Miracles of Jesus

by Rick
Miracles of Jesus

Our Lord Jesus the Christ performed many miracles while He operated in the authority He wants us to operate in while in the earth.  There is much we can learn from these miracles and I pray that these messages are as much a blessing to you as they have been to me as I receive them from God and share them with you:

  • Water into wine – Whatever He tells you to do, Do it!
  • The Healing of a Leper – Jesus is Willing!
  • The Centurion’s Servant – Great Faith!
  • Peter’s Mother-in-Law – Saved to Serve
  • Calming the Sea – the Confidence to Sleep through the Storm
  • Delivering a Legion of Demons – Tell Your Story!
  • The Paralyzed man carried by his friends – Can people “See” your faith
  • Raising a little girl from the Dead – A Father’s Declaration of Faith (Part 1)
  • Raising a little girl from the Dead – Fear vs. Faith (Part 2)
  • The Woman with the Issue of Blood – Taking the Time to meet a Need
  • Two Blind Men – Do you believe God can do what you are asking of Him
  • The demon possessed Mute – A Divided Kingdom cannot stand!
  • The man with the withered hand – ‘Expose your issue to Jesus’
  • Feeding the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves – A Seed for every Need
  • Jesus and Peter walking on water – The Power of Consistent Faith!
  • The Syro–Phoenician Woman’s Daughter – Consistent Faith in Action Again!
  • An Epileptic Boy – Faith sees no impossibilities!
  • Two Blind Men – Persistent Faith releases Breakthrough!
  • A demon possessed man – Operating in Authority and Power!
  • A deaf man with a speech impediment – Tailor made Ministry!
  • The blind man at Bethsaida –  The Second Touch!
  • Blind Bartimaeus – Are you ready to respond to God
  • A miraculous catch of fish –God Knows Best!
  • A widow’s son raised from the Dead – God is a Good God!
  • The woman bent over by an evil spirit – The force behind the scene!
  • The 10 Lepers – Do you want to be healed or whole
  • The Royal Official’s son – Believe the Word by faith!
  • The invalid at the Pool of Bethesda – Stop Making Excuses!
  • The man blind from birth – Tell Your Story!
  • Lessons from Lazarus (1) – My Father Knows!
  • Lessons from Lazarus (2) – Delayed, but not Denied!
  • Lessons from Lazarus (3) – Maximum Glory!
  • Lessons_from_Lazarus_(4)_–_Our Compassionate God!
  • Lessons_from_Lazarus_(5)_–_Rolling away your own stone in Faith!
  • Lessons_from_Lazarus_(6)_–_Celebrating True Freedom!
  • Lessons from Lazarus (7) – And it came to Pass!
  • Summary Key 1: There are no impossibilities to God
  • Summary_Key_2:_God_has_a_proven_track_record
  • Summary Key #3: We access God’s “impossibility overcoming power” through faith

Water into wine – Whatever He tells you to do, Do it! (top of page)

(John 2:5 MSG) She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.”

This morning we start a series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ and we will fittingly start with His first miracle, the turning of water into wine.  John’s second chapter starts off with a wedding at Cana in Galilee.  Jesus, his mother, and his disciples were at the wedding.  The wedding party ran out of wine during the feast, which was a great embarrassment.  Mary may have been related to the person being married, because she was involved in the wedding.  This might also explain why she came to Jesus when they ran out of wine.  She was not sure what He would do, but she knew that He could do something.  Jesus was apprehensive about getting involved.  He had waited 30 years to begin His ministry.  His cousin John had already baptized Him in the Jordon, causing some buzz, but surely the word of a miracle would quickly stir up crowds.  His mother moved right past the apprehension and gave some of the best advice found in scripture.  She looked at the servants and said, “Whatever he tells you, do it.” With this, Jesus accepted and destiny’s clock continued her countdown towards the cross.  Jesus told the servants to fill some nearby water jugs and they filled them to the brim.  He then told them to draw out some of it and take it to the master of the banquet.  They did so and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been miraculously turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.  The master of the banquet found it strange that the best wine was saved for last.

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things:

1.       Jesus will never tell you to do something you cannot do:  Jesus did not tell the servants to do something incredible.  He simply met them where they were.  They were accustomed to filling the water pots normally used for washing and He told them to do just that.  If God instructs you to do something, the mere fact that He said it, guarantees that you can do it.  He is not out to play cruel games with you.  He will never expect you to do what He has not equipped you to do, but whatever He equips you to do; He will expect you to do.  It is also worth noting that the servants did not just fill the water pots, but they filled them to the brim.  Whenever God tells us to do something we should seek to do it in excellence!

2.       God is a God of action:  The water was not turned into wine with the words “hocus pocus” or “abbra cadabra.”  The water was turned into wine while they servants were doing what Jesus told them to do.  The text is not clear as to the particular instant, but that is the point.  We are blessed while we do what God tells us to do.  If you seek to please God daily, by doing whatever He tells you to do, you will find that you will live a blessed life.  You may not be able to pinpoint every blessing, but you will simply be blessed as you act out your faith.

3.       God is a God of progression and not regression:  This first miracle points to a God of progression and not regression, to a God that makes the end of a matter better than the beginning thereof.  If you think your life has been blessed to this point, continue to do whatever He tells you to do and you will find that the best if yet to come!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare that I will do whatever You tell me to do.  I know that You have already equipped me to do whatever You instruct me to do.  I will step out in faith and act on whatever I believe You are telling me to do – through Your Word, through the Holy Spirit, or through circumstances – and I know that You will manifest Your glory in my life as I act out my faith.  I put my faith in action.  I am a person of faith and action.  I thank You for everything You have done in my life thus far, but I also declare, by faith, that the best is yet to come!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Healing of a Leper – Jesus is Willing! (top of page)

(Mark 1:40-42 NIV)  A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the healing of a leper.  Leprosy is an infectious disease that attacks the skin and central nervous system.  People with leprosy often do not have the sensation of pain to identify cuts and bruises, hence they frequently injure themselves without knowing.  Leprosy also causes multiple legions on the skin that cause a terrible smell.  Lepers, for obvious reasons, were social outcasts.  They were considered unclean and since there was no cure, they were condemned to live the rest of their lives in leper colonies.  Beyond the obvious physical damage, the treatment of lepers could easily cause psychological harm.  They died a slow physical and mental death.  It is easy to understand then why a man with leprosy came and bowed down to Jesus, his only glimmer of hope.  His statement connotes that he had already resolved within his heart that Jesus was bigger than his problem.  He did not ask Jesus if He could, but his inferiority complex wondered if he would.  The text then reveals a facet of Jesus that can bring us comfort this morning.  Mark says that Jesus was filled withcompassion.  Jesus was not motivated to heal because He could, but rather because He felt the heart of those that needed healing.  I believe Jesus looked passed the outward appearance of the man and saw someone hurting more on the inside than the outside.  This is why He reached out His hand and touched him before He healed him.  He did what no other human had done since this disease had befallen him.  He did what the man so eagerly longed for – a human touch.  He did the unthinkable and touched the untouchable.  Jesus loved him enough to meet him where He was, but He loved him too much to leave him there.  Jesus said, “I am willing, Be clean!”  This statement contains both His character and His power.  His compassion drove Him towards willingness and His nature unleashed His authority over physical disease.

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.       You are never out of God’s reach.

2.       There is nothing too hard for God.

3.       Bow before God this morning and make your request known to Him.

4.       God will meet you where you are.

5.       God is moved by compassion.

6.       God loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.

7.       His authority says He can, His character says He will.

If you are willing to take your issue to God, He is willing to turn your situation around!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I cast my cares and concerns upon You this morning.  You know what I secretly struggle with and I lay it at your feet.  I ask You to look beyond my outward appearance and to see my inner need.  Reach out to me this morning, even while I am in front of this computer, and touch me.  Cleanse me.  Wash me.  Make me whole.  I thank You for it in advance.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Centurion’s Servant – Great Faith! (top of page)

(Mat 8:10 KJV) When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the healing of the centurion’s servant.  Immediately after Jesus healed yesterday’s leper He entered into what would be the home base of His ministry, Capernaum.  A centurion (a Roman officer comparable to our US Company Commander) came seeking help for his servant.  His servant was lying at home paralyzed and in terrible pain.  Jesus, the man of compassion we discussed yesterday, said, “I will go and heal him.”  This seemed standard practice.  Jesus had healed several people by this point and He was willing to heal again.  The Roman soldier, however, was a man of authority.  He understood that the people he had authority over had to submit to him.  If he said, “go,” people went.  If he said, “do,” people did.  He was not Jew, nor did he understand scripture, but he did understand authority.  He understood that anyone who has authority over something can simply speak; and whatever he has authority over has to submit to the command.  This Roman officer then must have perceived that Jesus had authority over sickness.  No doubt he heard of Jesus healing the incurable leper.  It was with this perception that the centurion told Jesus that He did not need go to the house where the servant was, but all He need do was to “speak the word only” and his servant would be healed.  Our text says that Jesus marveled when He heard the centurion’s statement.  This was no longer business as usual.  This was no longer “I will believe it when I see it.”  This was now, “I will believe it when you SAY it,” and this was called great faith!

So what does this mean to you today? Two things:

1.       God’s Word is final:  Like the centurion in the text, we must resolve to accept the Word of God as fact and final authority in our lives.  As soon as Jesus spoke healing over the servant, the centurion was convinced that his servant was healed.  He did not have to see it to believe it.  He simply heard the Word and accepted it as truth.  Likewise, when we read the Word we must accept is as truth if it is going to make a difference in our lives.  Only the Word that we know and believe will make us free (John 8:31,32).

2.       Jesus came to re-transfer God’s authority to us:  I say re-transfer because God had already delegated dominion in the earth to the first Adam (Gen 1:26).  Jesus came to restore us to the same authority that Adam had in the garden.  Jesus ministered to many needs in the earth and He Himself declared that we would do what He did and even greater works (John 14:12).  Jesus also said that believers would cast out devils, speak with new tongues, be protected from deadly attacks, and be used of God to heal the sick (Mark 16:17,18).  So, although we can appreciate the centurion’s faith as He requested that Jesus speak to his circumstance, we do not have that same luxury.  If we expect Jesus to come and speak to our circumstances, we will be waiting a long time.  Jesus came to restore the Holy Spirit back to man, so that we could speak to our own circumstances, in His name, and through His power.  That is our Great Faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for Your Word.  Your Word is truth and it is the final authority in my life.  You have blessed with me with Your precious Holy Spirit and I declare that I will submit to the Holy Spirit today and every day.  Use me for Your service.  Use me to minister to the sick, the downtrodden, and the discouraged.  Use me to speak a Word, share a hug, offer a listening ear, or whatever the need may be.  Use me to be a blessing to someone today.  I offer myself to You.  Like Jesus, I am available for Your service.    In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Peter’s Mother-in-Law – Saved to Serve (top of page)

(Mat 8:14,15 KJV) And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.  And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.  This account is barely mentioned from the pulpit and seems to be overshadowed by the many great works of Jesus in the earth, but it is nonetheless noteworthy.  After Jesus spoke a Word of healing over the centurion’s servant, from yesterday’s message, He traveled with the disciples to Peter’s house.  When He got there He saw Peter’s wife’s mother lying in bed with a fever.  Now, most people think that prayer, healing, miracles, and the such are reserved for cancer, AIDS, and terminal illnesses; but God is as much interested in removing a headache as He is removing cancer.  Anything that is keeping us from walking in the fullness of God is a hindrance to overflow and it is the will of God that we maximize our potential and our purpose in the earth.  Jesus did not overlook the fever, nor did He ignore that fact that they the fever had left her bedridden.  He came over, not because Peter asked, nor because the woman begged, but motivated again by the compassion of His character, and touched her hand.  She could not come to Him, so He came to her and met her in her hour of need.  Her fever left her body as quickly as His hand left her skin.  She was now restored to health and was now fully capable of operating in Gods’ best for her life.  So what did she do?  Did she get up and run to church?  Did she go to her prayer room and have a worship service?  Did she fall down and cry tears of joy over Jesus’ feet?  NO!  Jesus got up and waited on her guests.  The word “ministered” in the text is the word for service.  She realized that she was now fully capable of doing what she would have been doing if she were not hindered and as soon as she was able, she got busy doing just that – she took care of the her guests, like any honorable person would.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       It is the will of God that we walk in overflow.

2.       It is the will of God that every hindrance to overflow be removed.

3.       God is just as interested in removing a headache or a fever as He is any other hindrance.  So it is OK to pray about anything that is keeping you from God’s best.

4.       We were not saved to sit, we were saved to serve.

5.       Although we call what we do at church “service,” we don’t really go to church to serve.  We go to church worship; we should leave the church to serve.

6.       God wants us healed, healthy, blessed, and prosperous; so we can “serve” him by making a difference in a dying and decaying world.

7.       Like Peter’s mother-in-law (or as I like to say, mother-in-love), we must seek to do all that God has blessed us to do.  We should not sit down on our abilities, but rather maximize our potential and our purpose!

What are you fully able to do for Christ that you have been failing to do?  Make up in your mind today that you will make a change towards service!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know that You saved me to serve and not to sit.  I repent for sitting down on the gifts that You have blessed me with and I declare that I will step out in faith today and every day and seek to be used of You in every area You have blessed me to be used.  I thank You to removing every hindrance and enabling me to maximize my potential and my purpose.  I am blessed and I will act like it!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Calming the Sea – the Confidence to Sleep through the Storm (top of page)

(Mark 4:41 NIV) They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the calming of the sea.  Jesus had already had a busy day ministering to the sick and teaching parables to those who followed Him.  He also still had a long day ahead of Him and would perform many more miracles.  Evening was drawing near; He took a pause from teaching, and told His disciples that they would go over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (v.35).  He left crowd behind and entered a boat with His disciples.  Jesus then entered the stern of the ship and went to sleep on a cushion.  He was all God, but He was also all man, and He was tired.  While He was taking His nap a storm began to rage.  The storm was fierce and it caused huge waves.  The waves broke over the boat, the boat began to take on water, and it seemed like they might go down.  The whole while, Jesus was sleeping through the storm.  Jesus had already spoken – in faith – that they would arrive at the other side.  There was no need for Him to worry.  The disciples, however, were not at the same level.  Although they were there when He turned water into wine, healed a leper with His compassion, the Centurion’s servant with His words, and Peter’s mother-in-law with His touch; they were still afraid.  The disciples woke up the sleeping Jesus and asked Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up,rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”  They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       If you release your faith over something, then you must have the confidence that God will bring it to pass, no matter what circumstances may arise that seem to contradict it.

2.       If you truly walk in faith, then you will be able to sleep through storms, knowing that your faith is working, even when you cannot “see” it working.

3.       Rest is spiritual.  It is not the will of God that we run hard 24 hrs. a day, and 7 days a week.  Jesus needed rest and so do we.

4.       Fear moves satan, faith moves God.  Jesus was resting in faith and the disciples were stirred up in fear.  The enemy will always attempt to cripple our faith by attacking us to the point of fear.  You cannot operate in fear and faith at the same time.

5.       Jesus always deals with the root of the issue.  The text says that He rebuked the wind first and then spoke to the waves.  The waves were only reacting to the wind.  So whenever storms rage in your life (marriage, workplace, children, etc.), seek to find the root of the issue first, and deal with that.  Once you deal with the root problem, everything else will fall into place.

Do you have enough faith in your faith to sleep through the storms the enemy will bring your way?  If not, then repeat the prayer of the father in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; but help my unbelief.”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank Your for teaching me through Your Word to walk in faith in every area and aspect of my faith.  I am a person of faith.  I live by faith, walk by faith, pray by faith, fight the good fight of faith, and overcome the world through faith.  I enter into rest, because of the confidence I have in the faith I release over my life through Your Word.  I am able to sleep through any storm and know that You will bring me through, in accordance with my faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Delivering a Legion of Demons – Tell Your Story! (top of page)

(Mark 5:20 CEV) The man went away into the region near the ten cities known as Decapolis and began telling everyone how much Jesus had done for him. Everyone who heard what had happened was amazed.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the deliverance of a demon possessed man.  This story is a bit long, but I will attempt to summarize.  After Jesus calmed the storm (from yesterday’s message) He and the disciples arrived in the land of Gad.  When Jesus got out of the boat, a demon possessed man emerged from the tombs to meet Him.  This man was in His element.  He roamed through the tombs day and night crying out and cutting himself with stones.  No one was strong enough to subdue him and he simply broke through the links when others attempted to bind him with chains.  This supposed lunatic ran and kneeled himself before Jesus and shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”  Jesus looked passed the erratic behavior, the outward façade, and the awkward declaration; and saw a man that needed deliverance.  Jesus perceived that this man was demon possessed.  The title the man used for Jesus was the title that satan attempted to elevate himself to – El Elyon, the Most High God.  No doubt Jesus understood the pun and said, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!  What is your name?”  “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”  Then the demons begged Jesus to send them into a nearby heard of pigs.  Jesus granted their wish and the demons traveled into the herd of 2,000 pigs and the pigs rushed then rushed themselves into the nearby water and were drowned.  The people tending the pigs ran off to report the event to the town.  The members of the town quickly gathered and asked Jesus to leave.  But then there was this man, the man that no one understood, the man that no one could restrain, and he was now clothed in his right mind.  He was tormented by a legion of demons and was now free.  This man was so grateful that he wanted to go with Jesus and follow Him, but Jesus did not let him.  Jesus said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”  Our text says that the man went and told everyone how much Jesus had done for him and those who heard his testimony were amazed.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       God will go to great lengths to meet us where we are.  Jesus stopped what He was doing, got into a boat, and traveled through a storm; just to minister to this man that no one understood.

2.       Jesus had power of all the power over the enemy and He has given that same power to us (Luke 10:19).

3.       Not everyone is called to be a preacher from the pulpit.  Jesus did not allow the man to follow Him and become a disciple, but He did urge the man tell his story.  The man may have never worn clergy attire, but he did make his rounds in that region and told his story to all who listened and God got the glory.

4.       You have a story to tell.  You may not wear a preacher’s collar, you may never stand behind a pulpit, you may not furnish a title, you may not be able to quote scripture, but you have a story to tell.  What has God done in your life?  Whatever it is, God had been too good to you to keep it to yourself!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for ministering to me.  You have met me, time and time again, where I was and reached me just when I needed you.  I declare that I will not sit down on my story.  I am available to You.  Use me to share Your goodness with others for Your glory.  Help me to have the confidence to tell my story.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Paralyzed man carried by his friends – Can people “See” your faith? (top of page)

(Luke 5:20 NIV) When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the healing of a paralyzed man carried by his friends.  One day Jesus was teaching inside of a house and Pharisees, teachers, people from surrounding villages filled the house to hear Jesus.  The house reached max capacity, so people stood outside to hear a glimpse of what Jesus said.  At the same time there was a man who was paralyzed.  No doubt he had heard of Jesus and knew that Jesus was his chance for a breakthrough.  Four of his friends committed to get him into the presence of Jesus.  They heard where Jesus was and carried their friend there.  They arrived at the house, only to find it busting at the seems.  What would they do?  Would they pack up and go home?  Would they tell their friend, “Sorry buddy, we tried.”  Would they wait until the crowd dissipated?  NO!  They were there to see the power of God manifested in the life of their friend and they would not take no for an answer.  They carried their friend up to the top of the house, tore a hole in the roof, and then lowered their buddy into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.  Wow!  Can you picture the seen?  Our text says that Jesus saw their action and called it “faith.”  Jesus then forgave the man his sins.  The Pharisees and the teachers of the law immediately thought that Jesus was committing blasphemy by claiming to forgive sins, but Jesus explained that it was easier to say, “’Your sins are forgiven” than to actually heal someone, but so that they would believe, He instructed the man to get up from his paralytic condition and, much to the amazement of everyone present, the man immediately stood up in front of them and carried the thing that had been carrying him, his mat.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Choose your friends wisely.  This man received his breakthrough because his friends refused to take no for an answer.  You should ensure that you have some friends of like precious faith.

2.       Don’t allow small obstacles to keep you from your breakthrough.  There will always be things that can get in the way of your intimate fellowship with God, but be determined to get into the presence of God, no matter what.

3.       Have visible faith.  We live in a society of skeptics.  Many in the world think faith is nothing more than the mystical optimism of modern people holding on to ancient stories, while many people of ‘the faith’ hide the reality of God from others under the guise of it being “personal.”  I am not saying that you need to thump a bible over the head of every person you come in contact with, but I do advocate living a life of “visible faith.”  Jesus “saw” their faith and He “saw” it in their actions.  Faith is an action word.  If we truly live what it is that we say we believe, then people will be able to “see” our faith in the living out of our lives.

Can the world “see” Jesus in you?  That is the question.  If not, it is time to make some changes!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare that I live a life of faith.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I act out my faith in my daily pursuit of intimacy with You.  I do not flaunt my faith, but I do not hide it either.  I am who I am.  I am whom You have made me to be.  I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is Your power unto salvation, to every one that believes.  Use me as an example of Your righteousness today.  That the world may see Jesus in me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Raising a little girl from the Dead – A Father’s Declaration of Faith (Part 1) (top of page)

(Mark 5:23 KJV) And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the raising of a little girl from the dead.  This story is too long and too powerful to deal with in one message, so we will break it up into two.  After Jesus delivered the demon possessed man in the land of Gad, He got back into the boat with His disciples and headed back over the water.  He had left a large crowd behind and sure enough, there was a crowd there awaiting His return.  When the boat arrived at the shore and Jesus started heading toward the people, someone seemed to break through the crowd.  This was no ordinary man.  This was a man of position and prominence in the community.  This was a man of stature.  This was a ruler of the synagogue.  No doubt people in the crowd knew this man.  Not only did they know him, but surely he knew some of them.  What is interesting to note is that he must have also known the local priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees.  What could this man want with Jesus?  What could this man need that he could not get from his religious friends?  He broke through the crowd, saw Jesus, and fell at his feet.  He stripped himself of his position, his reputation, and his affiliation; and humbled himself before Jesus before He said anything.  When he finally spoke, the motivation of his actions was exposed.  His little daughter was dying and he could do nothing about it.  No doubt he would have went to his religious friends (Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees) had he believed they could change his situation, but this man mustered up the courage to go to the one man his friends were afraid of, the one man they were marking as their enemy.  Yes, this man swallowed his pride and sought help from the ‘other side,’ because he perceived that Jesus was the only one that could help him at this point.  And then right there, while still on the ground, with all the people watching, he spoke faith.  Right after admitting that his little daughter was dying, he said, “I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”  What was he saying?  He was saying, with his own lips, that Jesus was the answer to his daughter’s condition.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Appreciate the authority you have been granted (at work, home, etc.), but realize when your situation exceeds your authority.

2.       When your situation exceeds your authority, you must seek the one who has authority over the situation you are confronted with.

3.       Leaders are some of the hardest people to get to worship, but if you are going to get your breakthrough, you must swallow your pride and position and bow down before Jesus!

4.       The man in the text worshipped Jesus before he ever asked Him for anything.  We need to learn to spend time with God in worship and allow our worship to usher us into prayer.

5.       Explain your concerns to God, but then speak your desired outcome – in faith.  As soon as Jairus explained his situation, he spoke his desired outcome and it caused Jesus to move in accordance with his declaration of faith.

6.       And finally, love your children.  This man went to great lengths and great embarrassment for his daughter.  There should be nothing we will not do for our children!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are the ultimate authority in my life.  I appreciate the influence You have given me in the earth.  I thank You for the ability You have blessed me with.  Whenever I face anything that exceeds my ability, I know that I can confidently approach You and tap into Your ability.  Your ability on my ability enables me to accomplish what I cannot do alone.  I speak my desired outcome and know that my household is blessed in everything that we put our hands to do.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Raising a little girl from the Dead – Fear vs. Faith (Part 2) (top of page)

(Mark 5:36 CEV) Jesus heard what they said, and he said to Jairus, “Don’t worry. Just have faith!”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ and pick up where we left off yesterday.  Jairus had made his declaration of faith by requesting that Jesus come and lay His hands on his daughter.  Jesus agreed and took off with him,  As soon as they started moving towards the house, the nosy crowd followed.  Someone broke free from the crowd, touched Jesus, and was healed from a blood irregularity (we will discuss her next week).  Someone else came from Jairus’ house while Jesus was still talking to the lady about her healing and told Jairus, “Your daughter is dead, why bother the teacher any more?”  This was a critical point.  He had waited for Jesus to return from the land of Gad, swallowed his pride and his reputation by bowing down to Jesus and asking for His help, made a declaration of faith that moved Jesus to come, but now it seemed like it was too late.  His daughter was now dead.  Yes, his daughter was dead, but the critical question that Jesus needed answered was, “Was his faith dead?”  Living faith can get you past dead situations.  Jesus perceived that the ultimate tool of the enemy (fear) was flooding through Jairus’ body.  Fear has an incapacitating power.  Jesus basically told Jairus that he has a decision to make.  He said,“Don’t worry. Just have faith!” In other words, “Don’t operate in fear, continue to operate in faith.”  Jairus took the advice.  His daughter was dead, but his faith was still alive.  They continued the journey, but not before Jesus stopped nine of the twelve disciples from coming any further.  He only brought his inner circle (Peter, James, and John).  They got to the house, Jesus asked everyone to leave that was incapable of believing what He would do.  He then took the little girl by the hand, spoke to her, and she got up and walked around.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Satan will always attack our declaration of faith.

2.       Living faith can overcome dead situations.

3.       Don’t allow what you see, or hear, to change what you say.  Jairus spoke faith and Jesus urged him not to allow fear to change his declaration.

4.       Once again, fear cancels faith and faith cancels fear.  You have to make a determination in your heart on which force you will allow to operate in your life.

5.       Not everyone is going to be “for you” in difficult times.  Only confide in your inner circle of ‘faith friends’ when the going gets rough and know that they will set their faith in agreement with yours.

6.       God will honor your faith.  Jesus could have spoken healing over the girl from the seashore.  He could have anointed her with oil when He got to the house.  He could have done all sorts of things to bring her deliverance, but He healed her exactly like Jairus asked Him to in his declaration of faith.  When we make a declaration of faith and do not allow our faith to die when contradictory circumstances arise, then God will honor our faith and minister to us in accordance with it.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, No matter what happens, I will not allow what I see to change what I say.  I know that living faith can overcome dead situations.  There is nothing too hard for You and when I come to You, in faith, I know that I tap into Your supernatural power.  In difficult times I surround myself with the small circle of faith friends You have blessed me with and I have confidence that their faith, coupled with my faith, enable me to overcome every issue through Your power!  I am ready for this day.  I am a child of God and I am a child of faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Woman with the Issue of Blood – Taking the Time to meet a Need (top of page)

(Mark 5:30 NIV) At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with a very familiar story, the woman with the issue of blood.  We already discussed how that Jesus, Jairus, the disciples, and the crowd all traveled to Jairus’ house for the healing of his little daughter.  Jesus was coming from ministering a breakthrough (casting out a legion of demons in the land of Gad), was headed to minister a breakthrough (bringing Jairus’ daughter back to life) and sandwiched between the two is a woman who is looking for a breakthrough herself.  The bible says that she had an issue of blood for twelve years.  This meant that her menstrual cycle had literally not stopped in 12 years.  She was physically debilitated because of the constant loss of blood and psychologically bruised because of the legal parameters of her condition.  The Law caused her to stay away from everyone while she was in her condition and it basically made her a prisoner in her own body (see Lev 15:19-31).  Identify with her for a moment.  She was physically drained, emotionally scarred, and socially outcast.  To make it worse, she spent all her money on doctors and did not get any better, but rather grew worse.  Financially broke, physically bleeding, and psychologically bruised; but she still managed to muster up enough faith to speak a declaration (If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health) and carry it out.  She busted through the crowd, touched Jesus’ garment, and immediately the bleeding stopped.

I have shared several messages where I have focused on the woman.  Identifying with the woman is good, because we must be able to identify with those who are hurting, but today I feel led to lead us in personally identifying with Jesus.  There were people touching Jesus all over, but He had enough spiritual discernment to know that someone touched Him in faith.  He asked, “Who touched my clothes?”  The disciples were confused because several people had touched His clothes, but Jesus knew this was different.  As he looked around, the woman fell at his feet and told Him the whole truth.  We are sure how long this took.  Yes, He was en route to Jairus’ house.  Yes, the little girl was dying.  Yes, the crowd was following to see what would happen.  But Jesus ignored all of that long enough to minister to a woman that was hurting and needed healing.  Her physical body had just been healed, but psychologically she was still distraught.  She had experienced very little social interaction over the previous 12 years and Jesus took the time to listen to her story.  After listening to her, he spoke a Word over her and sent her on her way.  He went on to raise the little girl from the dead, but He did not ignore this woman who also needed a touch from God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that although we are all very busy, we should never be too busy to take the time to minister to a real need.  Like Jesus, it will take spiritual discernment to know what is important enough to stop for, but if we feel led of the Spirit to stop and talk to someone, we should not ignore it and rush off.  Never underestimate the power of a few minutes well spent.  So as you enter this day, remember that there are people that need a kind word, a soft shoulder, a listening ear, or a prayer partner.  If you feel a nudge to offer any of these to someone today, please take the time to do so.  God will be pleased and they will be touched!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for always having the time to minister to my need.  I also thank You for sending people my way to minister to me in ways that only another human can.  I now offer myself for that same purpose.  Use me to be a blessing to someone else today.  I am available for Your service.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Two Blind Men – Do you believe God can do what you are asking of Him? (top of page)

(Mat 9:28 NIV) When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the healing of two blind men.  After Jesus raised the little girl from the dead He left Jairus’ house and two blind men followed him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”  When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  They said, “Yes, Lord.”  Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you” and their sight was restored.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s walk through a few golden nuggets from this short passage:

1.       We must acknowledge who Jesus is.  Jesus grew up in Nazareth and Nazareth was considered a ghetto.  It was so bad that Nathanael asked when he heard of Jesus, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  Those that denounced His ministry referred to him as ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’  In other words, they were identifying Jesus with His neighborhood and not His destiny.  There were others who knew that the Messiah would come from the house of David and those that believed – or at least had an indication that Jesus was the Messiah – like the two blind men in the text, called Him the “Son of David.”  Point:  You will never receive from God, through Jesus, until you realize that Jesus was more than a mere prophet.

2.       We must believe God can do what we are asking of Him.  You will never ask someone for a million dollars, with a true expectation of receiving it, if you perceive that the person you are asking does not have a million dollars.  In other words, an honest request is an acknowledgement that the person we are making the request of is capable of meeting it.  The fact that they two blind men came to Jesus asking for mercy was an indication that they perceived that He could do something about their situation.  They believed that He was capable.  Capability and actual performance are not the same thing.  Jesus was fully capable, but God’s action was always tied to faith.  Point:  They fact that you come to God in prayer about something is an acknowledgement that you believe He can do something about it.

3.       Faith is the key that unlocks breakthrough.  Jesus called their belief ‘faith.’  He did not move until they demonstrated and released faith for Him to move.  God is more than capable of meeting anything that we face.  God is also willing to meet us where we are.  The question is never can God?  Or will God?  The issue is always with us and is always tied to our faith.  Point:  If you have the faith, God has the power!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I come to You in the name of Jesus.  I acknowledge that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered, bled, died, and was risen from the dead for the remission of my sins.  I know who He was and I acknowledge who He is in my life.  Jesus now gives me access to You, Father, and I come to You in faith.  In faith I believe that You have favor me today, make crooked paths straight, give me preferential treatment, open doors that no man can close and close doors that no man can open.  I walk in Your favor, I am an expression of Your glory, I am an example of Your righteousness in the earth.  Everything I do today is blessed.  Lord, be it unto me, according to my faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The demon possessed Mute – A Divided Kingdom cannot stand! (top of page)

(Mat 9:34 NIV) But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with the healing of a mute.  As news went out across the land about the miracles of Jesus a man approached Jesus who could not talk.  Jesus immediately dealt with the root of the issue.  This man was demon possessed and the demon was problem.  Jesus drove the demon out and the man who had been mute began to speak.  Jesus enabled him to do what he had previously been unable to do.  Jesus restored function to the dysfunctional.  The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”  And therein lies the problem.  The crowd was now appreciating the work of God through Jesus, but they were also acknowledging that this had not been happening through the Pharisees or Sadducees.  The religious leadership of the time had a lot of rhetoric, but they did not have any power to back up what they said.  They did not display any real manifestations of God and the true needs of people were not being met.  Once they began to be exposed, they fired back.  The Pharisees were not sure what to say, but they knew they needed to act fast.  They were losing people to this man named Jesus and they realized that He had something they did not have.  He was actually meeting the needs of people.  The dead were made to live, the blind could see, the mute could talk.  What could they say?  They said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”  This was a ridiculous accusation.  They wanted to now attribute the acts of God to satan.  Why?  Because they did not have anything else to say and they were losing people faster than they could realize.  Jesus said, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.  If satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:17,18).

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       There is nothing too hard for God.  Blindness, muteness, Cancer, AIDS, etc.; are big problems, but not bigger than God.  God can meet any need and turn any situation around.

2.       God always goes to the root of the issue.  In this case the root was a demon, so He dealt with that.  In other cases the root may be an unresolved pain, or unforgiveness, or etc.; whatever it is, God wants to deal with the root of your issue.

3.       Jesus acknowledged that satan has a kingdom.  There is the Kingdom of God and there is also a kingdom of satan; of which we were all a part of in times past (Eph 2:2).

4.       A divided Kingdom cannot stand.  Unity brings strength, division brings weakness.  Satan divided Eve from Adam and he uses the same tactic today.  The Pharisees could have embraced Jesus, but instead they alienated themselves from Him.  Satan will always attempt to bring division in the body of Christ.

5.       Finally, there will always be some “nay-sayers” around to attempt to discredit what you are doing.  Jesus did not give them much attention and neither should we.  Pray for them and move on!  They cannot stop what God is doing in your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I understand that You can meet every need in my life.  I come to You and declare that my every need is met, I have nothing missing, nothing lacking, nothing broken.  I am whole and I am healed!  I also understand that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.  I speak unity over my family, my relationships, my local church body, and the body of Christ universal.  Greatness is too great of a task for one person.  I am not in this alone.  I am connected to brothers and sisters in the body and together we are stronger than alone!  I face this day with the strength of unity and the encouragement of completeness!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The man with the withered hand – ‘Expose your issue to Jesus’ (top of page)

(Mat 12:13 CEV) Then Jesus told the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man did, and it became as healthy as the other one.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  Matthew 12 opens with Jesus and His disciples traveling through grainfields on the Sabbath.  His disciples were hungry, picked heads of grain, and ate them.  A group of Pharisees saw this and accused them of working on the Sabbath.  Jesus went on to discuss the Sabbath with them and explained that He was the Lord of the Sabbath (v.8).  The Pharisees, of course, did not like that statement.  The group then traveled from the fields to their synagogue and there was a man with a withered hand there.  The Pharisees did not want to let the issue go and asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”  He replied, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?  How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!  Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”  And now we get to the man who was caught up in the middle of this religious debate.  Jesus diverted His focus from the Pharisees to the man with a true need and said, “Hold out your hand.”  The man did, and it became as healthy as the other one.  Sadly, the Pharisees left the synagogue and began to plot how they might kill Jesus.

So what does this mean to you today? For the purposes of this lesson we will focus only on the man with the withered hand.  Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets from his dilemma:

1.       God is a God of compassion.  Jesus was being drawn down a rabbit trail of religious rhetoric, but His compassion for a real need would not let Him ignore the man with a withered hand.  It is this same compassion that motivates God to meet us in our time of need.

2.       God is full of compassion, but is moved by faith.  Although I believe Jesus was full of compassion towards the man, He did not heal the man because of compassion alone.  He still required the man to operate in faith.  The man was watching this religious debate unfold and I am sure that he did not want to get involved.  Out of the blue, Jesus asked him to hold out his hand.  Other translations literally say, “stretch forth you hand.”  If his hand was withered or shriveled, then Jesus was asking him to do something that he could not do before and this would require faith.  The man somehow mustered the faith to at least give it a try.  When he did, his withered hand became as healthy as his other hand.  God will often stretch us to the point where what He asks us to do requires faith, because it is something that we simply cannot do without Him.

3.       We must be willing to Expose our issue to Jesus.  Think about this for a moment.  What if the man was so self-conscious about his withered hand that he kept it hidden?  Remember, Jesus asked him to hold out his hand, but He did not say which one.  He could have easily held out the good hand, but if he had, he would have never received his breakthrough.  If we fail to expose our issue – whatever it might be – to God, then we will fail to receive our breakthrough.  We like to show our ‘good hand’ to people, but we must be willing to expose our ‘withered hand’ to God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know You are a God of compassion.  You love me and care for me.  It is because of Your love for me that I can continually come to You and know You will move in my life.  You are moved by faith and I release my faith over myself and my family for this day.  I believe that You can and will empower us to prosper today and accomplish everything we must get done, all for Your glory.  I am also willing to expose myself, completely, to You.  I open up every issue, every hurt, every pain, every sin, and ask You to cleanse me afresh.  With Your power, I can do what I cannot do alone.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Feeding the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves – A Seed for every Need (top of page)

(John 6:11 CEV)  Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  John 6 opens with a great crowd following Jesus because of the miracles He had done.  Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with His disciples.  As the crowd approached, Jesus asked, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  Phillip, also known as the ‘analytical one,’ immediately began to calculate and said; “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”  Andrew spoke up and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”  Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.”  The people did as the disciples instructed them and sat down on the grass.  There were about 5,000 men, not counting the women and children.  Then Jesus took what was given to Him, blessed it, broke it, and gave it.  Everyone ate as much as they wanted and there was still 12 baskets left over.

So what does this mean to you today? Several things:

1.       God is a God of abundance:  We must learn to think like the God we serve.  Phillip, because of his analytical nature, began to do the math and calculated how much money they needed for each person to have just one bite of bread.  If he did the math for just one bite, he could have just as easily done the math for a full meal.  Jesus was not looking to feed these people one bite of bread.  The text says that they had as much as they wanted, they ate until they were full, and there were still 12 baskets of food left over.  God is a God of abundance and we must learn to think like Him if we are to receive abundantly from Him.  Jesus said that he came that we might have life and live it to the full (John 10:10 AMP).

2.       There is a seed for every need:  I did an entire series on the Principles of Sowing and Reaping.  There was clearly a need in the text (over 5,000 hungry people) and the need exceeded their resources.  The need was in the crowd, but there was a “seed” in the crowd that could meet the need.  The provision did not come from the disciples, nor did it really come from Jesus.  The little boy in the text sowed the seed that met the need.  Jesus received the seed and produced the harvest from the seed.  Likewise, we must be willing to sow a seed – whether it be love, mercy, forgiveness, good works, benevolence, finances, food, etc. – that will meet whatever the need is in our lives.

3.       A Process for Ministry:  The process that Jesus went through with the fish and the loaves is similar to the process that God ushers us through as He prepares us from ministry.  If you look at what Jesus did with the bread you see that He took it, blessed it, broke it and gave it.  Often times God, while He prepares us for the work of the ministry, will take us: receive us as we are; bless us: empower us to break free from our past; break us: usher us towards total surrender in Him; and give us: to be a blessing to someone else and to be an instrument of His anointing.

In closing: think big, sow seeds, and allow God to take you through the process required to make you the person that He has destined for you to be!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am a sower in the Kingdom.  I sow love, compassion, mercy, peace, money, and Your Word into the lives of others and into Your Kingdom.  I declare that You receive the seed and multiply it in Your hands.  I receive a correspondent return on every seed and I walk in the harvest of Your overflow.  I loose a seed for every need.  I think like You and my thoughts are thoughts of abundance.  I submit myself totally to You and I yield myself to be used by You, for Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jesus and Peter walking on water – The Power of Consistent Faith! (top of page)

(Mat 14:31 NIV)  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  After Jesus fed the 5,000 He made the disciples get into a boat and go on ahead of him to the other side of the lake.  He dismissed the crowd and went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.  Late into the evening Jesus sought to catch up with His disciples.  Not having a boat Himself, He walked on water to get to them.  John’s account (Jn 6:19) teaches us that they had rowed about 3 and a half miles and were just over half of the way there.  They were also battling a furious storm.  Jesus finally caught up with them in the fourth watch of the night (between 3am and 6am).  They were exhausted from battling the storm and the waves, tired from ministering with Jesus all day and now having to struggle across the lake in the middle of the night, and probably concerned because Jesus was not with them.  It was at this moment that they spotted Jesus coming to them on the water.  Their initial thought was that Jesus was a ghost and they were scared.  Jesus sensed their fear and said, “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus replied with one Word, “Come!”  It was then, after receiving a Word from God, that Peter did what no one other than Jesus had done, and he walked on water.  He conquered the limitations of this world.  He reigned over natural laws.  He made nature subject to faith.  He literally walked on water.  But his faith was short-lived.  He soon took his focus off of Jesus, regained consciousness, and realized what he was doing.  When he did that, he allowed himself to be overtaken by fear.  Remember, fear cancels faith and faith cancels fear.  His fear cancelled his faith and he began to sink.  He cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

So what does this mean to you today? This is a power-packed passage, but let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       There is a constant battle between faith and fear:  Fear is the tool of the enemy and faith is the tool of God.  When Jesus arrived on the scene the disciples thought he was a ghost and operated in fear.  Fear is never the will of God.  Jesus combated that fear with a Word and said, “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” Likewise, it is never the will of God that we operate in fear and the Word of God will combat the fear of the enemy in our lives.

2.       God is Lord over everything:  Natural laws tell us that walking on water is impossible, but God is not subject to natural laws.  God reigns over everything and He is not limited by anything.  There is nothing too hard for God.  So stop putting limits on a limitless God!

3.       We can do what Jesus did:  Jesus said that we would do what He did and even greater works (John 14:12).  Jesus was not the only person in the text that walked on water and that is encouraging for us to know.  It is the will of God that we operate like Him through faith.

4.       Consistent faith is the key:  Jesus said that Peter had little faith after he fell in the water.  This is not a comment about they type or the amount of faith that Peter had, but rather to the ‘length of time’ that he operated in it.  Peter had faith and faith is powerful, but he only operated in a ‘short burst of faith’ and then focused on his environment.  Likewise, we can do great things for God, but if we only operate in ‘short bursts of faith’ from time to time, we will not accomplish what we could if we had consistent faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk by faith and not by fear.  You are the Lord of Lords and I release my faith to the point where I take the limits off of You today.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  There is nothing You cannot do and I know it is Your will that I operate like You in the earth.  I will walk in consistent faith and consistent faith is the key to breakthrough in every area of my life.  Nothing and no one can stop me when I operate in consistent faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Syro–Phoenician Woman’s Daughter – Consistent Faith in Action Again! (top of page)

(Mat 15:28 NIV)  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Matthew 15 Jesus entered the region of Tyre and Sidon, an area also known as Syro-Phoenicia.  A Syro–Phoenician woman came to Jesus crying, “LordSon of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  Jesus did not answer a word and His disciples urged Him to send her away, probably because she was as Gentile.  The only Gentile that Jesus had ministered to, to this point, was the Roman Centurion’s servant, and only then; because of his “great faith.”  Jesus told the woman, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  But this woman was persistent.  She fell down, worshipped Jesus and said, “Lord, help me!”  Then Jesus said something that would more than likely offend the average person.  He said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  The Jews commonly referred to Gentiles as dogs.  This was an acknowledgement of lineage, much more than her character.  The woman acknowledged her lineage and said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  In other words, she was saying, “I understand that Your ministry is focused on the Jews.  I understand that You came with a purpose.  I understand that the bulk of your anointing is Jewish-centered.  But I also understand that I am just asking for ‘one touch.’  I acknowledge that if you give me one once of the blessing that you are offering to the Jews, my daughter will be delivered.”  Similar to the Centurion, Jesus was moved by the faith of the woman.  He said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”  Her daughter was healed from that very hour.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things;

1.       We must acknowledge God for who He is if we want Him to operate in our lives:  First of all, when the woman came to Jesus she addressed Him as the Son of David and not Jesus of Nazareth.  This was an acknowledgement of His Divine Destiny.  And then every time she addressed Jesus after that, she called Him Lord.  Likewise, we cannot diminish our perspective of who God is and then expect to receive from Him.

2.       Worship often ushers us into God’s manifestation:  When Jesus initially sent her away, she failed to get discouraged.  She opted to fall down and worship Him instead of getting upset.  Worship always ushers us into the presence of God and releases God’s glory over our situation.  If you are facing an issue this morning where you believe God is not moving, try spending some time on your knees, worshipping the King of Glory!

3.       God honors faith:  Jesus was purpose driven.  Jesus was on a mission.  Jesus was attempting to make an impact on the Jews at the time.  But Jesus could not ignore faith.  This woman set her confident assurance in who He was and what she perceived that He could do for her daughter.  She would not take no for an answer.  She operated in faith and her faith was persistent.  Jesus honored that faith and delivered her daughter without ever going to see her.  He delivered her with His Words.  He had only done this previously with the Roman Centurion; once again, because of great faith.  Likewise, when we operate in faith and our faith is persistent, we will see God move in our lives, because God honors faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I acknowledge who You are in my life.  You are majestic and mighty.  You are powerful and true.  You sit on the circle of the earth.  You have all things in and under control.  You are my God, my Lord, and my King.  I honor and worship You this morning, even in front of this computer screen.  I reverence Your holy name.  I loose most holy faith over my circumstances and believe You are going to move in my life.  I have faith in my faith, because I am confident that You are a God that honors faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

An Epileptic Boy – Faith sees no impossibilities! (top of page)

(Mat 17:20 KJV)  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Matthew 17 Jesus encountered a man who approached Him and fell to his knees.  The man then said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, he has seizures and is suffering greatly.  He often falls into the fire or into the water.  I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”  Jesus expressed His frustration with the disciples before He dealt with the young man and his issue.  He said, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?”  He said this because He clearly expected His disciples to be able to meet these types of needs, by faith.  He expected His disciples to operate like He was operating and He was operating by faith.  After venting, Jesus still had to deal with the issue.  He asked them to bring the boy.  Jesus immediately perceived the root of the problem.  This was no medical issue, but rather a spiritual one.  He perceived that the cause of the seizures was a demon.  Jesus spoke to the demon and cast him out.  The demon came out and the boy was healed from that moment.  When everything died down the disciples humbly asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  Jesus explained that they failed to operate like He operated because of unbelief.  This word “unbelief” is also translated “lack of faith.”  Their failure was a faith failuremore than anything else.  He went on to explain that if they had even as much as a mustard seed’s amount of faith, they could speak to any obstacle (mountain) and the obstacle would have to move.  The last statement in our text is very powerful.  Jesus wrapped it up by saying, “and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

So what does this mean to you today? There is a lot here, but let’s glean a few golden nuggets for this Monday morning and this week:

1.       Jesus expects us to operate like Him in the earth (John 14:12).

2.       Faith is our key to operating like Jesus in the earth.

3.       Doubt, fear, and unbelief cancel faith.

4.       Faith cancels doubt, fear, and unbelief.

5.       God can give us the spiritual discernment to see the “root issue” in any situation.

6.       God desires for us to always deal with the “root issue,” thereby bringing about total change.

7.       God desires for us to operate in the language of faith; the faith that speaks to any obstacle and expects it to move.

8.       Faith sees no impossibilities and is limited only by our self-imposed restrictions.

Are you putting limits on a limitless God? There is absolutely nothing that God is incapable of doing and He has delegated His supernatural authority to overcome impossibilities to us; but we can only tap into the realm of limitless possibilities by faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You released Kingdom Dominion to mankind in the earth.  Adam lost that authority, but Jesus died that we might regain it.  Jesus restored the Kingdom to mankind and I declare that I walk in Kingdom Dominion today, through the vehicle of faith.  My faith cancels every fear, doubt, and unbelief.  I speak the language of faith.  I speak to every obstacle, in faith, and know that it will move.  I speak to every hindrance, in faith, and know that it will dissipate.  I see no impossibilities, because I look at my life through the lens of faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Two Blind Men – Persistent Faith releases Breakthrough! (top of page)

(Mat 20:31 NIV)  The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  Matthew 20 opens with Jesus teaching parables in Jericho.  He finished up the parables and informed the disciples of His impending death.  The Mother of the Zebedee’s sons (James and John) took that opportunity request special positions of honor for her two boys, but Jesus responded with a lesson on humility and servanthood.  As Jesus and His disciples wrapped things up and left Jericho a large followed them.  Two blind men were sitting by the roadside and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “LordSon of Davidhave mercy on us!”  The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  Their persistence caused Jesus to stop.  He called out to them and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”  This is where their general request (have mercy on us) became a specific one.  They answered, “Lord, we want our sight.”  Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.  Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Always reverence God:  Like many of the other people that Jesus ministered miracles to these two blind men came in reverence and respect for the awesomeness of Jesus.  They referred to Him as Lord and the Son of David.  Both references to His divine nature.  Likewise, when we come to God we must come with reverence and awe.

2.       Never let anyone change your prayer:  They called out to Jesus and said, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”  The crowd wanted them to stop and be quiet, but they ignored the crowd and they yelled the same thing again.  They did not allow the crowd to keep them from their breakthrough and they did not allow the crowd to change their declaration.  They needed a touch from God and they remained persistent in their faith.  Likewise, when we come to God we must remain persistent and not allow anyone, nor anything to change our declaration of faith.

3.       Don’t be afraid to get specific with God:  Some people think it is presumptuous to specific with God in prayer, as if ambiguity is somehow a form of humility.  A request for mercy is a general request.  Although this general request caused Jesus to stop, He did not move until He asked them specifically what they wanted Him to do.  They got specific and said, “Lord, we want our sight;” and they got exactly what they asked for!  Likewise, we must never be afraid of getting specific in our prayer life.  God is a God of specificity.

4.       Don’t ignore the power of a prayer partner:  If you examine this text you will find that both blind men spoke as “one man.”  They had “one voice.”  They had “one request.”  They were partners in this and they were both blessed.  There is power in unity.  Never underestimate the power of being able to set your faith in agreement with someone else’s faith in prayer.  You can always for pray yourself, but seek God to have someone in your life that you can release your faith together with.  There is power in combined faith.

Is your faith persistent this morning?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I reverence Your holy name.  I extol Your glory, majesty, and might.  I honor You as God, besides whom there is no other.  I release most holy faith over my specific petitions, in accordance with Your Word, and believe that You will honor that faith and bring them to pass; all for Your glory.  I pray with others when I can and alone if need be and know that You will always honor the faith in which I come.  This day is a blessed day.  My faith is persistent and my expectations are high!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A demon possessed man – Operating in Authority and Power! (top of page)

(Luke 4:36 MSG)  That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, “What’s going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Luke 4 we find Jesus in Capernaum; a town in Galilee that became His ministry headquarters.  He was there and, like any other preacher, He taught the Word on the Sabbath.  The people were amazed, however, because He did not teach like any other preacher.  He was not like the Pharisees or the Sadducees.  Jesus did not offer mere “lip service” to the Word; He was a walking, talking, example of righteousness.  His teaching captivated people because His message had authority.  He did not teach the Word with timidity or uncertainty, but rather with confidence and conviction.  His preaching and teaching was also followed by demonstration.  While He was teaching in the synagogue a demon possessed man cried out at the top of his lungs and said, “Jesus of Nazareth, what do you want with us?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”  Remember that those that honored Jesus called Him the “Son of David,” but those that dishonored Him called Him “Jesus of Nazareth.”  Jesus was not moved by the uproar and sternly addressed the situation.  He said, “Be quiet!  Come out of him!”  Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.  This is where everyone was truly amazed.  They said to each other, “What’s going on here? Someone whose words make things happen?  Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?”

So what does this mean to you today? This morning we will focus on Jesus’ actions and not so much the demon possessed man.  Let’s see what golden nuggets we can draw from Jesus:

1.       Share the Word with authority (Word and Deed):  You may not be a licensed Minister, where clergy attire, or be a graduate of seminary; but you can still share the Word of God with others with authority, vigor, and conviction.  What set Jesus apart from the others was that He was both confident in what He was preaching and more importantly, He was preaching was He was living.  Likewise, we must seek to share the Word with authority and conviction; but more importantly, our living must match our words.  Our video must match our audio!

2.       Be willing to allow God to meet other’s needs through you:  Jesus was teaching, but He did not allow His time behind the pulpit to override a true need in the congregation.  Dr. Wiersbe says of ministry, “Ministry takes place when Divine Resources meet human needs, through loving channels, to the glory of God.”  In this story Jesus was the loving channel through which God ministered a breakthrough.  Wherever you are this morning, you can become that same loving channel through which God touches someone else.  Are you ready to be used for God?

3.       Speak the Language of Faith:  I have shared many times that faith does not speak what it sees, but it rather speaks its desired outcome.  Faith speaks and makes things happen.  Jesus did not say one word about what the man said.  He simply spoke under the authority and power given to Him and believed that what He said would come to pass.  Likewise, we must always remember to speak the language of faith (see series on developing the language of faith).

God has given us both power and authority (Luke 9:1).  Are you ready to allow God to use what He was blessed you with for His glory today?  Remember, you are not the manufacturer, but simply the distributor.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your Word.  You Word is to my Spirit man what air is to my carnal man.  Your Word is the air I breathe.  Your Word is health to my navel and marrow to my bones.  I receive Your Word with hunger and thirst.  I share Your Word with power and authority.  I surrender myself to be used by You to be a blessing to someone else today.  I speak the language of faith, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with Your Word, and I believe that hopeless situations will turn around.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A deaf man with a speech impediment – Tailor made Ministry! (top of page)

(Mark 7:33 NIV) After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  After Jesus healed the Syro-Phoenician woman (discussed earlier) He traveled from Tyre, went through Sidon, and came to Decapolis.  It was here that we encounter another miracle that involved the assistance of others.  In Luke 5 we discussed a man that was paralyzed and could not get to Jesus, so his four friends carried him to his breakthrough, tearing up a roof in the process.  In Decapolis there was a man that was deaf and could barely speak.  His speech impediment was probably tied to his deafness, being that we develop our speech through our hearing.  The text says that “some people” brought him to Jesus and begged Him to place His hands on the man.  Looking at the circumstances I see that this man was in a bad situation.  In every miracle we have discussed thus far we have seen faith.  Either the person acted in faith, spoke faith, or demonstrated faith in some way.  Even in the story of the aforementioned paralyzed man we saw faith.  Although he man did not necessarily demonstrate faith, Jesus saw the faith of his friends (Luke 5:20).  The people that brought this man, however, simply brought him to Jesus; no faith demonstrated.  This man was in a bad position as far as faith was concerned.  He could not hear the good news about Jesus or His actions, nor could not speak the language of faith to get his breakthrough.  All he had was his sight, but Jesus, being the God that He is, would work with him.  Jesus took the man away from everyone else and ministered to the man in accordance with his ability to receive.  The man could see so Jesus took His fingers and put them into the man’s ears, as if to stir up faith in the man to believe for hearing.  Jesus then moistened the man’s tongue with saliva from His own mouth, as if to stir up faith in the man to believe for clear speech.  Jesus then looked up to heaven and said, “Ephphatha!”  This word literally means, “Be opened!”  Immediately the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was loosened.  He began to hear and speak clearly.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       God is a God of faith and He expects us to operate by faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).

2.       God will make every effort to meet us where we are, to offer us an opportunity to receive by faith.

3.       Jesus tailor made this miracle for this situation and He will tailor make opportunities for us to receive as well.

4.       We are to operate like God in the earth so we are to seek every opportunity to be a blessing to someone else, even if it means getting creative.

5.       Jesus met this man in the only way he could be met – through His sight – and likewise, we should seek to meet people in whatever way they are open to be ministered to.

6.       Finally, just because it is strange it does not mean that it is not from God.

Once we realize the extent that God will go to through to bless us, we should be willing to be a blessing to others in like manner.  How will you be a blessing to someone today?

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You operate by faith and I declare that I am a child of faith.  Everything I do, I do by faith.  My faith activates by breakthrough.  You find creative ways to enable me to release my faith to receive from You.  You bless me to be a blessing to others.  I also find creative ways to be a blessing to those I come in contact with.  I declare that I will do whatever You lead me to do to be a blessing to others, even if it seems strange at the time.  I would rather be strange and obedient, than average and disobedient.  Use me to be a blessing to someone else today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The blind man at Bethsaida –  The Second Touch! (top of page)

(Mark 8:25 MSG)  So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  Soon after Jesus healed the deaf and mute man from yesterday’s message He traveled to Bethsaida where He would encounter a like situation.  Once again “some people” brought a man to be healed and begged Jesus to touch him.  This time it was a blind man and similar to what Jesus did with the deaf man, He took him away from the others.  Jesus led the man outside of the village and performed one-one-one ministry.  This man could hear and surely the others had already told him who they perceived Jesus to be and what He could do.  I am sure his expectations were heightened when Jesus personally took him by the hand and let him out of town.  So there they were: a blind man and Jesus, all alone.  Jesus then applied saliva to the man’s eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, “Do you see anything?”  The man looked and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”  So Jesus did with this man what He had not done with any other miracle before and what He would not do with any other miracle afterwards, He laid hands on the man again.  He gave the man a “second touch.”  This time the man was completely healed; he saw everything clear and bright.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       God often desires one-on-one time with us:  Jesus took the deaf man aside with Him and he took this blind man all the way out of town.  The point is that there are times where God ministers to us in public and there are times where God ministers to us in private.  Public ministry serves as a sign for others, but private ministry provides us the intimacy that we often require for us to open up to God in ways that we simply would not do in public.  This man was touched in a one-on-one session with Jesus and likewise we can be as well, when we allow Jesus to lead us to an intimate session with Him.

2.       Just because it is strange, it does not mean it is not from God:  I mentioned this as a point yesterday, but I did not give an explanation.  Jesus used saliva with the deaf man in yesterday’s message and with this blind man.  Some believe, and I agree, that the saliva might have been used to moisten and remove the crust from the blind man’s eyes.  The crust would have been an obstacle to the man opening his eyes, hence a hindrance to him receiving his sight.  The obstacle removed, the man could open his eyes and explain what he saw.  Now, whether or not you believe the saliva had anything to do with crust, I think most people will agree that it was a bit strange.  The text actually says that Jesus spit on the man’s eyes.  I discussed this “strange” factor with a friend of mine last night and I shared with him that God often does strange things to us and requires strange things from us in this Christian journey.  Just because it is not proper etiquette or proper protocol does not mean it is not from God.  Whatever God tells you to do, no matter how strange it may seem, do it in obedience and receive your breakthrough!

3.       The Second Touch:  This is the only progressive miracle recorded in scripture, but we will all agree that God performs progressive ministry in our lives on a regular basis.  This man received a “second touch” from God and we often require second, third, forth… touches from the master as we seek to receive all that He would have for us to.  So thank God that He is willing to give us a “second touch” if required!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You desire intimacy with me and I declare that I will set apart time to spend with you in prayer and meditation.  I look forward to our one-one-one time.  I declare, by faith, that I will receive everything You have for me to receive and that I will do whatever You tell me to do, no matter how strange it might seem.  Thank You for touching me with the glory of Your anointing and for Your willingness to touch me again when needed!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Blind Bartimaeus – Are you ready to respond to God? (top of page)

(Mark 10:49 NIV)  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Mark 10 we find Jesus in Jericho.  A large crowd followed them as He and his disciples prepared to leave the city.  Once again, He would encounter someone along the way that would release faith for a breakthrough.  As they traveled a blind man named Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside.  His sightlessness caused him to live the life of a beggar.  He could not see and therefore could not work.  His dark world was made even darker by his lowly status in society.  So he took a lowly post, outside of the city, and there he begged for change.  His inability to see meant that his other senses were heightened.  Most blind persons can hear very well.  He listened to everything as he sat their and wondered what the world that passed him by looked like.  He would hear something this day; however that would change his life.  He heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  As has been the case throughout this study on the miracles, this blind man called out for Jesus, but he did not use the name that he heard with his ears, but rather the one that he perceived in his spirit.  He called, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Many in the crowd told him to be quiet, but that caused him to shout even louder.  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet!  He’s calling you.”  I am sure that all sorts of energy, anticipation, adrenaline, and excitement were running through his body.  The King of Glory had just called for him.  He jumped to his feet and prepared to approach Jesus, but he did something before he went.  The Bible says (v.50) that he threw his cloak aside.  This would have been his outer garment.  I am not sure why he got rid of it, but I believe it may have been something he held onto closely in his blindness and something he knew he would need no longer.  Free of the cloak and full of anticipation he approached Jesus.  Jesus then asked him the $64,000 question, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus answered with his only true desire, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  Jesus replied, “Go, your faith has healed you” and immediately he received his sight.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       God desires for us to be whole – spiritually, physically, psychologically, and socially.  Bartimaeus could walk, talk, touch, taste, smell, and hear; but he could not see and he was a social outcast.  Jesus changed that for him and He will do the same for us.

2.       Our breakthrough requires our petition – Jesus heard his cry and that is exactly the point, it was his cry.  He called out to Jesus for mercy and God answered his petition.  Even when others attempted to quiet him, he ignored them and was persistent enough to receive his breakthrough.  We must also make our request known to God (Phil 4:6).  We often time have not, because we ask not (James 4:2).  What is on your heart heavily this morning that you have not laid out to God in prayer?  Don’t carry that burden, cast it upon God (1 Pet 5:7).

3.       Be ready when He calls you:  Bartimaeus was ready when Jesus responded.  He cast off his cloak, approached Jesus, and knew what he was going to say.  When Jesus asked the question we all want to hear, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus was ready to answer and said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  Likewise, we must be ready to respond to God when He responds to our prayer.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I accordance with You Word, I declare that I am healed, healthy, blessed, prosperous, successful, and free in every area of my life.  I cast away the cloak of my past and I come to You with a pure heart and with great expectations.  I am ready to respond to You when You call my name and lay out the specific petitions on my heart.  I call upon You this morning and You answer me and show me great and mighty things that I know not of.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A miraculous catch of fish –God Knows Best! (top of page)

(Luk 5:5 AMP)  And Simon (Peter) answered, Master, we toiled all night [exhaustingly] and caught nothing [in our nets]. But on the ground of Your word, I will lower the nets [again].

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus’ with a message from an early point in Jesus’ ministry.  One day He was standing by the Sea of Galilee and a crowd gathered around Him to hear the Word of God.  Jesus noticed two boats tied up, while the fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon – who we will later come to know as Peter – and asked him to set out a little from shore.  Jesus then used Simon’s boat as a pseudo-pulpit and taught Bible study on this water platform.  When Jesus finished teaching, the principle of sowing and reaping kicked into action.  Simon had given up his boat and his time and now Jesus would allow him to reap a harvest.  Jesus told Simon to launch out into the deep water and let down his nets for a catch.  This is where Simon almost missed his blessing.  He told Jesus that they had toiled all night long and explained how they had caught nothing.  He was a professional fisherman.  He knew when to fish in the Sea of Galilee and he knew that the best time had past.  His head was telling him Jesus knew nothing about fishing, but his heart was telling him to listen.  Simon made the right choice and followed his heart.  He told Jesus that he would let down the nets, again, solely on the basis of His word.  Guess what happened?  Peter caught so many fish that the nets started to break.  He had to call for his partners (James and John) to help.  They filled both boats to the point where the boats began to sink.  This caused Simon to fall down on his knees and worship Jesus.  From that point He would make them fishers of men.

So what does this mean to you today? This is a power-packed passage.  Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.       Nothing happens by chance:  God is a God of providence and not accident.  The text tells us that Jesus saw two boats and He ‘just so happened’ to get into the one that belonged to Simon (Peter).  That was not an accident, but rather a divine appointment.  God had big plans for Peter and it all started with a choice between two boats.  What will happen today that will shape your tomorrow?  Whatever it is, thank God for it and never attribute anything to luck.

2.       You reap what you sow:  I shared an entire series on the Biblical Principles of Sowing and Reaping (see the website).  There is so much to say in this subject and we can clearly see in the text that Simon Peter sowed his boat and his time for the Kingdom’s sake and he reaped a harvest from his seed.  Likewise, we will reap what we sow (Gal 6:7), good or bad, in every area of our lives.

3.       Don’t let your intellect keep you from a blessing:  We sometimes think too much.  Simon Peter knew a lot about fishing and his knowledge almost caused him to miss his blessing.  I am a very rational person and I believe I possess a great deal of common sense, but I also know that when it comes to the things of God I must be led by the Spirit and not by my senses.  God is not sensual, He is Spiritual.  So listen to God, no matter how irrational the instructions may seem, and know that His wisdom is greater than your logic.  If you are obedient, you will see God move in your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I acknowledge Your providence this morning.  You declare the end from the beginning.  You sit on the circle of the earth.  You know my thoughts before I think them, by hurts before I feel them, and I my concerns before I consider them.  I default to You, because Your wisdom is greater than my logic.  I obey Your Spirit and I declare that I will reap what I sow.  I sow righteousness and I reap righteousness.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

A widow’s son raised from the Dead – God is a Good God! (top of page)

(Luk 7:13 NIV)  When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Luke 7 we find Jesus traveling into a town called Nain and the disciples and a large crowd followed.  As He approached the town gate He came in contact with a funeral precession.  The precession was for a dead man that happened to be the only son of his mother.  To make matters worse, his mother was a widow.  So she was husbandless and sonless.  This was a bad situation.  To better grasp the reality of her situation we need to know a little about the Law of Moses.  Under the law (see Duet 25:5,6), if a woman’s husband died she would be left to live with her children, in most cases, grown sons.  If a woman’s husband died and they did not have any children, she would have to marry one of her deceased husband’s brothers.  Her brother-in-law would become her husband.  A woman with a dead husband and a dead son was in a difficult situation.  The text here makes no mention of a brother-in-law.  This woman was basically on her own and in the culture of the time, that meant that she would more then likely struggle to get by.  Women had very little public interaction with men outside of their family.

With all of that in mind, take a minute now to picture this woman.  Her husband had already died and she had transitioned her life into becoming comfortable with living with her grown son.  Her son had become her source of stability and strength.  Her son was her interface with the community.  Her son was also a perpetual reminder of her dead husband.  In many ways, her son was her source of sanity.  But now even her son was dead.  Both of the men that she cared for and loved were gone and she was left all alone in a male-driven society.  She did not know what she would do.  She was following the casket of her dead son and grieving the loss of her husband, her son, and her life as she knew it.  It was at this point, at her lowest of lows, at her worst of times, that Jesus saw her.  His heart immediately went out to her and He said what we would expect anyone who is motivated by compassion to say, “Don’t cry.”  But how could she stop?  The people she cared for the most were gone.  Jesus knew the reality of her situation, but He also knew that He could change it.  He walked over to the coffin, touched it and said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  The dead man sat up and began to talk.  The man was alive again.  If the focus of the miracle was the man, then Jesus would have left at that point.  But the focus of the miracle was not so much the man, but his mother.  Jesus took the man and led him back to his mother, as if to restore her broken heart and to rejuvenate her life.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should thank God for grace.  Grace is unmerited favor.  We know that faith moves God, but this woman did not exhibit faith.  She did not say anything to Jesus, nor did she say anything at all.  Her tears spoke the language of pain and Jesus’ compassion moved Him to operate a miracle by grace.  This message is a reminder that God is good God and He wants to heal our hurt, remove our pain, restore our brokenness, and rejuvenate our lives.  So no matter where you are this morning – physically, spiritually, emotionally, or mentally – know that God is there with you and He is a God that cares!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your goodness this morning.  You have been, are now, and will always be good to me.  Your goodness causes You to move in my life at the times where I am incapable of doing anything but weep.  Thank You for Your goodness today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The woman bent over by an evil spirit – The force behind the scene! (top of page)

(Luk 13:11 CEV)  and a woman was there who had been crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years.  She was completely bent over and could not straighten up.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Luke 13 we find Jesus in a synagogue ministering the Word of God.  While He was teaching He realized that there was a woman there who was bent over and could not straighten up herself.  To make matters worse, she had been this way for 18 years.  If you have been following this series you would now that the story is setting itself up for a release of faith.  Faith normally precedes the miracle.  I would expect at this point for the woman to say something in faith, act in faith, or release faith in some way.  In this case, however, that would not be necessary.  When Jesus looked over at her He immediately perceived the root of the problem.  This woman was not bent over because of a back spasm, a slipped disk, or a spinal irregularity.  Jesus looked at the ‘force behind the scene.’  This woman was crippled by an evil spirit.  So in the middle of His teaching He called her forward and spoke the language of faith.  He did not speak what He saw, He spoke what He expected.  He said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  He put His hands on her and immediately she was able to straighten up her back and she praised God.  The ruler of the synagogue was highly upset because Jesus performed this miracle on the Sabbath, but Jesus explained that his feelings were hypocritical.  The same people that had problems with Jesus ministering on the Sabbath would lead their animals to water on the Sabbath.  How could an animal be more important than this woman?  Jesus reminded the ruler of a very important point.  He told him that this woman was a daughter of Abraham.  This meant that she was a Jew and an heir of the covenant of Abraham.  This covenant included healing and wholeness.  This is very important because we are in Christ and therefore Abraham’s seed, making us heirs of this covenant (Gal 3:29), but we are also not limited to the covenant of Abraham.  The Hebrew writer said that we have a better covenant with better promises (Heb 8:6).  We have everything promised to Abraham and we also have the Holy Spirit!  We are to live a blessed and complete life.

So what does this mean to you today? We have already dealt with some things, but let’s draw out a few golden nuggets:

1.       We should pray for God to give us the discernment to see the ‘force behind the scene’ operating in whatever we come in contact with.

2.       The enemy desires to keep us bound – physically, spiritually, psychologically, and socially – because that is part of his purpose.  He comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

3.       Jesus desires that we be free and full in every area, because that was part of His purpose.  Jesus came that we might have life and that we might have it to the full (John 10:10.

4.       Like the ruler of the synagogue, there will always be religious people who do not believe in healing, or God’s desire for wholeness.  They have their routine and there are happy with a life of mediocrity, but you should not allow that mentality to keep you from expecting God’s best.  Expect what the Bible teaches you to expect.  Expect to be healed, healthy, blessed, and prosperous.

5.       We are heirs of the covenant of Abraham, with all its blessings and we are also heirs of the covenant of Jesus.  A better covenant with better promises.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for giving me spiritual discernment to see the root issue of anything coming against me.  Jesus came that I might have life and have it more abundantly.  That is Your desire for me and I accept it to the full.  I have great expectations for this day.  I declare, by faith, that there is nothing missing, nothing broken in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The 10 Lepers – Do you want to be healed or whole? (top of page)

(Luke 17:16 MSG)  He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough – and he was a Samaritan.

This morning we continue our series on ‘The Miracles of Jesus.’  In Luke 17 we find Jesus traveling on the border between Samaria and Galilee.  He came into a village where ten leprous men met him.  Remember that leprosy is an infectious disease that attacks the skin and central nervous system.  People with leprosy often do not have the sensation of pain to identify cuts and bruises; hence they frequently injure themselves without knowing.  Leprosy also causes multiple legions on the skin that cause a terrible smell.  Under the Jewish law, lepers could not come in contact with the general population.  They were resigned to living their lives as outcasts in leper colonies.  Only a Priest had the authority to pronounce them clean and restore them to society (see Lev 14).  So, for obvious reasons, they stood at a distance as they called for Jesus to have pity on them.  Jesus saw them, heard their cry, understood the law, and said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  As if to indicate that they were healed.  The men acted in faith and set out as directed.  As they went they were cleansed.  One of them, however, could not contain himself and was overflowing in gratitude.  He came back praising God with a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him and it is interesting that the text explains that he was a Samaritan.  This is an indication that the other nine were Jews.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?”  Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you whole.”

So what does this mean to you today? This is a very interesting passage in that we can see examples of this story relived in our society daily.  The Jews were not really interested in accepting Jesus as the Messiah or in worshipping Him as Lord.  They had no problem benefiting from the miracles of the fish and the loaves, or in healing, but they otherwise rejected Jesus.  They were open to get stuff from Him, but were – for the most part – not willing to give any back to Him!  Many in society today are the same way.  They call out to God for fish and loaves.  They call out to God to heal them from a distance.  They call out to God to meet their need and to have mercy on them, but they shy away from true worship and adoration.

Don’t be like the nine in the text that received their healing and never even thanked God.  They did not know it, but they missed out on the greater blessing.  The one leper that came back received the best blessing.  The word translated “cleansed,” used in the healing of the ten lepers, simply means physical washing.  The word translated “whole,” used for the one leper who came back, literally means salvation.  This is word connotes a total deliverance from sickness, disease, destruction, death, pain, etc.; and this is God’s will for us.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I will worship You all the days of my life.  I do not simply come to You when I want something.  I give You glory with my life and living daily.  You are my center and circumference, my base and my boundary, my balance and my beauty.  You are my all.  I thank You for washing me, but I also thank You for making me whole.  I have been redeemed from sickness, strife, death, disease, destruction, and the hand of the enemy.  I am completely and totally saved.  I will never cease to praise You for so great a salvation!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Royal Official’s son – Believe the Word by faith! (top of page)

(John 4:50 NIV)  Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”  The man took Jesus at his word and departed

We only have a few more miracles to cover in this series and I pray it has been a blessing to you.  In John 4 we find Jesus arriving in Galilee after returning from Jerusalem through Samaria, causing a revival along the way.  Jesus visited Cana, the place where He performed His first miracle (water into wine).  A certain royal official met Jesus in Cana.  This man had a son who was extremely sick back in Capernaum.  When the official heard that Jesus was in town he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son.  By this point his son was close to death.  Jesus saw the trend of the people.  Day after day they were doming for signs and miracles.  Jesus said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.”  The royal official knew that time was running out on his son.  He ignored Jesus’ comment about signs and wonders.  He probably internally acknowledged that the statement previously applied to him, but at this point all he wanted was for his son to live.  He was not caught up in a sign or a wonder, he simply wanted his son.  He said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus replied, “You may go.  Your son will live.”  Just like that.  Without Jesus visiting his house, without a crowd following, without witnesses, Jesus merely spoke a Word of healing over the boy.  As if to prove that he was no longer part of the crowd that needed to “see to believe,” the man took Jesus at his word and departed.  He received that Word by faith for his son and walked away like it was already done.  He met one of his servants along the way that brought news that his son was better.  The royal official further investigated and found out that the boy was healed at very moment that Jesus spoke the Word.  This caused his entire house to believe.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       Understand power and authority:  Sometimes people of authority are the hardest ones to reach.  They are so accustomed to being in control that many do not know what to do when a situation arises that they have no control over.  Like the man in the text, we must be willing to access the power and authority of God to answer any situation.  Unlike the man in the text, however, we don’t have to travel to find Jesus.  As Born-Again believers we have been delegated the authority of Jesus (Mat 28:18-20) and have been endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

2.       Be persistent in your faith:  The royal official had to overcome Jesus’ temporary frustration with the constant barrage of requests for signs and wonders.  He had a real need and his persistence brought about his breakthrough.

3.       Believe the Word by faith:  Jesus spoke to man and the man received it by faith.  He walked away like it was already done and he received exactly what he had faith enough to receive.  Likewise, when we read the Word we must receive it by faith.  When the Holy Spirit leads you to a scripture that pertains to Your situation, then that written Word is as much a promise to you as if Jesus has spoken the Word to you Himself.  Believe the Word by faith and walk away like it’s already done!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I believe Your Word where Jesus declared that all authority was given unto Him, both in heaven and in earth.  Jesus then sent us out in accordance with that authority.  In addition to the authority, I know that I have the power to overcome any attack through the Holy Spirit.  I walk in both power and authority.  My faith is persistent, because I study the Word and the Word builds my faith.  I believe the Word by faith and receive your blessing, empowerment, and ability this day.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The invalid at the Pool of Bethesda – Stop Making Excuses! (top of page)

(John 5:8 NIV)  Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

We are winding down the series on the “Miracles of Jesus.”  We only have two left to go.  In John 5 we find Jesus returning to Jerusalem.  He entered into the city through the sheep gate.  This is the place where the animals where brought in to the city and it was not clean, to say the least.  This is also an area where the blind, sick, and lame gathered.  They congregated around the Pool of Bethesda.  It was believed that this pool had some sort of healing power.  Supposedly an angel would come and stir the waters from time and time and the first person to get into the pool after the stirring of the waters would be healed.  There was a man by the pool who had been an invalid for 38 years.  Jesus saw him, learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, and asked him a question.  This was a very important question and one what we all want to hear when in a pressure situation.  Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?”  This was his opportunity.  The King of Glory had just visited him in the most unlikely of places and laid out an opportunity to turn his hopeless situation around.  But instead of jumping on the opportunity the man started making excuses.  The invalid went on to explain to Jesus how he had no one to help him get in the water and how someone beat him to the punch every time he tried to get in during the time of stirring.  This guy was crippled in more places than one.  His legs might have been incapacitated, but his mind and heart were lame as well.  Excuses get you no where.  Jesus ignored the excuses and laid it all out on the line.  He said, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.” This was it.  The man could have no more excuses now.  Either he would receive his healing, by faith, through the Words of Jesus, or he would stay in his situation, probably forever.  The man received the Word, his body was healed, and he picked up his mat and walked.  It was the Sabbath day and many of the religious would get upset, but this man got his breakthrough!

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       You can always find excuses, but excuses will only keep you in your situation longer.

2.       Never attempt to justify mediocrity.  Accept your mistakes and determine to move forward.

3.       Putting the blame on others is a tactic that keeps you from confronting your inadequacies.

4.       Take responsibility for your actions.  Realize that for the most part, who you are today is a result of the decisions that you have made in life.

5.       If you do not like where you are, then make different choices.

6.       Finally, Jesus offers you Abundant and Victorious Life (John 10:10, 1 John 5:4) in Him, through faith.  Whether or not you receive and walk in this life and victory is up to you.

The choice is yours!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I take responsibility for my actions.  I confess my sin to You and repent of unrighteousness.  I accept the reality of Your Word and determine within myself today to accept what Your Word says about me.  I will no longer sit on my situation.  I pick up my mat today and carry the thing that I used to lay on.  I no longer rest in mediocrity, but I move forward in faith towards excellence!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The man blind from birth – Tell Your Story! (top of page)

(John 9:25 CEV)  The man replied, “I don’t know if he is a sinner or not. All I know is that I used to be blind, but now I can see!”

This morning we continue to wind down the series on the “Miracles of Jesus” with a pretty long story that I will attempt to summarize.  In John 9 Jesus saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples wondered if his condition was a result of sin, either his or his parents’.  Jesus explained that it was neither.  Jesus would address the man’s darkness, however, as the light of the world.  Jesus then, using another unusual method, spat on the ground, made mud from the saliva-dirt mixture, put the mud on the man’s eyes, and told him to go wash it off at the Pool of Siloam.  The man could not see, but he could hear.  He could also feel, so he knew that something was on his eyes.  I am sure that he did not completely know what was going on, but he saw this as a glimpse of hope for getting out of his situation.  So he acted in faith and went to wash himself in the Pool.  After he washed himself, just as Jesus said, he was able to see.

This miracle caused a great stir in the town and a follow-on investigation.  Neighbors and town members were amazed to see that man blind from had sight.  They questioned him and he admitted that he was formerly blind.  They asked him how it happened and he told the account as he knew it.  He said, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes.  He told me to go to Siloam and wash.  So I went and washed, and then I could see.”  The people brought in the Pharisees to see the man, because the day he was healed was a Sabbath.  The Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight and the man replied, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see.”  Some Pharisees deduced that Jesus could not be from God because he did not keep the Sabbath, but others wondered if He was from God because of all the miracles.  They were divided so they turned to the formerly blind man and asked him his opinion.  The man told them that he believed Jesus was a prophet.  The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind from birth so they called for his parents and questioned them.  Of course they corroborated his story.  Still not satisfied they turned back to the formerly blind man and asked him if he knew Jesus to be a sinner.  The man replied with one of the greatest lines in the Bible, “I don’t know if he is a sinner or not.  All I know is that I used to be blind, but now I can see!”

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       We all have a story to tell and God wants you to tell yours.

2.       Your story (testimony) does not have to be riddled with scriptures references, nor religious quotes.  Just tell your story, just as you know it.

3.       Some might doubt your story, but others will receive it.  Even if only one person believes what God did for you and comes to God because of it, then it was worth telling.

4.       God has been too good to you for you to keep Him and His goodness to yourself.

5.       Finally, if you don’t tell your story it will never be told!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You for Your goodness in my life.  I thank You for turning my hopeless situations around.  I thank You for meeting me at my low places and bringing me up higher.  I thank You for removing every burden and destroying every yoke in my life.  You have been too good to me for me to keep it to myself.  Holy Spirit, use me to share my story with someone today.  All for your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#1) – My Father Knows! (top of page)

(John 11:4 CEV)  When Jesus heard this, he said, “His sickness won’t end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son.”

This morning we arrive at the last miracle in our series.  We will be on this one for a while.  It is the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  This story is so powerful that I shared a series entitled “Lessons from Lazarus” from this one story and I fell led to recap some of the messages in this series.  This final miracle should take us through next week.

John’s 11th chapter opens up with mention of a man named Lazarus being sick.  This man was from Bethany and was the brother of Mary and Martha; the same Mary who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped His feet with her hair.  Jesus had a close relationship with this family.  He stayed at their house whenever he was in town.  He ate their food, slept on their beds, and surely had several great conversations with them.  Their relationship with Jesus afforded them a luxury that few enjoyed.  They were able to send a personal message to Jesus and sent word saying, “Lord, the one who you love is sick.”  We could deduce that Jesus had a close relationship with Mary, for her act of worship and sacrifice, but this statement lets us know that Jesus was also very close to Lazarus, her brother.  The sisters called Lazarus the one that Jesus loved.  When Jesus received the message He immediately perceived what the outcome would be and spoke what He saw in the Spirit.  He said, “His sickness won’t end in death.  It will bring glory to God and His Son.”

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s see:

1.       Our personal relationship with God, through Jesus, affords us a luxury that unbelievers do not have.  Mary and Martha sent Word to Jesus and we can send Word to God the Father, through Jesus, in prayer, about whatever our situation may be.

2.       Whenever situations arise in your life that exceed your sphere of control or your ability, then take advantage of your relationship with God and put the situation before Him in prayer.

3.       When you pray, remember that you are not sending breaking news to God, like a reporter on the front lines.  He knows everything that has and will ever happen to us.

4.       God also knows the end from the beginning (Is 46:10), which means that He already knows what the outcome will be.

5.       His foreknowledge of the outcome is comforting to us, because it teaches us that nothing that happens in our lives will ever be a surprise to God and He has already made provisions to answer every situation; according to our faith.

There is a song that says, “My Father knows and He loves me.  My Father knows and He cares.  My Fathers knows and He’s with me.  No matter what may come in life, I can have peace, because my Father knows!”  No matter what your situation is this morning, take it to the Lord in prayer with the confidence of knowing that He already knows!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You know the end from the beginning.  You sit on the circle of the earth.  You know my thoughts before I think them, my cares before I feel them, and  my concerns before I share them.  You know everything.  I release my concerns this morning to You in prayer with the confidence of knowing that You already know and have already made provisions to meet me in accordance with my faith.  I overcome every hindrance by faith and with Your help.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#2) – Delayed, but not Denied! (top of page)

(John 11:15 NIV)  “and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.  But let us go to him.”

This morning we pick up where we left of yesterday in the story of Lazarus.  Yesterday we found out that Jesus received word of Lazarus’ sickness and responded by saying, “This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Jesus’ response unveiled the end result of this sickness.  Although sickness may have creeped into the lives of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; God would get the glory out of the situation.  Another key facet to this story is that these people were no strangers to Jesus.  They had a close relationship with Him and the Bible says that Jesus loved them.  Common sense would tell us that Jesus would jump to action as soon as He found out that Lazarus was sick.  He could either rush to the house to heal him or simply speak a Word of healing from a distance.  Yet in spite of their relationship and in spite of His love for them, Jesus stayed where He was for two more days and never spoke a Word of healing.  To understand His actions it is important to remember that He already knew, by revelation, what they outcome would be.  He saw the end of the story from the beginning.  This foreknowledge afforded Him the confidence to rest in faith.

At the right time Jesus told His disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”  The disciples were apprehensive about going back because there was an attempt of Jesus’ life the last time they were in Judea.  Jesus ignored the danger and went anyway.  Jesus then said, “Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”  Jesus, however, was not talking about natural sleep.  His disciples, once again, had misunderstood Him.  He went on to explain the situation plainly.  Jesus said, “Lazarus is dead.”  Whoa.  What a twist.  Jesus had already said that the sickness would not end in death and that He was going to wake him up, but would the reality of the present death make Jesus out to be a liar?  Had Jesus missed it?  Did Jesus finally make a mistake?  Absolutely not!  We will see, as this story unfolds, that everything He said would come to pass.

Jesus then unveiled another by-product of the situation.  He said, “… for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” Not only was God to get the glory, but this miracle would aide the disciples in there quest from doubt to belief, from fear to faith!  The disciples’ heads must have been turning.  They were thinking about sleep and death, the glory of God and Lazarus, the danger in Judea and their unbelief, and with all of this going on Jesus said, “But let us go to him.”  Thank God for the BUT!  This changes the mood of the story and shifts us closer to the miracle.  So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  Delay does not mean Denial.

2.  God will never go back on His Word, He will always accomplish everything He said He would.

3.  Even if your situation, your dream, your marriage, your children… are seemingly dead; God can still interject a BUT and turn your hopeless situation around!

4.  There is nothing too hard for God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I thank You that delay does not mean denial.  You love me like You loved Lazarus.  You hear my prayer like You heard the request of Mary and Martha.  You know the end from the beginning like Jesus knew the end of the matter.  You will act in Your timing to brining about total deliverance and restoration in my life.  Everything You do in me, for me, and through me; is all done for Your glory.  None of me and all of You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#3) – Maximum Glory! (top of page)

(John 11:17  NIV)  On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

This morning we pick back up with the story of Lazarus.  We pretty much covered the other miracles in one day, but we are 0taking our time with this last and miracle and I pray you are blessed by it.  Let’s recap:

·         Lazarus, the one that Jesus loved, got sick

·         His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word for Jesus

·         Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may beglorified through it.”

·         Jesus hung around where He was for two before taking off for Bethany

By the time Jesus arrived on the scene not only was Lazarus dead, but he had been dead for four days.  This is a very important note.  We have already covered the fact that Jesus had risen two people from the dead by this point.  He raised the daughter of Jairus, a ruler of synagogue, from the dead at his home and He raised a widow woman’s son from the dead in the middle of the funeral precession.  These were two valid accounts of Jesus’ superiority over death, but there was a Jewish custom to wait until the fourth day to legally pronounce death, as if to ensure that the person was truly dead.  Some believed that the spirit of a man hovered over the body of a dead person for three days.  It was not until the forth day that the person was legally pronounced dead.  Jesus arrived after Lazarus’ illness had resulted in life leaving his body.  Jesus arrived after the professional mourners had already mourned his death with the family.  Jesus arrived after they had already prepared the body for burial and wrapped it in grave clothes.  Jesus arrived after the Jews had legally pronounced his death.  Jesus arrived after rigor mortis had set in and the body was beginning to stink.  It was a terrible situation, the sisters had been crying for days, the funeral was over, Lazarus was in the tomb, all hope had dissipated; but Jesus was now on the scene! We will pick up this story from here tomorrow.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants Maximum Glory out of our situation!  He wants to bless us, but He wants to do it in such a way that there is no doubt who the originator of the blessing was.  God does not want his glory taken by man.  God does not want to heal you, but then for you to give His glory to the doctors.  He will do it in such a way that you will appreciate the doctors and appreciate medicine, but reserve the glory for God!  Our God is a jealous God.  His glory is reserved for His name.  He wants to bless us, deliver us, loose us, free us… but He will do it in His timing.  He often waits until the situation is bigger than human possibility before He manifests His Divine Power!  This ensures that He gets all the glory for the breakthrough.  Remember that delay does not mean denial!  So no matter who you are and no matter how dead your situation may seem, when God shows up, He can make the world’s impossibilities a reality in your life!.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  My sight may tell me that my situation is dead.  My sight may tell me that I should cast away my confidence.  My sight may tell me that I should give up hope.  But faith tells me that to see no impossibilities.  Nothing is too hard for You.  I declare that You will show up in my life in Your timing and I also declare that I will give You all the glory that is due Your name!  I praise You for the breakthrough in advance.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#4) – Our Compassionate God! (top of page)

(John 11:35 NIV)  Jesus wept.

This morning we continue our walk through the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.  Yesterday we left off where Jesus finally arrived at Bethany and Lazarus had been dead for four days.  Martha came out to meet Jesus and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died… ”  Her frustration was evident.  Jesus responded in faith and said, “Your brother will rise again.”  She could have rejoiced right then and there, but she misinterpreted the statement.  She thought Jesus was talking about rising again in the last days.  Nevertheless, she appreciated the fact that Jesus was there.  She called for her sister Mary to come out and meet Jesus.  Mary came out immediately, fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  She was frustrated and crying from her lowly position.  At this point something amazing happened.  Jesus was accustomed to people falling at His feet.  He was even accustomed to people crying.  You would think that this would be no different, but somehow it was.  Jesus loved these people.  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews that had come along with her began to weep also, He was deeply moved in His Spirit.  He tried to hold it in and asked for the location of the body, but then, as if the reality of the situation had overtaken Jesus, the Bible says that He wept.  He literally began to cry along with the others.  He still had the answer to the problem, but before He would raise Lazarus from the dead He cried with the sisters.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s look at two golden nuggets:

1.  It is alright to be real with God:  Both Martha and Mary had the same response to meeting Jesus, they both said, “Lord, if you had here, my brother would not have died.”  Some may consider their statement to be complaining before God, while others see it as simply being open and honest.  Either way, they shared their heart with the one they knew would listen.  When we pray our prayer should not be some canned and prepared prayer.  We don’t have to use King James English for God to hear us.  We don’t have to pepper our prayer with religious rhetoric.  We don’t have to sit or stand or kneel.  We don’t have to have our eyes closed or open.  There is not set way to pray and there is not set manner in which to come.  It is obviously most effective when we pray in the name of Jesus, in faith, and in accordance with the scriptures; but if we are hurting and cannot recall any scriptures at the time, we should at least share our heart with our Creator.  Jesus had compassion on them and often times God will have compassion on us.

2.  God literally cares about us:  God is mindful of us (Ps 8:4) and thinks about us (Jer 29:11).  Our Father cares and so did Jesus.  In this text Jesus cried like we cry.  He shed tears like we shed tears.  He was moved like we are moved.  The point is that we do not serve a distant and despondent God.  We serve a God that came down and lived like we live so that He could meet us where we are.  He worked like we work, sweated like we sweat, slept like we sleep, loved like we love, and hurt like we hurt.  Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and He also loves us.  Think about that for a moment.  The God that created the universe loves you.  The reality of His love is enough to turn any dark situation around!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I know that You will not violate Your own Word.  I have confidence that You love me as Yourself.  You care for me.  You think about me.  You are mindful of me.  You search me, know me, and are acquainted with all my ways.  Your love for me gives me the peace and confidence to face this day and anything that may arise in it.  Thank you for loving me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#4) – Rolling away your own stone in Faith! (top of page)

(John 11:39 NIV)  “Take away the stone,” He said.

This morning we continue our walk through the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead.  Yesterday dealt with the shortest verse in the bible, (John 11:35) Jesus wept; and we talked about how it is alright to be real with our compassionate God.  When the people there saw that Jesus shed tears they said, “See, how He loved him!”  All tears aside, He knew that He was there for a purpose and He proceeded to the tomb.  When they finally arrived at the tomb they had to deal with a couple of issues: the tomb was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance and the body was stinking by now.  The stone represented the “effort” required to get to the issue at hand and the smell represented the natural resistance to dealing with a stinking situation.  Jesus could have dealt with both Himself.  Jesus – the man who kicked out the money changes from the temple – could have easily moved the stone and ignored the stench; but then the sisters would not have participated in their own breakthrough.  Jesus knew that Mary and Martha were still in the process of mourning their loss, He knew that they had looked at their brother’s lifeless corpse as it was wrapped for burial, and He knew that pain of death was still all too familiar to them; but He also knew that they needed to exhibit faith on their road to their breakthrough.  Therefore Jesus told them to roll away the stone.  With that statement Mary and Martha had to have the faith to look beyond their problem, look toward a slim possibility, and also practice obedience.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.       It is never too late for God.

2.       God specializes in man’s impossibilities.

3.       God will often require us to do something, in faith, that goes directly opposite to how we feel.

4.       We have to walk in faith and not feelings.

5.       God is more than the God of the “comfort,” He is also the God of the “Breakthrough.”

6.       We will have to roll away our own stone – in faith – on our road to our breakthrough.

7.       Once we stomach the stench and roll away the stone then God is free to bring our dead situation back to life!

What is the stone in your life that God is asking you to move before He blesses you?  Take away your stone and receive your breakthrough!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I agree with Your Word, there is nothing too hard for You.  I get beyond my feelings this morning, stand upon Your Word, and operate in faith.  I move forward in rolling away my stone and unveiling my past pain, so that You can turn my hopeless situation around.  Never again will I give up on You.  Delay does not mean denial.  The best is yet to come!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#6) – Celebrating True Freedom! (top of page)

(John 11:43,44 NIV)  When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped in strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.  Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

It is no coincidence that we arrive at this point in the story of Lazarus today.  Today’s message is about freedom and it is the last message I will send out prior to the 4th of July weekend; where we celebrate freedom.  Jesus finally got to the grave site, the body was stinking because it had been dead for four days, Jesus required faith of the sisters, and they had the stone rolled away; opening up their dead situation to Christ.  The stage is now set for the miracle.  Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The spirit of Lazarus rushed back into the corpse and Lazarus worked himself to a standing position, but he was still wrapped up like a mummy.  Jesus then made His second declaration, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

So what does this mean to you today? This is a very powerful passage.  I will confine my comments to the two declarations and how that applies to our walk with Christ:

1.  Salvation:  Jesus called Lazarus by name and this was a call from death unto life and Lazarus had to respond to the call.  So it is with us.  It is not God’s will that any should perish.  God has given us the gift of eternal life and that life is wrapped up in Jesus.  He calls us by name through the mouths of many witnesses.  If we are honest we can admit that it took many calls for most of us to respond to Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior.  If you are not saved this morning, if you have never repented of your sin and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then this is another call for YOU!  God is speaking to you right now, tugging at your heart, and calling you out of your dead and stinking situation.  Like Lazarus, people have discounted and dismissed your destiny, but you don’t have to remain that way.  Like Lazarus, you can respond to the call and receive life in Jesus!

2.  Sanctification:  Salvation is instantaneous, but sanctification is a process.  Some may want to get technical and say that we are also sanctified instantly through the blood of Jesus.  I know that, but what I mean by this statement is that also our spirit is saved instantly; our mind (soul) must be saved progressively.  There is a process to mind-renewal and that process comes through the Word of God.  Lazarus was alive, but he was still wrapped up in dead stuff. He was wrapped up in dead man’s clothes.  He was bound like a mummy from the experience of death and the trappings of death hindered him from freely experiencing his new life.  That’s how it is with us! When we are Born-Again we are alive, but we are still wrapped up with dead stuff.  Our mind is still convoluted with our past and we must seek to renew our mind through careful study and application of the Word of God.  That is how we will experience the true freedom of our new life.  We don’t have to attempt to do this by ourselves.  That is why it is so important to be a member of a church and to receive God’s Word on a consistent basis.  Our fellowship with the brethren will help the process.  You don’t believe me?  Look at the text.  Lazarus did not remove the dead stuff by himself.  Jesus sent others to him to help him to attain his freedom.  Hallelujah!

God does not want you to go to hell; He wants you to be saved; but it does not stop there.  He wants you to be free from death, but He also wants you to be free from dead stuff! This comes from your relationship with Him and fellowship with other believers.

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  You sent Your Son that I might have life and have it more abundantly.  I receive Your life as a Born-Again believer and I also receive Your freedom as a child of God.  I fellowship with others, I study the Word, I renew my mind, and I receive my liberation from the dead stuff in my former life!  As our nation celebrates freedom, I celebrate my true freedom in You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Lessons from Lazarus (#7) – And it came to Pass! (top of page)

(John 11:45 NIV)  Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in Him.

We have walked through the entire Lazarus account.  It started off with Jesus receiving word that Lazarus was sick.  Jesus saw the end of the matter in the Spirit, before he uttered a word.  After receiving revelation He spoke and declared that both He and God the Father would be glorified through it.  Last Thursday, on the beginning of the weekend where we celebrate our freedom, we saw Lazarus receive his.  Lazarus was raised from the dead after four days and liberated from his grave clothes.  This morning’s text gives us to know that God got the glory out of the entire situation and that people put their faith in Jesus.  In other words, what Jesus said came to pass.

My good friend Jon Bryant has reminded me over the years of the power of five little words found all throughout scripture.  The words are, “And it came to pass.”  These words are a reminder that God did what He said He would do.  In other words, He meant what He said and He said what He meant.  He backed His Word and He ensured that what He said would come to pass.  Moses said it this way in Numbers 23:19 (Message Bible), “God is not man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind.  Does he speak and not do what he says?  Does he promise and not come through?”  God will always come through and He will always do what He says.  Our text for this morning does not include those ‘five little words’ that I enjoy, but it just as easily could.  It could read, “and it came to pass just as Jesus said, many of the Jews… put their faith in Him.”  Whether the words are there are not, what Jesus said about the situation came to pass and every promise in the Word will also come to pass in our lives if we receive it, by faith, and embrace it in our Spirit.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  God is not obligated to perform your word, but He is obligated to perform His.

2.  God will bring to pass everything He declared that He would.

3.  The promises of God are available to every Born-Again believer, but only the truth that you know and receive will make a difference in your life (John 8:31, 32).

4.  No matter how amazing the promises may seem, we should never stagger at the promises of God in unbelief, but rather remain strong in faith (Rom 4:20).

5.  We must be fully convinced that God will make good on what He said (Rom 4:21).

6.  If we remain strong in faith and not doubt, we too will be able to say, “And it came to Pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I stand on Your Word and Your promises.  Your Word is more real to me than my circumstances.  I stagger not at Your promises through unbelief.  I cast not away my confidence.  I stand firm in the Word through faith.  I do not allow what I see to change what I say.  I am fully convinced that You will make good on Your Word in my life.  I declare, by faith, that what You have spoken to me: through Your Word, through other people, and through Your Spirit; will come to pass in my life.  I enter into this day and this week with great expectations!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Summary Key #1: There are no impossibilities to God (top of page)

(Luke 18:27 ESV)  But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Our series on the “Miracles of Jesus” is just about over and I pray it has been a blessing to you.  We have covered 29 miracles over the span of 36 messages.  I feel led to close this series with three summary keys that we can draw from all the miracles made manifest through Jesus:

1.    There are no impossibilities to God.

2.    God has a proven track record of making impossibilities a reality in the lives of humans.

3.    As believers, we access God’s “impossibility overcoming power” through faith.

This morning we will focus on the first summary key.  It is paramount that we understand, as believers, that there are absolutely no impossibilities to God.  The word used for impossible in our text is a Greek word can be used in one of two ways: (1) without strength, impotent, powerless, disabled or (2) unable to be done.  Neither definition applies to God.  God has all power, all knowledge, and all ability.  He sits on the circle of the earth (Is 40:22).  He declares the end from the beginning (Is 46:10).  He made a dry highway in the middle of the Red Sea (Ex 13), He rained down food from heaven for the Israelites every day (Ex 16), He fed a prophet with ravens (1 Kin 17), He caused a donkey to speak (Num 22), He caused lions to have lock jaw so they would not eat His servant (Dan 6), He saved three young men in the middle of a raging furnace (Dan 3); and there are many, many more examples of God making ways where there seemed to be no way.  Additionally, in this series we have seen Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the blind to see, lame to walk, deaf to hear, and dumb to speak.  There is literally nothing that God cannot do.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we can find comfort in knowing that the God that we serve sees no impossibilities.  If He did all the aforementioned great and mighty acts, which He did, then our situations don’t look as big.  If God can rain down food from heaven, then He can provide food for your family.  If God can protect His servants from lions and fire, then He can protect you and yours as you experience your daily lives.  If God can open up a highway in the middle of raging waters, then He can make a way in your situation.  If He can raise a man who had been dead for four days, then He can raise our seemingly hopeless situation and turn it around.  Yes, we find hope this morning in knowing that there is Nothing Too Hard for God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  What is impossible for me is but a light thing to You.  I know that You are a good God and I see Your goodness made manifest in miracles all through the Bible.  I declare, by faith, that Your goodness will be made manifest in my life.  I do what You have enabled me to do and I release everything else to You.  I have great expectations.  I look forward and not backward.  My confidence is in You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Summary Key #2: God has a proven track record (top of page)

(Heb 13:8 KJV)  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

We continue to wind down our series on the “Miracles of Jesus” this morning.  As stated yesterday, I feel led to close the series with three summary keys:

1.    There are no impossibilities to God.

2.    God has a proven track record of making impossibilities a reality in the lives of humans.

3.    As believers, we access God’s “impossibility overcoming power” through faith.

We covered the first one yesterday and this morning we focus on the second.  Understanding God’s track record is very important in matters of faith.  We exercise faith everyday.  We exercise faith in things and faith in people.  Our faith, whether in things or people, is normally directly related to the degree of reliability that we place on the object of our faith.  For example, if we have a vehicle that has never failed to start and get us to work, then we get up in the morning and grab our keys will a high level of faith in the vehicle.  We fully expect the vehicle to start when we turn the keys.  Anything other than a started engine would be a surprise to us, because the vehicle hasproven to be reliable.  If the vehicle, however, had a history of starting only half the time, then our faith in the vehicle would be low.  We would grab the keys with a sense of uncertainty, unsure because the vehicle has provenitself to be unreliable.  It is the same with people; our faith in people is tied to their character and their track record.  If we would be honest, there are some people that we place more faith and trust in than others.  If a person that we have known for ten years promises us that they are going to do something for us, then we immediate correlate our expectation of the completion of the promise to our knowledge of their character and their track record.  If this is a person that has proven to be reliable, then we fully expect the promise to be fulfilled.  If this is a person who has proven to be unreliable, then we might take what they say half-heartedly.  Either way, our expectation will be tied to our perception of their character and their track record.

This works the same way with God.  When we receive the promises of God we receive them in accordance with our faith.  Our faith in God must be tied to His Word, but it will also be determined by our perception of His character and His track record.  In this series we have covered the miracles of Jesus, but God’s track record dates all the way back to creation and continues today.  He has made impossibilities a reality in the lives of men and He continues to do so daily.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we should have great expectations that God will do what He said He would do, because He has a proven track record.  Our text teaches us that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever and Titus 1:2 teaches us that God cannot lie.  This should give us the confidence we need to receive the promises of God in our lives.  Think back to how faithful He has been and get excited about how faithful He will continue to be!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  Great is thy faithfulness.  You have never, nor will You ever fail.  You will always do what You said You would do.  My faith in You is based upon Your promises and Your track record.  You have proven to be a trustworthy God, a God worthy of my faith.  I release my faith in Your promises and declare that I will see Your promises become a reality in my life.  Through faith and patience I receive the promises!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Summary Key #3: We access God’s “impossibility overcoming power” through faith (top of page)

(Mat 17:20 KJV)  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

This morning the series on the “Miracles of Jesus” comes to an end.  I trust it has been a blessing to you.  If you have missed any of portion of the series, or any other series for that matter, you can access them on the web site.  As previously stated, we closed the series with three summary keys:

1.    There are no impossibilities to God.

2.    God has a proven track record of making impossibilities a reality in the lives of humans.

3.    As believers, we access God’s “impossibility overcoming power” through faith.

We have established that God has impossibility overcoming power.  We have also established that God is worthy of our faith, because of His track record and His character.  We couple these now and teach you that we – humans of limited ability – can tap into God’s unlimited ability, through the vehicle of faith.  For example, in our text the disciples ran across a situation they could not handle.  A man brought his son who was suffering from seizures to the disciples and they could not heal him.  Jesus got frustrated for their lack of faith.  After venting, He went on to deal with the issue.  Jesus perceived that the cause of the seizures was a demon, He spoke to the demon, cast him out, and the boy was healed.  When the disciples questioned Jesus on why they could not do it Jesus explained that their failure was afaith failure.  He went on to explain that if they had even as much as a mustard seed’s amount of faith, they could speak to any obstacle (mountain) and the obstacle would have to move.  The last statement in our text is very powerful.  Jesus wrapped it up by saying, “and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  In other words, Jesus was saying that we have the ability to operate like He operated, do what He did, and overcome our limitations, through faith.  Faith is the vehicle through which we tap into His ability.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things, as we summarize:

1.       God can do anything.

2.       God manifested His power over impossibilities in the earth, in a human form, in Jesus.

3.       Jesus Himself stated that we would do what He did and even greater works (John 14:12).

4.       Jesus Himself stated that nothing would be impossible to those that operate in faith.

5.       After Jesus departed and the Holy Spirit was given, we see biblical examples of Born-Again believers doing what He did in the earth (all through the book of Acts).

6.       God does not play favorites (Acts 10:34).

7.       We, as Born-Again believers, can tap into and operate in ‘world overcoming power,’ but we must do it through the vehicle of faith (1 John 5:4).

8.       Fear says we can’t, faith says we can.  We must choose which one to believe!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I live by my faith (Hab 2:4).  I walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).  I pray the prayer of faith (James 5:15).  I fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12).  I overcome the world through faith (1 John 5:4).  Nothing is impossible to me when I operate in faith (Mat 17:20).  Faith allows me to overcome my limitations, by tapping into Your abilities.  Your ability on my ability causes me to be able to do what I could not do in and of myself.  I am a Christian.  This means that I am ‘like Christ.’  I submit myself, like He did, to be used of You for Your glory; and everything I do in Your name, I do by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!