body. Church vision should include reach the lost people, those that do not know Christ as their Savior. Church vision should include caring for the people reached. Church vision should include training fellow believers and getting people to work.
A church without a vision is never going to grow.
It has been said that the people who look for problems are certain to track them down. It is similarly a fact that the people who honestly look for the good in life will find it. In the everlasting sense, this is in every case a valid truth. The people who really want to know and comprehend God will acknowledge him in confidence. The individuals who reject Him will, at last, be in a condition of timeless ruination.
In the event that we search for the positive qualities in others’ daily routines or look for ways of improving their lives, we will obtain favor from both God and man. Nevertheless, those who search for trouble will obtain misery or misfortune. The farmer who keeps his grain to sell it at indecent costs when the public's need is precarious will fall into the public’s disapproval. But the opposite is true if he were to respond in a positive common decency manner. Those that previously disapproved of the farmer would in turn will respect him assuming that he sells without any considered delay until he can correct a more exorbitant cost.
Since Jesus consistently did what satisfied his Father, we read in Luke 2:52, “and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” His quest for the things of God brought him into goodness. Caleb was eighty-five when he asked for the hill nation of Hebron as his legacy, and Joshua allowed Caleb's solicitation since he “wholly followed the Lord God of Israel” (Joshua 14:6-14). Psalm 84:11 states, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Troublemakers can anticipate just a burden as the regular outcome of their abhorrent mentality and activities.
In the business realm:
Vision Statement: (Desired End-State) A one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from an organization or program’s work.
The vision statement is the inspiration and the framework for all the strategic planning. What we are doing when creating a vision statement is articulating the dreams and hopes for the business. A vision statement for an organization or association centers around the potential intrinsic in the organization's future; it is with regards to what they expect to be. It is the anchor point to the company strategic plan. It outlines what that organization would like to achieve.
There is an old church hymnal song, “Bring Them In”
Hark! ‘Tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear,
Out in the desert dark and drear,
Calling the sheep who’ve gone astray,
Far from the Shepherd’s fold away.
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring them in from the fields of sin.
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
Who’ll go and help this Shepherd kind,
Help Him the wandering ones to find?
Who’ll bring the lost ones to the fold,
Where they’ll sheltered from the cold?
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring them in from the fields of sin.
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
Out in the desert hear their cry,
Out on the mountains wild and high.
Hark! ‘Tis the Master speaks to thee,
“Go find My sheep where’er they be.”
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring them in from the fields of sin.
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
So, with those thoughts in mind, what is the vision of the individual Christian? What is the vision of the local church body or even globally for that matter? Does the church have a vision to see souls saved? Does the church have a vision to win the lost? Or is the church only focusing on building the church building bigger to house more people? Is the church looking to grow in physical numbers rather than in spiritual numbers? Are members of the church too busy trying to line their own pockets or to make sure that the local church body is “feeling well” instead of looking to bring others to Christ?
This is another case of what Christians are supposed to do when they face a problem and what some might do. How Christians handle deal with a trouble can either positively or negatively affect others.
Trust and thanksgiving are the primary topics in Psalm 46. It starts with solid commendation for the strength of God and his accessibility. It proceeds with the affirmation that the country of Israel need not dread, regardless of whatever happens. Despite of how anybody may seethe, or endeavor, the psalm pronounces that God will one day judge humankind and put a final end to war. The psalm closes as it started by trusting in the Lord of hosts, since he is with them as their safe, invincible Protector.
Psalm 46:1-7 presents the subject of confidence and trust in God. He is Israel's defender, and he is available at whatever point the individuals of Israel need Him. The Israelites can trust and confide in him paying little mind to whatever occurs. Neither regular catastrophes nor the danger of other countries can shake God's people, since they have a bountiful stock of the presence of the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob.
In verses 1-3:
The dread of mountains and urban communities out of nowhere disintegrating into the ocean because of an atomic impact frequents numerous individuals today. Yet, the psalmist says that regardless of whether the world ceases, we need not dread. Notwithstanding utter annihilation, he communicated calm trust in God's capacity to save him. It may appear to be difficult to think about the apocalypse unafraid, however the Bible is clear, God is our shelter even with complete annihilation. He is not just an impermanent retreat; he is our endless sanctuary and can give strength in any situation.
The expression "a very present help in trouble" profits a more profound review. The idea of God being "very present" could likewise be expressed as "our God is in all things" (Deuteronomy 4:7). Previous encounters, including history, show that God is deserving of our trust (Hebrews 12:1). Christians today might feel caught in difficult spots. Like the Jews that were assaulted by the Assyrians, the best game-plan is to confide in the Lord to deal with the circumstance. He has done it previously, and he can do it again whenever the need arises.
In verses 4-5:
Numerous large cities have rivers moving through or near them, supporting the lives of the inhabitants by making agribusiness conceivable and working with exchange with other cities. Jerusalem had no waterway, yet it had God who, like a river, brought life to the land. However, as long as God resided with people, the city was invulnerable. Yet when they deserted him, God ceased to protect them, and Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonian army.
Empowering proclamations in the Psalms are inclined to being taken outside any connection to the subject at hand. Verse five is a typical illustration of this. The expression "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved" is consistently applied to support ladies in troublesome conditions. But the “her” referenced here is the city of Jerusalem, not a woman (Psalm 46:4). It is suitable to be energized while perusing this refrain, realizing that God's solidarity secures the individuals who honor Him (Exodus 20:6). However, it is not a reference to women or any specific woman. Instead, this assertion is essential for Israel's acclaim for God's liberation (Psalm 46:1-3).
In verses 6-11:
War and annihilation are inescapable, yet so is God's last triumph. Around then, all will be still before Almighty God. How appropriate is it for us to be still currently, respectfully, and reverently honoring God and his majesty and power? We should take the time every day to be still and worship and give thanks unto God.
Christians need to avoid faulty ways of dealing with trouble. Do not hold God responsible. Do not resort to resentment. Do not surrender to self-pity. Do not escape through some type of anesthesia (drugs, alcohol, etc.).
Christians should face trouble with faith. Trust in the goodness and in the power of God. Discover and depend on God’s promises. Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive others. And always search for the good in life.
Christians should develop a plan for enduring the pain of trouble by searching through God’s Word, listening for God’s voice, giving praise to God and be thankful of the blessings that we have, recognize God’s angels that are around us, grow our faith and trust in God, and let a Christian friend be a friend.
God is always there to assist us, offering safety, peace, and refuge. God’s power is unending, and the victory has already been won. Those who love Him will be rescued by Him.
What Christians are supposed to do when they face a problem and what some might do are two separate issues. How Christians handle themselves can either have a positive or a negative effect on others.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of Persia, Artaxerxes. He was a man of God and was a trusted advisor to the king. Many decades prior, Zerubbabel was able to get the Jerusalem Temple rebuilt. Some years later, Ezra had returned to Jerusalem to help with the spiritual needs of the people. Now it was time for Nehemiah to help. The walls of Jerusalem were still in disrepair. In chapter 1, Nehemiah had heard about the condition of Jerusalem and prays for the Jewish people.
In verses 1-4:
So now Nehemiah prepares to stand in the Presence of the earthly king. He tells how he had never shown his emotions before. As a courtier, it was not allowed to show one’s inner personal feelings in front of the king. No one wearing clothes of mourning could enter the royal palace (Esther 4:2). What a joy and relief to know that at any time we can go before God’s throne of grace with our Petitions?
The king realizes that something is wrong with Nehemiah. He comments that he could see that Nehemiah was not sick. Nehemiah was somewhat scared because he knew it was dangerous showing his sadness in front of the king. However, he knew that God had called him to do something.
We do not need to let our fears control us. By doing so we make our fears come in front of God. We need to recognize that God is stronger than our fears and when He has called us to do something, He will help us in doing that task.
Nehemiah tells the king why he has been so sad. The king tells Nehemiah to make his request known to him. The first thing Nehemiah does is Pray to God, silently of course, in front of the king. There are other times within the book of Nehemiah where he prays to God spontaneously (Nehemiah 4:4-5, 9; 5:19; 6:14; 13:14, 22, 29). He knew that God is always available, and that God is always in control. he knew he could talk to God at anytime because he had established a close relationship with God.
We Christians should have that same type of relationship with God in our lives today as Nehemiah did then.
In verses 5-8:
Now Nehemiah gets to the Point. He requests Permission from the king. He asks to leave his current Position and asks for Provisions to go to Jerusalem. After Nehemiah got a Positive answer from the king, he asks for extra help.
There are and will be times when we will have a task. That task may be a bit more than we think we can handle. We need not be afraid in requesting help from God. He will Provide it in one form or fashion. He always has, He always will.
In verses 9-11:
The king gives Nehemiah some letters to Present to governors and he gives him soldiers as a military escort for Protection. We may not need a military or police escort, but it is good to know that God can supply that as well for us. Upon arriving, Sanballat and Tobiah seem a bit apprehensive on hearing about Nehemiah’s arrival.
For many years prior, there had always been some type of opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem, and that is what the devil does to those who are out doing God’s work. Satan tries to hinder God’s chosen people in every way from completing the tasks that are set before them. Sometimes the devil may even try to use our own family and friends to keep us or hinder us from doing what God has called us to do. We must remember that God always Provides a way.
It is unclear as to why Sanballat and Tobiah were against the rebuilding. Maybe it was due to bad relations with the Samaritans from years prior during the time of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:2). It could be that because Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer and advisor, and that rebuilding Jerusalem could threaten the Samaritan official’s authority there. Or it could be that Sanballat, and Tobiah did not want more Jewish people moving into the land and potentially taking over. But whatever the reason, we know that it did not affect Nehemiah’s Persistence.
In verses 12-16:
Nehemiah sees the Problem as he inspects the wall secretly at night. He realizes the state that the walls are in and how the gates had been burned. He did not tell anyone when he was going to do his own inspection. Apparently, he did not trust any report that might have been given so he wanted to see it for himself. There are times when making a firsthand assessment is more valuable than obtaining a report. It allows us to visually consider the situation so that we can make an unbiased determination into what needs to be done.
In verses 17-20:
Nehemiah now calls the people together. He gives his Plans on how the rebuilding should be done. He encourages the people by telling them how the hand of God is with them and to what the king had said. Others were Patronizing toward Nehemiah. Sanballat and Tobiah laughed and ridiculed them. But what was Nehemiah’s reply? God will Prosper His people, but sinners will have no Portion in it.
When God gives us a task or vision to do something that will bring glory to Him, do not be afraid of letting others know about it. We should trust the Holy Spirit to plant the seed in others. Often, God uses one person to inspire others to work in reaching God’s goals for the church body that will glorify Him, not ourselves. We should expect some to oppose us but be Prepared rather than being surprised.
Where are we in our walk with God? Has He shown us something that my need to be repaired? It might not be something physical, as a wall or a building, but rather something spiritual within the local body of believers that we are serving in. when Christians hinder other believers from working or doing what God has called that person to do, it can damage that person’s spiritual growth or others when they see it happening. We are to uplift one another and Pray for one another.
We all have one or more or more spiritual gifts or talents. If we are the cause or hinderance of someone utilizing his or her spiritual gifts, it can also bring reproach upon ourselves while also causing discouragement and discontentment to others. Our actions in this regard show a lack of spiritual maturity in the one doing the hindering.
How do we apply this to what Christian's face today? Spiritual renewal can begin with one-person obeying God’s call. God can use one person to encourage others to bring something to fruition. That is what is called teamwork put into action to accomplish a Plan that God has in store for a body of believers.
2 Chronicles 20:15-17
How do we fight when we see that an enemy is so great? How do we let go and not fight when we feel that we must? Our message today comes from during a time when Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, saw a great multitude come against him and the people of Judah. Jehoshaphat called to the people to get serious with God and fast. They were to consider their sins and pray. This would reinforce their penitence and remind them of their weakness and their need to depend on God.
The prayer had essential ingredients:
The prayer committed the situation to God. It acknowledged that only God could save them. The prayer sought God’s favor. It acknowledged God’s sovereignty. The prayer praised God’s glory. The people professed dependence upon God for deliverance and their prayer focused on God’s power and not their own.
As the enemy came at them, God spoke through the prophet:
As the adversary overwhelmed Judah, God talked through Jahaziel, “Be not afraid…for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). They were told to set themselves and to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. They were also told not to fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord would be with them (2 Chronicles 20:17).
In Exodus 14:13, “…fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” the people were antagonistic and hopeless, however Moses urged them to watch the formidable way that God would protect them. Moses had an uplifting perspective. At the point when they thought that may get caught, Moses called upon God to help them. We may not be pursued by a military force, however we might in any case feel as if we may get caught. Rather than yielding to surrender, we ought to embrace Moses' demeanor to be standing still and watch for the salvation of the Lord.
When David faced Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45, 47, he said, “…but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts…for the battle is the Lord’s.”
When the Assyrian army invaded Judah, Hezekiah used his eyes of faith to see. The quantity of his adversaries made truly little difference as long as he was on the Lord's side. Triumph is “not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). Hezekiah could unhesitatingly energize his men since he felt undoubtedly sure about where he remained with God. Could it be said that we are on the Lord's side? We may never confront an adversarial armed force, however the struggles that we face consistently can be won with the strength of God.
How do we let God fight for us?
How would we allow God to battle for us? We do this by understanding that the fight is not our own, yet God's, by perceiving our human limitations, and by permitting God's solidarity to deal with our feelings of trepidation and shortcomings. We can ensure that we are seeking after God's inclinations and not just our own self-centered wants, and by asking God for help in our day-by-day struggles.
Although we may not battle an armed adversary force, we consistently fight against earthly temptations, and “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12) who want us to oppose God. Keep in mind, as Christians, we have the spirit of God within us. On the off chance that we request God's assistance when we are confronting spiritual battles, God will fight the battle for us. Furthermore, God always wins.
Every day we battle against temptations, pressures, and rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12) that wants believers to rebel against God. Romans 7:15, ‘For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but that which I hate, that do I.’ We have God’s spirit within, and as we face struggles, He will fight for us if we ask.
Wherever and whatever the battle is within our lives, we should remember that he is with us always (Matthew 28:20). The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He is our light and salvation (Psalms 27:1). We are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10), and we must remember that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).
2 Chronicles 7:14
God’s chosen people are to be His representatives on Earth. But they often stumble blindly after idols when they forget the truth and their calling. As long as Israel obeyed God, He had made a covenant with them, promising to take care of them and bring them prosperity. In addition, He stated that if they did not comply, He would curse them. There was a direct correlation between their obedience and prosperity and their disobedience and hardship due to the covenant relationship. Unfortunately, many Christians of today frequently resemble the “Chosen” in the Bible.
Solomon had approached God to plan for the people of Israel for when they had sinned. God replied with four conditions for pardoning:
A genuine apology is more than talk, it is a changed conduct. Regardless of whether we sin independently, as a gathering, or as a country, abiding by these four steps will prompt absolution. God will answer our sincere petitions.
Nobody is perfect except God. No one is exempt from sin; it is a condition that we all share. We all stand liable before him (Romans 3:23) and need his pardoning. We should eagerly come to Jesus when we realize that we have sinned. Just knowing that we have the capacity to sin should give us the desire to seek God’s guidance and strength.
Regardless of how well we perform or what we might accomplish contrasted with others, not even one of us can flaunt their goodness when contrasted with God’s norm. God anticipates that we should not only submit to his rules, however he wants us to cherish him with our entire existence. Nobody aside from Jesus Christ has done that flawlessly. Since we as a whole miss the mark, we should go to Jesus to save us.
There are three things that we all should have within us, hunger, honesty, and humility.
We should have a hunger for God.
Do we know what true spiritual hunger is? Do we hunger for God like we hunger for food and water? (bacon) Do we have a passion for Christ like we have a passion for football? As the existence of a deer relies on water, our lives rely on God. The people who look for him and long to understand and comprehend him will find eternal life.
If we have a spiritual hunger, we should be seeking God. Just like when our stomach growls for something to eat when we are physically hungry, our spirit should be hungry for the Lord. Just having small bits here and there do not satisfy. How often do we wonder through the house, aimlessly? It seems like we are dissatisfied, agitated, or anxious? When was the last time we sat at the spiritual table and had a MEAL?
We should be honest with God.
Do we truly open ourselves to God and expose our sins? We must know that we cannot hide our sins. We must be open and submit to God. Do we know what it is in our heart? We should tell the Lord how we feel and what we think and be ready to hear the Lord speak to us. We must never forget to give God praise.
At the point when Jesus utilized the image of his disciples taking up their crosses to follow him, the disciples knew what he implied. Torturous killing, via crucifixion, was a typical Roman strategy for execution. Sentenced lawbreakers needed to help their own cross as they walked through the roads to the site of their execution. Along these lines, following Jesus implied a genuine dedication, and with the possibility of death, and no retreating or turning back.
We are to keep in our minds the things that will show up in our words and actions, truth, honesty, pure, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. We need to examine what we put in our minds through books, music, television, and the internet. We should be removing the harmful negative material and replacing it with godly material. Lest we forget, we are to be reading God’s Word daily.
By human nature, we have a natural capacity to sin. Unless we have accepted Christ as our personal Savior, the sin nature has not been eliminated.
We should humble ourselves before God.
David had asked God to search for any sin and point it out. When God points out our sin then we are to repent. But we must be humble to God and submit to his divine surgery of our hearts. We must realize that we are unclean in the presence of God’s holiness. We may need to go through a painful cleansing before we are prepared to perform a task.
Humbling ourselves means that we are to recognize we are only worthy through Christ. Our independent nature and abilities do not give us strength, only through the power of Christ are we worthy. In spite of the fact that we do not merit his approval, he contacts us in affection and gives us dignity and worth, regardless of our human weaknesses.
Revival in our land can only come from a revival in our personal lives. Everyone that professes Christ as their personal Savior need to seek repentance for themselves, then they can pray and seek repentance and forgiveness in their families, and in their churches. Only then will it be able to grow into a community wide revival across the land.
To have revival within our hearts, our minds, and in our lives, it can only happen by having a Humble Heart and a Holy Hunger while being in Persistent Prayer. This will lead to a Radical Repentance.
How Are We to be Servant Leaders?
In this passage of Scripture, Mark is telling us what Jesus teaches about serving others. This concurs with the story in Matthew 20:20-28. Mark records that John and James went to Jesus with their appeal; in Matthew, their mother likewise made the petition. There is no logical inconsistency in the records, the mother and her sons were in arrangement in mentioning respected positions in Christ's Kingdom.
In verses 35-37:
The apostles, as most Jews of that day, had the incorrect thought of the Messiah's Kingdom as anticipated by the Old Testament prophets. They believed that Jesus would set up a natural realm that would liberate Israel from Rome's persecution, and James and John wanted regarded places in it. However, Jesus' Kingdom is not of this world; it is not fixated in royal residences or on high pedestals, yet in the hearts and lives of his supporters. The disciples did not comprehend this until sometime after Jesus' restoration.
In verses 38-40:
James and John said that they were able to confront any trial or tribulation for Christ. Both would indeed suffer: James suffered martyrdom (Acts 12:2), and John was banished, forced to live someplace far off (Revelation 1:9). It is not difficult to say that we will languish anything over Christ, but a large portion of us grumble over the most minor disturbances. Assuming that we would say that we will endure suffering largely for Christ, we should likewise expect to experience the small disturbances that accompany serving others.
Jesus did not criticize James and John for asking, however he denied their petition. We can go ahead and ask God for anything, yet our prayer might be denied. God wants to give us what is best for us, not just what we want. He denies a few supplications for our benefit.
In verses 41-45:
James and John wanted the most noteworthy positions in Jesus' Kingdom. However, Jesus let them know that genuine significance comes from serving others. Peter, who was one of the disciples, had heard this message, and he expounded on it in 1 Peter 5:1-4.
Most organizations, associations, and establishments measure significance by personal accomplishments and achievements. In any case, in Christ's Kingdom serving others is the method for excelling. If we are longing to be on top, that will ruin us, not help. Rather than trying to have our requirements met, we should search for ways that we can serve the necessities of others. (Luke 22:25-26)
A ransom was the value paid to deliver a slave. Jesus paid the ransom for us since we were unable to pay it ourselves. His passing set us all free from the bondage to sin. The disciples felt that Jesus' power and his life would save them from Rome; Jesus said that his passing would save them from their transgression, which was a considerably more prominent subjugation than Rome's. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
So, what does this mean?
Jesus portrayed leadership according to another viewpoint because the leadership system of the world is altogether different from the Kingdom's. Jesus' central goal was to serve others and to part with his life. Worldly leaders are regularly egotistical and presumptuous as they grapple their direction to the top. Yet, among Christians, a good leader is to be the person who serves best. Rather than utilizing individuals, we are to serve them.
There are various styles of leadership. Some lead through speaking publicly, some through directing, and some through connections. However, all Christian leaders need a servant’s heart. A decent Christian leader respects and appreciates other peoples' worth and understands that he is not above them or doing any menial work. Assuming we see something that should be done, we ought not stand by and wait for someone to ask us to do it. We can step up to the plate and do it like a good and faithful servant. We can likewise ask individuals that we know how we can better serve them.
Numerous Christians have squandered years attempting to no end to satisfy others when they might have been undeniably more useful living as God had planned them to live. This does not imply that we are to do something rash or without some kind of counsel. We really ought to put out our fleece and look for affirmation from God first.
Servant Leadership requires a person to have compassion.
A servant leader must have the desire to take care of those who follow him. There is a story in Mark 1:29-34, where Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-17; Luke 4:38-41) and many other people. We notice that Jesus “came and took her by the hand and lifted her up.” Jesus could have told the disciples to help her up, but this was personal for him, he went to her himself. We will also notice that after Jesus healed her, “she ministered unto them.”
Servant Leadership requires a person to be disciplined.
Solitude was important for the Lord (Matthew 14:23). He made room in his clamoring day to be isolated from every other person and be with the Father. Putting energy with God in prayer and petition upholds a basic relationship and sets us up to address life's hardships and struggles. We need to cultivate the control of contributing energy alone with God. It will help us with growing in a profound way and become progressively more like Christ. Jesus even started early in the morning (Mark 1:35), and sometimes that is the best time of day because of the quietness.
Servant Leadership requires a person to be faithful.
Jesus tells the parable of the growing seed in Mark 4:26-29. This is a parable about the Kingdom of God, recorded distinctly in Mark, uncovers that spiritual development (growth) is a constant, slow cycle. Afterwards, the harvest of spiritual growth is at long last culminated. We can comprehend the course of spiritual development by contrasting it with the slow process of a growing plant. We may not see how the plans that God makes work; however, we do realize that God is dependable. We can realize that as we faithfully lead others, God will favor the endeavors of our initiative. We may not generally win as the world accepts how winning ought to be, yet as we plant the seed of goodness, the harvest will come. Servant Leaders are called to be unwavering and to faithfulness. (John 4:35; Matthew 9:37-38)
Am I Using Faulty Tools?
2 Kings 6:1-7
The simple things or actions during our Christian walk of faith are just as important as with the things that seem major.
Elisha has now succeeded Elijah as a prophet to the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 2:1-18). He has by now already prophesied and God has performed a few miracles through him. But now we will see something peculiar, he makes an axe head float. This situation shows how God cares for His children and how He can provide for them in the little things of life. We also learn of Elisha’s interaction with everyday people. We cannot forget where we came from and do not become so engaged with the act of service that we forget the reason and to whom we serve.
In verse 1-3:
Here we see a few students (sons of prophets). The students wanted to go build a new place to study in because where they were at was beginning to get too small. This may be due to an increase in the number of students. They even decided to build the new school themselves. Not only that, but they also wanted Elisha to go with them.
So, what does these few verses tell us? Well, I do not know for certain, but I would think that Elisha was a teacher here (2 Kings 4:38) and it seems that he was somewhat popular because the students wanted him to go with them as they built a new school. These men were willing to work and not just sit idly by and wait for a new school to be built. There is work that needs to be done in the service for the Lord. Not all of us will do the same type of work, but we all have our part in God’s service.
His popularity may have come from the miracles that had been performed and the people could tell that he was a man of God. He not only showed this in his speech but in his daily walk. It would behoove many professing Christians today to not only talk the talk but to walk the walk more so.
In verses 4-7:
There are quite a few questions that will be asked during this next section. We see that as they came to Jordan, they began to labor. But suddenly, one man’s axe head came off the handle and fell into the water. He started stressing, “What am I to do?” Was it because it was not his tool? Why did he borrow it anyway? Did he not have his own tools? Being as he was a student, I would suspect that the man could not afford to have much. Or maybe, someone saw something in the man and trusted him with the tool.
Why did axe head fall off? Were the tools not properly prepared or was it just a coincidence? Where did it fall? What happened after it fell off, the work stopped. The man then calls for Elisha. The man knew to who to call for. Does the scripture say anything about Elisha rebuking the student for being careless or for not having his own tool? No, he simply went to help. What a miracle to happen. God looks at the small things just as much as the big things.
You see, the axe head laid on the bottom of the river. It was raised up, restored, replaced, and then put back to work again. If we look at this another way, Elisha reaches down, places a stick in the water, which compels the axe head to come forth, it was fixed and was ready to be used. That is what Christ has done for us. We were down in the mire, we were dirty, we were filthy, and we were uncleaned. Christ gave Himself for us so that we could be made clean.
What do we do when something like this happens to us? Has God trusted us with heavenly tools to use for His service? Have we taken care of them? Christians, what have we done with the tools God has graced us with? We need to recognize that we have lost it, pray, and go back to where we lost it. Seek guidance from a spiritual mentor, ask for someone to help us pray.
We need to get our assignment in alignment with God’s direction. We need to get ourselves in alignment for our assignment.
God made the iron to swim (axe head). Christians need to learn to sharpen our axe, learn to hold on and have a better grip. When we recognize that we have lost it, we should get on our knees and not the telephone, go back to where we lost it, and maybe find a spiritual leader. Man is like an axe head; he can slip off the handle and fall into muddy waters. Elisha used a stick; cast it in the river to bring the axe head up. Christ hung on a cross to lift us up.
The occurrence of the floating axe head is recorded to demonstrate, even in seemingly insignificant occurrences of daily life, God’s care, and provision for those who trust Him. God is always available. This miracle, which occurs in Scripture between the deliverance of Israel’s army and the healing of a Syrian general, also demonstrates Elisha’s personal contact with the students studying to become prophets. Elisha was revered by kings, but he never forgot to take care of the faithful. Our concern for the needs of other people should not be overshadowed by the significance of our work.
Do we have the correct tools in our Christian toolbox? Are they in good working order and properly prepared for our Christian duty? Are they easily accessible?
2 Kings 4:8-37
Evangelism is more than just preaching the Gospel. It is the sharing of the teachings of Jesus Christ to others. The individual Christians life should be an example of Christ to the world.
This is the story of how Elisha restores a child to life. This is similar to the story in 1 Kings 17:17-24. What does this story have to do with evangelism? The answer is simple. Someone needed to hear the Word from God, and so God sent someone out.
In verses 8-11:
A Shunammite woman realizes a man of God which passes by continually. He was an evangelist, out spreading the Word of God. The woman sensed a need for the traveling prophet, so out of kindness she had prepared a room for him to use while he was there for his journey. I would think it was similar to a Bed & Breakfast or like the new Air B-n-B’s.
Many years ago, when true evangelism was going through our nation, there were many believers that had a spare room in their home, which they called the ‘prophet’s chamber.’ I remember those days when a visiting preacher would stay in church members home during a revival week. That way the visiting preacher did not have to pay for a hotel room nor meals.
How often do we offer assistance to those that pass by in our lives that may need some type of assistance? What has happened to the old-time revivals with visiting ministers? Where are they now?
In verses 12-19:
Sometime later, Elisha tells his servant to bring the Shunammite woman to him. It appears that the prophet wanted to repay her and her husband for their kindness. She was asked was there anything that she needed. Elisha’s servant told him that she was without child. Elisha tells her that she would have a son. This is remarkably similar to the case of Sara and Abraham in Genesis.
Time passed by and she gave birth. As time passes again, the child goes out to help his father but unfortunately, he was ill and died. Why? We do not know. What we do know is that an answered prayer has a tragic outcome.
In verses 20-25:
The woman had faith. She did not blame nor curse God. She lays her deceased child on the bed where the man of God had slept. We are unsure why this is, but we could presume that she began to have belief in the God that Elisha served. The passage does not say anything about her praying to God, just that she tells her husband that she is going to search for the man of God that had been there at their home. She had confidence that her son could be restored.
The woman broke tradition. It was not the new moon of the sabbath. She got out of the normal rituals. How often do we get ourselves stuck in the same routine? Many in today’s churches will comment that “We have always done it this way.” Times may come when we need to change from our old habits or rituals. God does not change but we may need to so that we can reach others.
In verses 26-30:
The man of God had compassion for others. He sent his servant to inquire about her and her family. He did not know about her current situation, he just remembered her and her family. Do we have true compassion for others in the world?
When she got to the man of God, Elisha, she fell at his feet (Matthew 28:9). Elisha’s servant was about to move her, but Elisha stopped him. Elisha was unsure of her reason to be there. He states that “the Lord had hid it from me.” She seems angry and asks him why did he deceive her? Elisha tells his servant to go to the child and place his staff on the child’s head.
The woman said she would not leave Elisha. So, the man of God went to where the issue was. There are times we need to get out and go. It is more important to go to the problem. Do not sit back and wait for others or for the problem to come to us. Too often we remain in our “comfort zone” and do not venture out to where the “need” is. Yes, our fellow believers will have needs and issues that will happen, but the true need is out there amongst the world, those that are lost, dying, and on their way to a devil’s hell. That is where the true need is.
Some Christians want just to sit back inside their church building and say, “come on in here, we compel thee to come,” when they should be going out there and be giving the invitation.
In verses 31-37:
Elisha’s servant got there first and did as he was instructed. However, the child did not wake up. The condition was recognized, and the man of God was not defeated by failure. Not his failure but the failure of the world. Elisha knew the objective, went into the inner chamber, and prayed to be endued with power. Elisha cried to God in faith and belief. Maybe Elisha saw the similarities between this situation and the one Elijah was in.
Prayers do get answered, it might not be in the way we want, but in accordance with God’s will.
Elisha's petition and technique for raising the dead child show God's own consideration for individuals who are hurting. The action that followed the prayer was that the child came to life. Elisha, in faith, had called unto God and the child was restored. We can only imagine the woman’s response.
There is a need for us to be alive as well. Do not be a dead servant. Do not settle for nothing except life. There is life in Christ. We need to show true concern for others as we share the Gospel. Those who take the life of Christ to a dead world must do so with deep conviction and in fervent prayer. Those dead in sin come to life when they come in contact with Christ.
God called me into the ministry over 20 years ago and I have had the blessed opportunity to preach for a church radio broadcast, served as a Sunday School teacher, served as a youth director along with my wife, as a music director, as an Associate Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor.
Copyright © 2023 Rev. Chris Swanson
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