On Jesus Praying

May this addition to dialogue give a biblical explanation On Jesus Praying.

Jesus’ prayer shows:
1. An example for us.
2. He identified with the frailties of our humanity.
3. The limitations of humanity that He lived within.

First, that simplest direct answer is found in John 12:27-30:
27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. [completion of Jesus response to Andrew and Phillip] 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” 29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

Jesus clearly states in verse 30, His prayer is for “your”sake, referring to His believers. He prayed as our example, but this passage also proved by the response from heaven (for these Israelites, strict monotheists) that God infinite (the eternal Spirit who inhabits eternity) in a tangible way confirmed/endorsed that God finite (the incarnate Expression of that Spirit, Jesus Christ) was Who He said He was.

This understanding of the reason Jesus prayed is confirmed in Jesus’ prayer found in John 17 (John 17:20) “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”

Secondly, Jesus praying is proof that He was actually tempted in all points like we are yet without sin. In fact, the author of Hebrews encourages our prayer in the same context where that statement regarding His temptations is made:

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

If Jesus, as God in the flesh, never faced a circumstance that drove Him to pray, we would struggle to believe that He really was tempted or tested in the same ways that we are. That Jesus faced adversity and testing is also evidenced by the short verses that indicated His growth as a human being was not just physical.

Luke 2:40 | Jesus’ Childhood at Nazareth
And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Luke 2:51-52
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Growth never happens without some measure of pain. Strength comes through struggle. If Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, by natural law that result required pain and struggle. It’s said, “Wisdom comes from experience, and experience from failure.” While we know that Jesus never sinned, He may have made some cuts wrong in those first efforts in the carpenter’s trade. He may have smashed His thumb once or twice. Undoubtedly, He also observed some mistakes of others and as a boy learned lessons from those mistakes. The Word tells us He increased in wisdom and stature. We have no problem believing He grew in physical stature, so if we believe the Bible we must also believe He increased in wisdom.

Indeed, He was tempted in all points like we are. He was driven to pray. Even moments before the climax of His destiny, He prayed that the cup of destiny assigned to Him might pass. Jesus prayed because He was tested in all points like we are.

Thirdly, it bears exploring further how Jesus’ prayers reflect the distinction between God infinite and God finite. While similar to the preceding point, there is enough distinctive or additional aspects to it for us to see and consider. Jesus praying showed the limitations He had placed on Himself. Jesus (God finite) was the first of all His (God Infinite) creative work. His first creation was this physical creation of Himself.

He is the Lamb slain from foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). He is the physical declaration of the invisible God (John 1:18). He is the image (the eikon, Greek root for icon) of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

John 1:17-18 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Psalms 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

As this finite expression of God, Jesus would violate His finite nature if He even one time used any infinite/supernatural capacity of God for Himself as a finite human. Nobody before or since knew our Heavenly Father as this Man did. Every miracle of healing, salvation, and deliverance He performed is an insight to us of what our Father desires. Jesus’ refusal to use that power for Himself is most clearly seen in His great test of temptation. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness to make bread of a stone, cast Himself to the earth from the pinnacle, or worship satan to gain the worship of all those under satan’s influence. In this test, He refused selfish, finite use of His infinite power. He examples for us the absence of self-centeredness & conceit.

Jesus did also make it clear as part of His discourse in the synagogue of Nazareth, that He would not be willing to heal Himself. Luke 4:23-24 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.

So just as His praying proved to us He was really human, and tempted just as we are tempted. So also, His praying reveals that in His humanity He refused to operate with His infinite power and authority for His own benefit. His sacrifice was totally selfless.

As has been well said, many men want to be god; but only One God became a Man.

He desires you to know Him! His Word is a love letter to you! His Child!

Here O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord! Deuteronomy 6:4

My prayer is this contribution to dialogue about the Godhead is a blessing to you today ~ jwp

5 Part Cross Reference!

Two weeks ago on April 23rd, I had the privilege of participating in services at The Pentecostal Church of All Nations in Nashville, Tennessee. What an honor to celebrate with Pastor & Mrs. Don Cash and the remarkable team of ministers that were a part of these services.

Several of us who were a part are champions for and participants in the national ministry of Bible Quizzing in the United Pentecostal Church. Bible Quizzing hands down is the best youth leadership development program in the United States. The message the Lord gave me, I presented as a 5 part Cross Reference on Friday night, April 23rd. I’ve highlighted it here:

Just 3 days after I was invited to minister in this service; during my daily Bible reading, I read Daniel 10:4-19 in the New Living Translation. As I was reading, the Lord spoke so clearly that there was a cross reference on both the date found there and points from the message that Daniel received. I share those 5 points that cross reference between the words to Daniel and a message to the Church in 2021. 

FIRST, from verse 7: Get a vision! Only Daniel saw a vision and only Daniel wasn’t running in fear. Church we don’t need to operate in fear of world events, of opposing spiritual forces, or of what man can do to us.

SECOND, from verse 11: You are very precious. Stand Up! Jesus is looking for men and women, teens, and leaders from every generation; who will be dedicated to reaching their generation. These heroes will stand up in the face of every storm of circumstance, cultural bullies, and even demonic opposition. True Believers who will daily stand up, take up their cross and follow Jesus.

THIRD, from verse 12: Don’t be afraid. Some have said that fear is faith in the enemy. Fear can blind us to what God is doing, to what is really possible with Jesus being for us, to what’s really going on. If fear blinds us, it can paralyze us too. But the good news is we don’t have to choose fear. We can choose faith. So choose to believe God can and God will! Doubt your doubts. Believe your God! Fear not! He’s the Master of every storm.

FOURTH, from verse 13: Daniel was told his request sparked spiritual warfare. Just stop and think on when the last time a prayer you prayed resulted in warfare in the spirit realm. I can think of no greater evidence that one is praying Kingdom prayers. Christianity can’t continue in the childish dimension of faith characterized by self-centered prayers. We need to engage in warfare praying, Kingdom advancing, dominion exercising prayers that move heaven and earth. Every great move of God was preceded by a move to great prayer.

FIFTH, from verse 19: Strength is found in a Word from God. Strength returned as this holy messenger declared the Word from the Lord to Daniel. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We all need a Word from the Lord! If our personal relationship with God is right, we will never lack for a Word from the Lord. If our personal relationship is not right, we won’t recognize the Word the Lord sends to us. When we have a Word from Him, we will have the all the strength we need.   

May these words give encouragement, direction, and strength from the Lord for you today! Blessings in Jesus Name!

Three P’s of the Q Life!

It is hard to think of anything that has been more globally disruptive in our lifetimes than COVID-19. In the midst of everything we believers always are to live a spiritual life, not leaning on our own understanding but in all of our ways acknowledging Him and allowing the Lord to direct our path. In the middle of COVID, few believers are trying to chart their own course. Now the rest of the time… our flesh is genelet the Lord take a break while we figure things out. There are three areas of life that I believe God wants us to have a reset during this disruption that if we allow God to direct us, we will discover is a time for divine order to be clarified in us.

Priorities –

We are human beings not human doings;

So many of us humans are addicted to busy-ness, stress, and pressure that we often wander through life lacking the peace and the power of purpose that can come from divine order.

I highly recommend Dr. Archibald Hart’s book, “Adrenalin & Stress.”

Our prayer focus in this area is to ask the Lord what are His priorities for our lives. Remember, His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). If our way has been hard and burden heavy; we are either not doing what God has called, anointed, and gifted us to do, or we are not doing it the way He wants us to do it. Sometimes there’s no need to change the “what” of our doing, but we need to change the “why.” Stress, anger, envy are all very unhealthy addictions. They will kill your spirit and cause you to die from the inside out.

Your prayers, good deeds, best efforts don’t earn God’s favor or blessing. We do have an altar in this new covenant that so completely fulfills the altar of the old covenant as to render the old obsolete (Hebrews 13:10). You will not and cannot earn the favor and blessing of God.

It’s all by His amazing grace! It stooped down and lifted us from where we were. Sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore; Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more, but the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry! And from the waters lifted me, now safe am I! Love lifted me!!

We are in a love relationship!! When that relationship becomes the #1 priority in your life, it will change everything in such a beautiful way. It will reorder your priorities. It will make you a better person in every arena and relationship in your life.

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Luke 12:32-34 NLT

It gives our Dad great happiness to give you the Kingdom! YOU!! You’ve got to believe that on a personal level before you can ever really know the power of that statement. And the Kingdom is not meat and drink, but it’s righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost! (Romans 14:17)

The first century church was totally focused on treasure that moth and rust could not corrupt.

PRIORITIES! Nothing of this world owned them. Too many in North America think living for God is about getting stuff now and a Grand Prize trip to heaven.

Jesus said, it’s more blessed to give than receive. Our priority in this time should not be what can I get, but what can I give. Believers don’t give to get. We get to give. We are channels for the blessing of God to flow through. There is no greater blessing that God can impart into people in your world right now than His peace and joy.


A great priority God will give you revelation about is both His priority for your life and the people He has placed in our life.

Let me quickly run down the priority list for a Jesus follower’s life:

1. Relationship with God.

2. Relationships in your home (spouse, children, others)

3. Ministry [relationship to local/global body]

4. Secular work [relationship to boss/owner; customers (internal & external)]

5. Extended family and friendships

Living out these priorities forces our life to intersect with others. God made us to be relational beings.

Living these priorities correctly with other people hinges on one thing! Let’s journey with our brothers and sisters in the church at Corinth to confirm this one thing…

I Corinthians 12:25-27 “This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:”

I Corinthians 12:31-13:1,13 “So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. 1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

More important to God than your perfect execution of a gifting or talent, is how you love your brother or sister.

This statement I’ve said many times:
Your demonstration of God’s love to others directly reveals your revelation and understanding of God’s love to you.

Let me add one thing to that:

It’s great that you can show love to people you like, but Jesus said that conventional wisdom was a lesser law than what the new covenant of grace declared.

Matthew 5:43-48 – Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Here at POGH, we have begun a push towards excellence in ministry. One core value that has emerged as part of this effort is the importance of details in pressing for excellence. The value is stated this way, “In excellence, details always matter, people matter more.” Even in our efforts to minister in excellence, or we could say perfection, wholeness we must never lose sight of the importance of people.


The third “P” I’m asking us to give spiritual consideration to at this time is God’s purpose for our life. Several years ago, Bishop David Howe shared a wonderful thought contrasting why it’s so critical to be Spirit led instead of purpose driven.

And now Bro. Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” does also emphasize the necessity of our purpose being revealed to us by the Lord. Sadly, some gain illumination about their purpose and then disconnect from daily guidance by the Holy Spirit.

In this whole, huge world, He has a purpose and plan just for you.

He gave Jeremiah (1:4-6; 29:11) the message this way, “The LORD gave me this message: 5 ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.’ 6 ‘O Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!’ 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

And the instruction to Joshua (1:6-8) was “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

During this COVID-19, I do believe we should take a fresh and deep look at these three areas in our lives.


I pray the Holy Ghost gives you a specific revelation of what this reset is to change in how you do life.

Our prayer is that you will discover experientially there is no higher, lasting priority in life than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Love God. Love people. And if you will discover His purpose for your life, your life will be rich beyond any earthly measure.

What are you going after?

Building on last month’s blog (Yes, am aware professional bloggers post at least once a week, sometimes more. You’ll just have to leave me in amateur status for right now. We all have growth areas)…

Let’s travel on a little from what are you looking for, to what are you going after?

Really, pause and consider that for a moment…

  • -Think back over the past week, consider your calendar. What does that evidence prove of your pursuits?
  • -Think over the first month of 2020, what dominated your daily life?
  • -What did you resolve to do in this new year?

Every driver has probably been warned of the dangers of driving along the beach and drifting in the direction of either the beauty of the beach or a beauty on the beach. Every driver has certainly been frustrated by the delays of a typical rubber-necking accident, where someone looking at an accident scene created another crash by driving in the direction they were looking.

Sometimes we’ve seen people, distracted in life, crash by things that were unforeseen in the midst of other pursuits. More positively, we’ve seen people and teams accomplish incredible goals by their determined pursuit of that dream.

So again, I ask, what are you going after?

What I observe, I look at,

What I look at, I focus on,

What I focus on, I pursue,

What I pursue, I possess,

What I possess, I become.

The wise man captured the timeless truth, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Tragically, many don’t know the second half of the verse. “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” The law in scripture is synonymous (in typology) with the Word of God. If you don’t incorporate the practices found in the Word, your vision will be marred by futility and frustration. But if you are a keeper of the law/Word, then happiness will characterize you and your pursuit.

Is happiness a top five adjective for your life of those who know you best?

What are you going after??

Jesus said the great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Then He went on to say the second is just like it. What is a way they are both like each other? They both involve pursuit!! The first involves going after a relationship with Jesus. The second involves going after a relationship with your brothers and sisters. The first is the Cornerstone of every truly successful life (a whole different blog). The second is the laboratory of love where we get to practice reflecting the revelations of His love for us.

Joshua shared the instruction this way. “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5)

If you want the verb pursuit used to describe your action, you really have to do it with all of you.

The wise man told us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

2020 is a time to go for it! Lay it all down on the line!


For The Pentecostals of Greater Hartford, we purpose to:

  1. Pursue the presence of Jesus in our daily life with a renewed passion and like we have never done before.
  2. Pursue fulfilling Christ’s great, final, and only command to the Church, go to all nations, teaching, teaching, making disciples. We are following Jesus (objective 1) so we can lead others to Him!

Thank you Pastor Aaron Thompson for beginning this year, breaking down the great book by Author Stan Gleason, Follow to Lead. It is birthing a great movement in the final century of this chapter of man’s history.

What will you go after?

What are you looking for?

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

Job said, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” Job 3:25

Many will remember the parable of the wise elder who sat on the edge of town and watched people come and go. One day a new family approached the town and asked the wizened elder what the people in the town were like. The elder asked them in return what the people were like where they had come from. The family complained of how mean, rude, hurtful, and offensive the folks from the town they left were. The elder sadly informed them that in this town they would find the people much the same. A short time later, another family came up the path and asked much the same question. The elder’s same reply was met with a gushing response of how loving, kind, generous and thoughtful the folks were that they had just left from. With gladness, the elder assured this second family that they would be happy to know this town was filled with others just like that.

This parable makes a clear case, you will find what you’re looking for.

What did Noah find? What did Job find?

They found what they were looking for.

What are you looking for?

In relationships? At work, career? In financial planning? In the Spirit? In the Word? In emotional, psychological, mental wellness?

If you look for something to complain about it, there is no doubt you will find it. If you look for an opportunity to grow, you will find it? If you look for something to be jealous about, you will find that? If you look for a reason to rejoice you will find one?

As we close this first month of 2020 (a new decade for the 0 apologist), I challenge you to take time and reflect, meditate on a deeper level; what is it that you invest the most time looking for? In 2020, may you find something worth looking for.

Jesus, The Light of the World

Jesus is the Light of the world, from eternity past all the way to eternity future. The genesis of creation was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and the Lamb will be the Light of heaven; no sun, moon or stars will be needed there.

The grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness of God is demonstrated through the incarnation. He came to earth, Jesus to be the Light of the World! A High Priest tempted in all points, felt our frailty, fully knew this human condition; and He lights the path for us by His example, by His Word, and as our Comforter!

The greatest power in any revelation is the complete application of it. We must never be guilty of having a knowledge of the Truth but denying the power of it! The power comes from a daily relationship with the One Who said, I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life! He also said, I am the Light of the World! Unpracticed truths are no better than idolatry.

So how do we practice this revelation that Jesus is the Light of the World?

1. Let Jesus be the Light that brings understanding, knowledge, and wisdom to your life. Where do you go for insight, wisdom, understanding, knowledge? The daily practice of asking Jesus to be the Light that guides our way is a foundational part of being His follower. The Light must never be replaced by leaning on our own understanding, a friend’s feelings, the conventional wisdom or norms of our day. All of those things may confirm what He shows us, but our relationship with Jesus must be the priority of our life.

2. Let the Light shine in the dark places of our life. Asking the Holy Spirit to shine like an X-ray light and pass over our mind, our heart, our mouth, etc. When the Light shines over those places of our life, that are busy in action, it can show us the motives and thoughts behind the actions. Often our actions and words carry an imbedded code from an unresolved area of brokenness or hurt. Jesus didn’t make you to live in anxiety, fear or stress. Surely we all have encounters with each of these, but they are not to be our chronic companions. Jesus, the Light of the world wants to give you a revelation that brings such clarity you can draw a line between the thought and the intent. He can flow through the counsel of a pastor or the wisdom of a Christian therapist to confirm and help us learn to live free from the pain of our past or bound by the limitations of our brokenness.

My prayer for you today is that you have an Encounter with Jesus the Light of the world today that is transformative. May He continue to Light your world and lead you to brighter days!

Jesus Is Coming Soon!!

If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, He has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by His own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:26-28/NLT)

The #1 priority of Jesus Second Coming is to bring salvation to those eagerly waiting for His return. While there is no doubt those who have rejected His overtures of mercy, grace, and love will face the consequence of that choice, may the scripture clearly establish that the Lamb of God is coming to receive the reward of His suffering. The Bride He gave His life for! The Bride He longs to see on that heavenly wedding day! The Church!

He won’t be checking the label on anyone’s collar. He knows the heart of every man, woman, boy, and girl. It won’t matter on that day which organization or church you were a part of. It’ll matter if you obeyed that first and great commandment and the second which is like it (Mark 12:29-31). The church was never about an organized effort of man, it has always been a movement powered by the Spirit of God! The book of Acts records every principle of the genesis of the movement that continues today as the most powerful force of faith in the earth.

Peter warned in some of his final words (II Peter 3:3) that there would be scoffers in the last days. There are certainly those that make a mockery of the promise of His coming. Scoffers outside the Church don’t bother me at all. Haters are gonna hate. It’s the scoffers inside the church that are a concern to this soldier. Nobody in the church blatantly ridicules the return of Christ. No, the scoffers in the church reflect Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 25. He likens it to ten virgins, who as the Groom tarried ALL fell asleep. Powerful principles are revealed in this short parable. The oil is a symbol that represents the Holy Ghost. You must have the Oil in your vessel. We are simply an earthen vessel, the treasure is what is on the inside! Verse 9 of this chapter exposes the fallacy that you can buy the Oil. If you try to buy the Oil, you will never have it when you need it. You must carry the Oil in your vessel every day! Church we cannot afford to be sleeping! We must be a #WOKECHURCH!!

There is a clarion call that screams in the spirit of the saints my dear Brothers and Sisters, “The night cometh!! (John 9:4) We must be inspired by the burden that Paul carried, he said that he wished himself accursed if his people could be saved (Romans 9:3). Most of us like Ezekiel are sent to the world we live in (Ezekiel 3:5). We can’t afford in this hour to be sleeping in the church, as scoffers who are living like the second coming is never going to happen. Remember what led us to Him was His goodness (Romans 2:4). May that same goodness flow through our lives and bless the world around us.

Jesus is coming soon!

Judgment & Justice

Jeremiah prophesied of Jesus when he said, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” More than 600 years before Jesus came God declared what He would do. Jesus came and He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 and Dr. Luke recorded these words of Jesus, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” Luke 12:51.

Let me go direct to the point, you can’t have justice without judgment. We wear T-shirt’s and put on bumper stickers that declare judgment free zones. Our world declares an obsession with justice but then would like to see it happen without judgment.

The reality is we all make judgment calls in the course of our every day lives. The person promising us we’ll be millionaires in 6 months if we give them $199 and join their business by buying our franchise, and all we have to do is ride around the Caribbean in our yacht, we judge to be not telling us the truth. The politician who promises to charge us no new taxes while giving us every government benefit we ever imagined, we judge to be a liar. The pilot and air traffic controllers think we should fly at 30,000 feet instead of 34,000 (I’ve witnessed 100% of their congregation submit to their wisdom), we judge them wise, proven by nobody ever opening the door and getting off the plane. Doctors tell us that our symptoms indicate an underlying sickness and a certain medicine will knock it out; so we choose to trust them and take the medicine. Life, every day, demands we make clear judgment calls.

Truth is a sharp sword (Hebrews 4:12). It draws a very fine line. And we know that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). There is clarity in the judgment and justice that Jesus, our Creator, brought into the world.

Grace and truth. Judgment and justice. When principles collide, our thoughts and feelings easily become conflicted. The One Who is the Word has promised to guide us through the anointing on our lives (I John 2:27). He gives us His Word. He gives us the structure and life giving inputs of the rest of His Body (IF we’re connected to the Body). It is far better to consciously and intentionally dialogue with wise counsel to guide us in times of great question. We can lean into our relationship with our Heavenly Father and trust the One Who said He would never leave us or forsake us.

Judgment is necessary. Justice is possible. In the context of every contradiction of our daily lives, Jesus is pleased to live through each moment with us and guide us by His grace.

May His peace be yours today, as you trust Him in every way.

He is a good, good Father.

He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. Psalm 103:7

In His acts of judgment may you discover His ways of justice.

Jesus, Our Redeemer

John 8 opens with the powerful story of a woman brought to Jesus in the temple accused of unfaithfulness. A few truths stick out in the John’s telling of this story: 1. Jesus wrote on the dirty floor of the temple, a physical demonstration of a practical truth, church work can get dirty sometimes. 2. Jesus established who gets to throw stones at church, anybody who is sinless. 3. Jesus established the norm, there was no condemnation in His House.

As we consider the beautiful truth of redemption, I’d remind us we all need the Redeemer!

Isaiah said it this way “this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13

Israel’s history in the Old Testament repeats this circle – Following God, Rebellion, Captivity/Bondage, Crying Out, and Deliverance. Over and over, they experienced Jesus, the Redeemer!

This pattern continues in the first century apostolic church as indicated by John’s writing in Revelation 2 & 3. These same characteristics of the beginning of the Church Age still exist today:

  • At Ephesus, they had forgotten their first love (2:4);
  • In Smyrna, the crowd of hypocrites who claimed to be believers but were actually of the synagogue of satan (2:9);
  • Pergamos, there were those who held to the false doctrine of Balaam, a belief in the acceptability of compromised purity (2:14);
  • The church of Thyatira, tolerated the false prophetess Jezebel, who led innocent followers, servants of God to compromised purity (2:20);
  • Sardis had a name that declared life but they were dead (3:1);
  • Philadelphia had little strength, and was also plagued with people who claimed to be believers but were liars (3:8,9);
  • The lukewarm at Laodicea were warned that they would be spewed out of the mouth of God (3:16).

We must recognize our immediate, personal need of a Redeemer. The truth reveals we are all sinners in need of a Savior, slaves bound in a dead man’s body, our only hope of escape is through Christ. We need Jesus, the Redeemer!!

Ruth in scripture tells the beautiful story of a Redeemer. Here was a lady who was disadvantaged by birth; born into a despised minority’s that had descended from Lot and the illegitimate child with his daughter. Then married into a family that tragically saw her father-in-law and brother-in-law pass away and leave three ladies without a provider. Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided she should return to her native land and encouraged both daughters-in-law to remain in their home country. Ruth returned with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and humbled herself to gather remnants with the poor in the fields of the wealthy. No doubt in the pecking order of the poor who gathered what they could, Ruth heard whispers and comments that ridiculed her or reminded her of these facts of her life. She refused to be caught up in that and continued to serve with joy. You may well know the rest of the story; how Boaz, one of those wealthy landowners, honored the law and custom and redeemed Ruth to be his wife. Through this custom of becoming a Kinsman Redeemer, we see the beauty of Jesus, our Redeemer!

It is possible that some would consider redeeming a slave from slavery as only a historical fact found on the darkest pages of human history. However, the horrific tragedy of human trafficking and slavery continues in 2019 to be a dark stain on the history being now written of the world. Just as Oscar Schindler saved 100’s of Jews from the Nazi attempt to eliminate them from the earth, there are dozens of men and women leading organizations all over the world that are redeeming children, youth, men and women who have been told they didn’t matter and bound in horrible, degrading slavery. These men and women are modern day examples of Jesus, our Redeemer! The Church joins in this fight to redeem these captured in this tragedy of slavery. In fact many of these organizations leading in this fight are Christians that have been awakened to such a great need and cause. No doubt eternity will reveal many heroes who set 1,000’s free!

The Church also stands as a Body of believers who have been redeemed from a horrible slavery. We are married to setting others free from the gratitude toward those God used to set us free! The slavery to sin ends in destroyed lives on earth and for eternity. We are forever grateful that our lives were transformed when we God used His Body to lead us to an encounter with Jesus, our Redeemer! We were trapped in sin, imprisoned by sin, caught in the very act as this woman was! Just as it was completely irrelevant on that day that she wasn’t the only one caught in the act, neither does it matter that someone else was a sinner – the dooming fact was that we were one. There is no way you could have avoided the snare of sin. Before birth, in the genetics of Adam that you inherited you were born dead spiritually. In the face of that fact, today’s beautiful, liberating truth is that Jesus is Our Redeemer!! The One Who is perfect, the only One Who could cast stones – His whole purpose and destiny is to never cast a stone at one sinner! Instead He is the Rock we can run to and their find healing, salvation, and hope!

My prayer is that He would transform your life today! Jesus, Our Redeemer!

8 Steps to Recover from Failures

Let’s not sugarcoat this fact, we all fail. Sometimes. We don’t have a problem telling anybody that we’re not perfect; but, it’s hard to even form the words, “I failed.” While there are varying degrees and types of failures, none are so important to have a template to guide our recovery from than the failure of sin.

Sin is missing the mark. We are challenged by Paul’s words to PRESS for the mark. Anything less than hitting that mark is sin. In contrast, we don’t hear much talk at church about failure. There is a human & church folk tendency to parade our pretty sins; the ones we really think are strengths that initially appear to be a weakness. I get it why we don’t talk about failure much is, we don’t want to glorify sin. But we must discuss failure, specifically how to recover from it. Because one thing is certain, just as much as death and taxes, where there is flesh there will be failure.

Jesus knew we would sin. He told Peter as much. But His prayer request was that when Peter failed, his faith would not fail.

A great way to avoid a failure of faith is to have a clear plan of action for when we mess up and find ourselves sorry that we let God down.

Paul let us know and all the believers at Corinth a simple 8 step plan to recover from failure. It is found in II Corinthians 7:11.

It was the first time, as an adolescent that I saw an 8 step plan in my personal study of the scripture. At the time, my family was attending a church pastored by Pastor Clifford Readout, who teaches extensively on the 8 Steps from Death to Life. If you’ve never heard that powerful lesson on salvation, you should.

Here are the 8 steps for Recovery from Failure:

“For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” II Corinthians 7:11

1. Godly Sorrow – There’s a heaviness that accompanies genuine repentance that our world and carnal nature thinks is wrong. It is the correct human response to Holy Ghost conviction, as was shown in Acts 2:37.

2. Carefulness – The meaning here reflects an earnest diligence. A picture of the earnestness is given in Luke 1:39, when Mary found she was expecting and went with haste/carefulness to see Elizabeth. Immediately and without delay. The diligence is to be the same care shown towards the doctrine as mentioned in Jude 1:3. A thorough treatment of the matter. Partial or delayed treatment of failure will only compound it.

3. Clearing of Self — But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: ( I Peter 3:15). The “clearing of our self” and “an answer” is the same root word. Our answer points to the grace and mercy of God. It’s not defending our mistake, it’s a humble, yet confident, answer of the certainty of our forgiveness.

4. Indignation – The same displeasure that Jesus showed when He rebuked those in Mark 10:14 who tried to prevent the children from coming to Him. It’s the righteous indignation of a Phinehas (Numbers 25:7) directed at the sin in our own lives. Strongly refusing to allow it to gain a stronghold or any returned entrance. We must intentional sabotage any future desire for that sin in our life (Romans 13:14)

5. Fear – This was also one of the characteristics of the Book of Acts church (Acts 5:5 & 11). This same root word of our word “phobia” indicates a constant and even trembling fear, both at the awesomeness of God and the frailty of our flesh. This awe of Him should cause us to tremble, not the fear of man. So often we allow the fear of man to rule our lives, but the right Godly fear will allow us to live above that (Matthew 10:28).

6. Vehement Desire – A picture of this desire, is a baby that wants milk. All of us, who have witnessed that desire denied, have seen what “vehement desire” looks like. It’s the same hunger we had as a babe for the milk of the Word (I Peter 2:2).

7. Zeal – This root is also translated as jealous, and shows the vital importance of faithfulness to a vow that is expected in a marital vow. In fact the same root appears in II Corinthians 11:2 when Paul mentions his desire to be zealous/jealous of the New Covenant Believers at Corinth to present them in purity to Christ.

8. Revenge – Not only is the enemy not going to take me out or capitalize on the frailty of my flesh, but I’m going to help someone else overcome this same frailty or failure. In doing that we become more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), by being one who births other conquerors.

We will have experiences of failure in our flesh. Jesus was the only perfect human. So when we fail, we have this template from the Word to guide us in recovering from any fall.

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 24 & 25