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Finding Rest for Your Soul and Peace of Mind

Summary:  Our world today is filled with stress, troubles, dangers, and hardships. Left to our own devices, we can become a tangled mess of fears, cares, and anxieties. But there is a rest available to all, at a level far above anything this earth can provide, and it’s yours for the asking.

Psalm 62:1-2  My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Where can your soul find enduring rest? In God alone! You won’t find it in things like TV, movies, sports, or recreation. If they are wholesome, they may offer brief entertainment, but no lasting rest. In fact, if you’re like me, when your favorite sports team loses, the temporary peace you derive from the things of this earth may even disappear(!) for a while.

It is in the triune God alone that you’ll find rest for your soul, in good times or bad. Circumstances don’t dictate your peace, or lack of it. No, it is God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit of God who impart inner peace and rest to you, regardless of what is going on around you.

Remember the words of Jesus: “In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). On the one hand, the Lord guarantees that in this world we will encounter trouble. That is a given. But His message of encouragement in the midst of this world’s hardships is: “In me you may have peace. Take heart! I have overcome the world.” So the world and its troubles are not the victor; Jesus is! And He offers His victory and His peace of mind and heart to us.

Matthew 11:28  [Jesus said] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Stop and think about Christ’s words. He says several things here to all who are weary and burdened:

• Rest comes from a person, Jesus—“Come to me.”

• Rest is available if we come to that Person—“Come to me.”

• He will turn no one away—“Come to me, all…”

• Rest is a gift from Him—“I will give you rest.”

We don’t have to work to find inner peace and rest. We can’t earn it or create it. Rather, the lasting rest we all need is given to those who come to Him for it. Rest for our souls comes, and abides, because of a personal encounter with the Lord. This should give added motivation to us to spend time with Him in worship, in prayer, and in His Word the Bible.

Mark 6:31  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

Remember, Jesus the divine Son of God became man and came to earth to secure our salvation through His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:2-4). He lived on this earth for some 33 years and experienced the joys and sorrows—yes, even our temptations (Hebrews 4:15-16), yet without ever sinning. So we can come boldly to Him on His throne of grace for any and all help we need.

Do you need to find inner peace? a heart at rest? Then come to Him. To His busy, tired disciples Jesus said, “Come with me…and get some rest.” So again, where do we find rest? With Him! How do we go “with Him” to get that rest? One of the best ways is to simply follow His instructions and come “by yourselves to a quiet place.” I find usually that my best times of communing with the Lord and receiving His peace are when I get alone with Him in some “quiet place,” usually in some unoccupied room in my house, and just enjoying peace-giving fellowship with Him in prayer, praise, and His Word. One key to “resting in the Lord” is taking time to be with Him. It doesn’t have to be hours long. Even brief times in the presence of Jesus Christ can fill your soul to overflowing. Try to take those times as often as you can.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

5:7, KJV  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

I see four principles here from the Scriptures for gaining relief from anxieties and cares that are bogging you down. We mortals each have our own set of frailties. One of mine, even in these “senior” years, is a tendency to become anxious (maybe fretful and worried is a better way of saying it). Thankfully, the Lord showed me this fault years ago, along with this verse’s cure for it. I try to apply it whenever I find myself getting weighed down by a care…and it works! Here are those four keys from the apostle Peter’s writing:

1) Cast your cares on Him. Take action; don’t just stay weighed down. Consciously unload that care, that anxiety, that burden from your shoulders onto the Lord.

2) Cast all your cares and anxieties on Him. If you only give Him some, the other cares will still be there robbing you of your peace and joy.

3) Cast your cares upon Jesus. Don’t worry…He can take it! There’s nothing about our burdens that will ever weigh Jesus down in the slightest. Remember His word concerning our worldly troubles (John 16:33): “Take heart! I have overcome the world.”

4) Do this, secure in the knowledge that the One you’re casting your cares upon cares for you! A wise elderly pastor once was asked what was the greatest thing He had learned over the years. His reply?—“Jesus loves me, this I know.”

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This verse from the apostle Paul adds some insight to the previous one by Peter. Do you want to cast your anxieties on Jesus? Then be specific! Bring your precise anxiety/care to Jesus in prayer—“by prayer and petition.”

Makes specific, detailed petitions. Don’t just generalize like: “Lord, I need peace.” Rather, present your requests to God in some detail. For example: “Lord, I’m worried about making the rent next month. I’m losing sleep over it. Help me. Give peace to my mind and heart, and give me the provision to cover the rent, either by reducing my other expenses or increasing my income.”

Then begin to thank Him for the expected help that you’ve asked Him for. The result will be an inward peace, a rest in your soul, that “transcends all understanding.” When you first came to Jesus in repentance and faith, you became a born-again child of God and experienced “peace with God” (Romans 5:1). Now, as His beloved sons and daughters, we can bring to Him in prayer all our cares and worries and can enjoy “the peace of God,” a peace that far surpasses that which our own minds and hearts can generate or even imagine.

Jeremiah 6:16a  This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

I first preached on this topic of finding rest in the Lord many years ago. As I write this article today, in 2016, our world is careening to destruction more every day. Anti-biblical homosexual marriages, not even whispered about 50 years ago, are now legalized in many nations and are widely accepted. Terrorism has wounded the soul of entire nations. The family has disintegrated, and in many large cities at least 2/3 of babies are born and raised in fatherless homes. Many millions more unborn babies are routinely and savagely executed in the womb. The list of moral decay could go on and on.

These things can take rest away from our souls. What can we do? Hold onto “good old-fashioned” Bible values. Seek out the “ancient paths,” the biblical values that have undergirded great societies for centuries. Respond to the world’s declining values just as Jesus did when Satan tempted Him three times in the desert: “It is written … It is also written … it is written” (Matthew 4:4,7,10).

Search the Bible for “the good way.” Walk in biblical ways and values, even though you are likely to be mocked by the ungodly as ignorant and intolerant. However, unlike your mockers, you will “find rest for your souls” as you adhere to God’s ways as they are clearly revealed in His Word the Bible.

There comes a restful peace to our souls when we know we are walking rightly, biblically before God. We feel a confidence, a security, that God is pleased with us and with our walk with Him, so what can man do to us? The answer? Nothing!—“In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11)

As our opening verse says, let your “soul find rest in God alone…[and you] will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2).

The Bible calls Jesus the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). He has rest and peace for every soul who will come to Him. If you've never come sincerely and personally to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, as your Savior and Lord, there's no better time than right now!

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/finding-rest-peace-soul.html







“Fear Not!” 12 Good Reasons Why You Can Live Free of Fear

Summary:  When you’re in fearful circumstances, someone just telling you to “fear not” may not be much help. But when it’s God Almighty who says “Do not fear,” that’s an entirely different and very encouraging situation. Come see 12 reasons God gives us to be freed from our fears.

Isaiah 41:8-14 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, [9] I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. [10] So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. [11] All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. [12] Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. [13] For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. [14] Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

There is fairly broad opinion among Bible commentators that Isaiah 41 refers prophetically to God’s future deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon. It is a word of comfort to His oppressed people when they find themselves in their time of bondage.

The principles of God saying “don't be afraid” to His people are timeless. In the King James Version of the Bible, the phrase “fear not” occurs 71 times from the first to the last book of the Bible (from Genesis 15 to Revelation 1). The Scripture portions we’ll look at give us at least 12 good reasons why God exhorts us to have no fear. Read them, and be encouraged! “God hath not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV).

1)  vs. 8  “you…whom I have chosen…I called you”

1 Peter 2:9-10a  But you are a chosen people ... a holy nation, a people belonging to God.... [10] Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.

Fear not, because God has chosen you, He has called you to be His own. You are “a people belonging to God.” Dads and moms, just think of all you do to prevent your family from living in fear. God will do far more! The Jews were God’s called, “chosen people” under the Old Covenant. All followers of Jesus Christ, Jew and Gentile alike, are God’s chosen and called people under the New Covenant. You are very special to God, so “fear not!”

2)  vs. 9  God has “not rejected you.”

Israel went into Assyrian Captivity for her idolatry and faithlessness to God. More than a century later, about 586 BC, Judah went into Babylonian captivity for the same sins. Most scholars believe God is here speaking prophetically to the (future) captive Jews in Babylon and saying, “I have not rejected you.” And indeed, in God’s timing, the Jews were eventually freed from that captivity and reoccupied Jerusalem and its surrounding lands.

Apply God’s vs. 9 encouragement to yourself today. If through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ you are a son or daughter of God, nothing from the evil you have done in your past will cause God to reject you. Perhaps you’ve experienced rejection by other people, perhaps even by someone once close to you. Remember, God loves you and has accepted you, so man’s opinions need not be feared or even be an item of concern.

3)  vs. 10  “...do not fear, for I am with you”
     KJV: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee"

I know how secure I felt as a child when Dad was there. All was well with the world. Dad was big, strong, loving, and—oh, so wonderful in the eyes of a young boy—Dad was an FBI agent! If Dad was with me, nothing could make me fear.

How much more should the presence of God Almighty dispel any fears we might have. God says, “Do not fear, I am with you!” When fears may try to come upon you, remember the Scripturally sound words I once heard a pastor say. Don’t be afraid, because “you’re never alone. There’s always a minimum of four—you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

4)  vs. 10  “do not fear...I am your God”

Amazing! Almighty God, the creator of the universe, is my God! All His power, love, and blessings are there for me and for you. Come to Him through Jesus, “the [only] way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), serve Him faithfully, and He will eternally be “your God.”

5)  vs. 10  “I will strengthen you ... help you ... uphold you”

Perhaps you’re crying out, “Lord, I’m going under; I can’t make it.” He replies, “Yes, but I can, I will help you.”

Or like Peter sinking under the waves, you feel, “Lord, I’m sinking. Everything around me is going wrong.” God says, “I will uphold you.” And just as Jesus reached out and took sinking Peter by the hand (Matthew 14:31), God will take hold of you and rescue you.

6)  vs. 13  “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Think of any dangerous situation. Then think of God standing there holding your hand, saying, “It’s OK! I’ve got you.” Most likely, your fears would disappear.

One of my children as a toddler used to reach up to me with the childlike appeal: “Carry you me.” That was security for him. Dad was there. All was well. God is there for us too. And He’ll take our hand, as a loving Father does, and will bring us without fear through every situation.

7)  vs. 14  “Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD.”

Do you feel “little,” like a lowly worm, surrounded by enemies who oppose you and rage against you? (vss. 11-12) No matter how little you feel yourself to be, no matter what odds seem to be stacked against you, God cares for you personally—“I myself will help you.”

As captives in Babylon, the Jews had no more power against their enemy captors than a lowly little worm has. But in their forlorn condition, the all-powerful God says to them, “Don’t be afraid. I myself will help you.” Nothing is too difficult for God, no matter how overwhelming your problems seem to be.

Isaiah 43:1-3a But now, this is what the LORD says — he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. [2] When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. [3] For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

God continues his encouragement to His people, who were prophetically warned about their future Babylonian captivity.

8)  vs. 1  God “created you ... formed you.”

God’s love and care for them had been there from the beginning, from their very creation and their forming by God in their mothers’ wombs. God was reminding them that He has always been involved in their lives, and He will not stop now.

A side thought here from this verse, not directly related to the context, but definitely taught in Scripture, is divine healing. God created and formed these intricate, marvelous human bodies of ours. If He has creative powers—and He does—He certainly has re-creative powers to fix and heal those bodies that He has created. Be encouraged that the God who “formed” you has not forgotten or abandoned you and is fully able and willing to extend His healing hand to you.

9)  vs. 1  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you...you are mine.”
     Isaiah 43:1, KJV  "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee"

Some 2,000 years ago God bought you (Acts 20:28), He redeemed you, with the price of Jesus’ blood shed for our sins. That’s how much He cares for you. You are His, He says! So you can safely believe His promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and can declare with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb. 13:6).

10)  vs. 1  “Do not fear…I have summoned you by name.”

You are not just a statistic to God. You are not lost among the masses. You are very real to God. He knows your name, which means He knows and cares for you very personally. He says to you whom He knows and loves: “Do not fear. I’ve called you by name. My Son Jesus and I are deeply invested in you personally.” The Lord Jesus Christ, our “good shepherd,” knows us and loves us and “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out … they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).

11)  vss. 1-2  “Do not fear…“I will be with you”

These words are God’s encouragement to us when we seem to be going through high waters, flooded rivers, or fire and flames. There are times in our lives that seem to be full of troubles. But that is not unexpected. Jesus told His followers, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

God has not promised always to deliver us from troubles, but to be with us as we navigate victoriously through them. He says, “I am with you…when you pass through the waters, the rivers, the fire, the flames” (vs. 2). No matter how serious the troubles you face, God will go through them with you.

12)  vss. 1,3   “Do not fear ... [3] For I am the Lord your God ... your Savior.”

He is “the Lord.” It’s all under control! There is nothing that is not subject to Him.

He is “your God.” All God’s resources are at your disposal. We are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17, KJV).

He is “your Savior.” God would eventually save the Jews in a natural sense from the Babylonian captivity. And through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He has gloriously extended eternal salvation to all who will come to Him in repentance and faith in His Son Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). And it is a salvation that can “save [us] to the uttermost” (Heb. 7:25) from every captivating thought, from every sin and addiction, and from every form of evil.

So what is God’s message to us? “FEAR NOT!”  He has chosen and called us … He has not rejected us … He is with us … He will strengthen, help, and uphold us … as our Father He will hold us by the hand … He created us and formed us … He has redeemed us … we are His; He knows us by name … He is our omnipotent Lord, our God, our Savior!

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:





1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.





​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.





PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.





Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/fear-not-12-good-reasons.html











Do All Liars Go to Hell? Some Do for Sure, God's Word Says

Summary:  This article is not enjoyable to write. But if God uses it to change even one person’s eternal destiny from hell to heaven, I will be thrilled. The point according to Scripture? Unrepentant habitual liars end up in hell! The first three verses we’ll look at below make that very clear. I urge you to set aside any “but, but” reactions until you see what the Scriptures say about the practice of lying.

Revelation 21:8a  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

Psalm 5:6  You destroy those who tell lies.

Proverbs 19:9  …whoever pours out lies will perish.

That’s a pretty serious company of unrepentant sinners listed in Rev. 21:8, all heading for the lake of fire — including the unbelieving, the vile, murderers, the sexually immoral, those practicing magic arts, idolaters … and all liars! Just imagine, in His Word God lumps “all liars” in with murderers, occult magicians, the sexually immoral, and idolaters. And their destination — unless they repent (more on that later) — is the fiery lake of burning sulfur, which is the final embodiment of what we now call “hell” (Revelation 20:13-14). An illuminating contrast with this condemned group is the multitude seen with Jesus on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1,5), of whom it is said, “No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.” Jesus is called in the Bible “the truth” (John 14:6) and “faithful and true” (Rev. 19:11). Our Savior is the shining example of truth and truthfulness, so it is appropriate that His followers aim to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).

Revelation 22:14-15, NASB  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside [the Holy City and the tree of life] are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

This verse describes the time after Christ’s second coming (Rev. 19:11-21), after the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-6), and after the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). There is a “new heaven and a new earth” (21:1) where God the Father and Jesus inhabit forever the Holy City, the new Jerusalem (21:2,10,22; 22:1-2). Condemned to eternal exclusion from God’s presence — and having been cast into the lake of fire (20:15; see also 21:8) — are many evildoers, including “everyone who loves and practices lying.”

We see similar catastrophic penalties for liars in Psalm 5:6 — “You destroy those who tell lies” — and in Proverbs 19:9 — “Whoever pours out lies will perish.”

In mental health literature today you'll find various categories of liars — "pathological, habitual, chronic, compulsive," for example. The website Truth About Deception says that "a compulsive liar is someone who lies out of habit ... [they] bend the truth about everything, large and small ... the terms Pathological Liar, Habitual Liar, and Chronic Liar are often used to refer to a Compulsive Liar." Most mental health literature lists some differences among the categories. But of greatest importance to us is the fact that the Bible makes no nuanced distinctions. It simply speaks about "lies, lying, and liars" and clearly speaks of God's judgment on "everyone who loves and practices lying ... those who tell lies ... whoever pours out lies." Taken together, those and other Scripture verses indicate that we are speaking not of someone who tells a one-time lie and repents. Rather, these verses (and God's resultant judgment) speak of "liars" who have an ongoing habit of unrepented lying.

Proverbs 6:16-19  There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

What! But doesn’t God love all people all the time in all circumstances? No, He does not! Verse 19, for example, names two types of people—not things, but actual people—that God hates: (1) a lying, false witness and (2) a divisive person who stirs up conflict. It is worth noting that, among the seven acts or people that God is said here to hate, two of the seven have to do with dishonesty: “The Lord hates … a lying tongue … [and] a false witness who pours out lies…” It is very, very clear that lying is “detestable to [the Lord]” and He hates it, even to the point that “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8, KJV).

Acts 5:3-5  Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

To summarize this occasion (Acts 5:1-10): Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some land and donated a portion of the proceeds to the apostles. But they lied by indicating that they were donating 100% of the proceeds. Peter caught them in the lie and pointed out that they weren’t obligated to give all of it, or even to give any of it. He pointed out that their sin was in lying about allegedly giving the entire proceeds of the sale. By so doing, Peter said, they had “lied to the Holy Spirit” (vs. 3) … they had “lied…to God” (5). It is interesting that, although the lie had been spoken to men (Peter and the others), God considered it as though they had lied to Him and to His Holy Spirit. And the result was that both Ananias and (shortly afterwards) his wife Sapphira “fell down and died” right on the spot (5,10). This confirms our main point: the practice of lying is detestable to God and without repentance will sooner or later incur the judgment of God.

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

The supreme deceiver is Satan, “a liar and the father of lies.” Jesus said that those who do not receive and follow Him are “of your father, the devil…and you want to carry out your father’s desires.” Satan is a murderer, Jesus said, and the Christ-rejecting Jews were among those who had Jesus crucified, thereby displaying the desires of their spiritual father, the devil. Satan is also “a liar” and the father of lies. Again, those who choose not to obey and follow Jesus will follow Satan and will themselves tend to be liars, as he is.

The clear choice for all Christians is to follow Jesus in every detail, to strive to be conformed to His image, to His blameless character. He who “is truth” will impress His truthful character into the hearts of His followers, who will embrace truth and honesty and will reject the practice of “loving and practicing lying” (Rev. 22:15). In a word, lying has no part in the life of a follower of the Lord.

Acts 3:19  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…

Acts 20:21  I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Proverbs 28:13  Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

But what if we do tell a lie? There is a solution. Remember, the apostle Peter lied when he denied Jesus — “I don’t know the man!” (Matthew 26:72). He denied that he knew the Lord; that’s a serious lie! But Peter repented (vs. 74), and after Jesus’ resurrection Peter reaffirmed his love and commitment to the Lord (John 21:15-17) and became one of the greatest apostles of the early Church. Peter is one of many Bible examples showing us that we can repent of our sins and turn to (or back to) God and find forgiveness.

Holding on to our sins (“concealing” them) has catastrophic consequences, as we saw in our opening verses about unrepentant lying. But by confessing and renouncing our sins, we find mercy and our sins are “wiped out.” And that includes confessing and renouncing the sin of lying, lest we find ourselves among the “all liars … consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Rev. 21:8). So to answer our opening question — do all liars go to hell? The answer: unrepentant, habitual liars go to hell. Thankfully, repentant liars — like Peter, the Christ-denying apostle — can repent sincerely, put away lying (see the next verse), and be forgiven by the Lord.

Ephesians 4:22-25  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Being saved, being born again and becoming a child of God (John 1:12-13), is more than just intellectual consent to God and Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons “believe” in God (James 2:19), but are certainly not saved and are fearfully expecting their final judgment.

Being a true believer in and follower of Jesus Christ involves becoming a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) through “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). We cast off our “former way of life” and begin a new-creation life walking with God and His Son Jesus and serving and obeying them with all our hearts.

Upon conversion to Christ, we enter immediately (and for life) into a process of (1) putting off our old self with its corrupt, deceitful desires; (2) being made new in the attitude of our minds; and (3) “putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Imagine! He wants us to “be like God in…holiness.” By ourselves we cannot. But with His indwelling Holy Spirit’s help, we can press toward that high, holy calling. And in light of our topic today, that process includes: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully” (vs. 25). We put off the lying that was part of our corrupt old self. And we put on speaking truthfully, which is consistent with our being a new creation in Christ, pressing towards full conformity to His image and His splendid, blameless character.

It’s a simple choice. “Love and practice lying” and end up in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8; 22:15). Or repent of lying; look to Jesus and His shed blood to cleanse you from that sin; and put off the old self and put on the new self, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The choice is between eternal life and judgment. Choose life!

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/liars-go-to-hell.html









Can You Minister Effectively Without Holiness?

Summary:  The great prophet Isaiah had a vision of God and His holiness and was immediately aware of his own sinfulness and uselessness for God's work. Yet just minutes later we see the prophet confidently volunteering for a ministry assignment by God: "Here am I. Send me!" What happened to bring such change in Isaiah? And what lessons can we draw for our own ministries today?



Isaiah 6:1-8  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. [2] Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. [3] And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” [4] At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. [5] “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” [6] Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. [7] With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” [8] Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

The prophet Isaiah saw the Lord and was in terror: “Woe to me, I am ruined, I am a man of unclean lips.” Then seemingly just minutes later we hear him crying out confidently to the Lord to volunteer for ministry: “Here am I. Send me!” This remarkable heavenly vision in just eight verses reveals to us an absolute prerequisite for effective ministry by anyone called and sent by God to do His work.

Let’s briefly review the vision to see why Isaiah initially was groveling in fear before the Lord, yet shortly thereafter was responding excitedly to the Lord’s appeal, “Whom shall I send?” What exactly did Isaiah see?

• (vs. 1) He “saw the Lord…on [His] throne” in heaven.

• (2) He saw the magnificent seraphim above the Lord. Many Bible scholars believe them to be a high order of angelic beings.

• (3) He hears the seraphim loudly praising God: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

• (5) The Lord’s splendid, glorious holiness (3) so starkly contrasted with Isaiah’s human sinfulness that the prophet cried out, “Woe to me, I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips.”

• (6f) Then one of the seraphim took a live coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips, visually symbolizing God’s forgiveness of Isaiah’s sins: “Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

• (8) God cries out, “Whom shall I send?” [to Israel with God’s message]. Now purged of the guilt of his sins, Isaiah was able to respond with confidence in the presence of God’s absolute, glorious holiness, “Here am I. Send me!” Formerly disqualified by his sinfulness, the prophet, now cleansed and forgiven by God, was deemed by God to be qualified to represent Him in delivering His message to Israel.

I want to keep this Bible study brief and will get right to the point. What exactly did Isaiah see that first plunged him into despairing fear? He saw (vs. 3) the glory of God Almighty splendidly manifested in His impeccable, absolute, unblemished, unlimited holiness! In the brilliant radiance of God’s holiness, the prophet felt “ruined” as he regarded his own human sinfulness.

But then the perfectly holy God provided “atonement” for Isaiah’s sin. The live coal from the altar was the visual symbol then. The ultimate atonement for all the sins of all who will believe and repent was provided over seven centuries later, with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. This is our “Gospel” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and it was prophetically foreshadowed in Isaiah’s heavenly vision.

Cleansed of his sin by God’s atoning action, the prophet now felt confidence in the presence of God’s radiant, glorious Presence and holiness to reply to God’s call with “Here am I. Send me!”

In sum, it was the vision of God’s holiness that so unsettled Isaiah. His sin separated him from fellowship with God. So God reached out, via the seraphim with the live coal, and “atoned for” Isaiah’s sin and qualified him to speak as a messenger of a perfectly, totally holy God.

Just as surely today, in our 21st century, Almighty God is “holy, holy, holy.” And His intent is still that the “whole earth [be] full of His glory.” He sends forth His called people to share with this fallen world that message of God’s holiness and glory, as perfectly revealed in the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:3, NIV).

What is the takeaway from Isaiah’s vision for us who desire to participate in the Lord’s work on this earth? Simply this: read God’s Word, pray, and get a personal revelation of God’s perfect, uncompromising holiness. Understand that it is a major part of His glory with which He desires to fill the earth. And if we allow God’s radiant holiness to bring us to to contrite repentance, He will forgive us and qualify us to represent Him and His holiness to this sinful world.

Examine yourself, ask God to dig deep into your heart and to expose every last shred of carnality and unholiness in thought, word, and deed. Be ever mindful of the warning of Hebrews 12:14 — “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” And strive daily, with the help of God’s grace (Titus 2:11-12) and the indwelling Holy Spirit, to root out the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) and to walk in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24).

To be vessels unto honor, fit for the Master’s use (2 Timothy 2:21), we want to accurately represent the Lord God Almighty to the world. We should be aiming to help the world to “see” God as He is, as the prophet Isaiah saw Him, in the fullness of His holiness and glory. And one of the best ways we ministers of the Lord can do that is to walk before the world reflecting God’s perfect holiness in our own godly lives. Can we do this? YES! For the Scripture says that, as born-again believers we can “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).


I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/without-holiness-no-effective-ministry.html






That’s Legalism and Bondage!  The Carnal Christian’s Excuse.

Summary:  “That’s bondage and legalism,” is the complaint of many churchgoers when the pastor preaches on living a holy life. Another reply you’ll hear sometimes is, “I’m not into a ‘works’ trip [or 'a performance mentality']." Sadly, reactions like these are often based on either ignorance of the Scriptures or, which is far worse, a willful disregard for the Bible’s consistent, unwavering call to holy living. Some may reply to this with, “But aren’t we ‘called to be free’?” Yes, of course we are, but it’s not a freedom to sin or live carnally. Let’s see what God’s Word says.

Galatians 5:13, 16, 24  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh… [16] So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh… [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The context in Galatians of our being “called to be free” is a freedom from much of the rigid codes and systems of the Mosaic Law — things such as animal sacrifice; a limited, selective priesthood; the necessity of circumcision, and the like. As John wrote (John 1:17), “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

However, the grace and truth which came through Jesus never canceled the timeless moral principles that we read in Moses’ Law. In this regard, the great New Testament apostle Paul wrote: “The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… the law is spiritual” (Romans 7:12,14). The Law’s demands for holy, sanctified lives by God’s people are consistently reaffirmed in the New Testament.

Titus 2:11-14  For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

The “legalism and bondage” accusations often stem from a nonbiblical, permissive definition of grace that is taught to justify looseness in living by professed believers. But the New Testament concept of God’s grace is far from loose and permissive. To the contrary, the grace that saves us (vs. 11) also “…teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness … and to live…godly lives in this present [New Testament] age.” We are to serve and to look in faith and hope for the Second Coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness” and to make of us a “people…eager to do what is good.” It was not “bondage and legalism” for the great apostle Paul to exhort God’s people to live holy, godly lives and to be eager to do what is good. And it is not bondage and legalism for Christians today to exhort other believers to pursue holiness.

Titus 3:5, KJV  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Ephesians 2:8-10, KJV  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The “legalism” charges sometimes come from a misunderstanding of the role of works in the Christian’s life. You may have heard a fellow believer say, “I’m not into a ‘works’ trip.” And that is unfortunate, because we are commanded by God (vs. 10) to “walk in” good works. However, the chronological order is important.

I wasn’t born again until age 25, in February 1969. I had been raised in a denomination that believed one is saved through a combination of faith and good works. Being not yet saved myself, I had no capability of walking consistently in the good works supposedly needed to get saved, leading to an ongoing sense of futility. Then, at age 25, I first heard the Gospel truth that by grace we are saved, through faith, not by works. As the truth of salvation by grace through faith (not by works) penetrated my soul, I came to Jesus in faith and repentance and was wonderfully saved. I even had a mental vision of Jesus the Savior, as I have written elsewhere.

But thankfully the Lord also drew my attention to Ephesians 2:10. Now that I was saved/born again, I understood that I was now a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” The wonderful revelation came: we don’t do good works to get saved; we do them because we are saved. Now saved, we enter upon a lifetime of walking in the Spirit, walking in holiness, walking in obedience to God’s Word, walking in the good works that God has “before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Acts 2:40, NKJV  And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.

In his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter exhorted the new believers to be saved from something — “from this perverse generation (NKJV) … “from this corrupt generation” (KJV). This is entirely consistent with Jesus’ earthly mission: to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Referring to their former sexual immorality, lust, evil desires, and more, the apostle Paul wrote that the Colossians believers “used to walk in these ways, in the life [they] once lived” (Colossians 3:5,7). But as born-again children of God, they were now to “put to death” those evils (vs. 5). Sadly, if a pastor preaches that today, in many American churches he would be accused of bringing the people back into “legalism,” an accusation which, as we have seen, is often the loose-living Christian's excuse for carnal living.

Romans 10:9  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

This verse disproves one issue of wrong thinking that is widely held among American Christians today. It typically goes something like this: “I accepted Jesus as my Savior, then some time later I made Him my Lord.” This is absolutely contrary to God’s Word in the Scriptures.

The Bible never teaches that we can accept Jesus as Savior, but not accept Him as Lord. Quite to the contrary, the apostle clearly taught that if we declare with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” we will “be saved.” The very name Jesus carries the connotation of salvation from sins (Matthew 1:21). However, it is the confessing of Jesus the Savior as Lord that brings us salvation (Romans 10:9). And that includes our willingness to allow His Lordship to affect every area of our lives, our thoughts, and our conduct.

Ephesians 4:22, 24  …to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires … [24] and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

When we come to Jesus in faith and repentance and become born-again sons and daughters of God, something changes in us. We become a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) — “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (KJV). The Amplified Classic version reads: “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!”

The Christian is to put off his old self and to put on the new self, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” To those who take refuge in the legalism excuse, I would challenge you to consider this clearly-stated purpose of our being new creations in Christ. That is, that we are called to become “like God in…holiness.” Far from being legalistic, that verse exhorts us toward one of the greatest imaginable blessings — increasing conformity to the image of God.

1 John 3:22  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

Jesus said of His own relationship to God the Father, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29, NASB). The apostle John encourages us to do the same: “to keep [God’s] commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Take a moment for some sincere self-examination. Are your life, your thoughts, your words and deeds committed to pleasing God always? Or have you settled for a life that walks the line somewhere between holiness and looseness, even carnality? If the latter, you can change that instantly by coming to the Lord in sincere repentance for loose living. He will forgive you and, by His Spirit in you, will give you both the desire and the ability to walk in ways that are pleasing to Him (Philippians 2:13).

Philippians 3:12, NKJV  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

If your self-examination before the Lord reveals shortcomings in your walk with God, repent as we said just above, and expect a new, changed direction in your life. Don’t be discouraged when you see how short of a perfect walk you are. Remember the exhortation of the great apostle Paul. He realized that he had “not…already attained” and that he was “not…already perfected.” He still needed growth in his walk with the Lord. But we should take his counsel and “press on” in our pursuit of the Lord and our walk with Him. God will be faithful to respond to your sincere desire to serve Him better. He will forgive and encourage and equip you to walk closer and closer to Him as you pursue the biblical goal of being “like God in true holiness.” And that, my fellow believers, is the farthest thing imaginable from “bondage and legalism”!

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/legalism-bondage-loose-Christian-excuse.html










Are You Wasting Your Life? What's Your Plan for After Your Death?

Summary:  My friend Buster listened to a man talking about all his plans for the years ahead, then asked him, “What’s your plan for 100 years from now?” Each one of us should be asking ourselves the same question. Are you living your life with a view to eternity? Or are you just frittering it away on self-indulgent goals and activities that ignore the biblical truth that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment”? (Hebrews 9:27)

If you believe in God and that there is something more beyond this life, then this message is for you. If you don’t believe in God, or don’t believe that what we do in this life affects eternity, then I fear that you’ll disregard this article at your eternal peril. I urge you to read on and to consider the reality of the God who loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life now and for all eternity.

Mark 8:36  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

There’s an old story that goes something like this: referring to a deceased man’s last will and testament, someone asked, “How much did he leave?” The answer? “All of it!” The wise person will take into account that none of our possessions and material resources will follow us after death, as the Scripture clearly states: “As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:15, ESV).

Jesus issued this stark warning against a life focused on gaining the things of the world. Such an ill-spent life greatly increases the likelihood of “losing his own soul.” I once heard of a middle-aged man who was already worth $200 million. But his life was thoroughly dedicated to increasing his net worth further. Why? To what end? What effect might that have had on his spiritual life?

In the years when I taught the Pastoral Epistles in bible college, my all-time favorite exam question was: “What is the ‘root of all evil’?” (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV). I had covered this topic extensively in class, yet there were always some students who would wrongly answer “money.” Of course, the correct answer is “the love of money is the root of all evil” (KJV). The verse goes on to say about the love of money: “…which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The dedicated pursuit of wealth is often accompanied by a steady drift from the faith and from your walk with God.

Luke 16:19-25  There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.”

The rich man “lived in luxury” (16) in his earthly lifetime. He enjoyed his “good things … comforts and delights” (25, Amplified). But he had no time for serving God or his neighbor (Lazarus) and ended up in hell for eternity. Jesus told us that the two greatest commandments were (1) to love God and (2) to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). I encourage you to stop reading right here and ask yourself if those are your top two priorities in life. If not, then Jesus is warning you that you are pursuing goals and values of lesser significance than the ones He lists as most important.

Sadly, the rich man chose to serve his riches and possessions rather than to serve God and his fellow man. To his own great loss, he chose poorly in the God-or-mammon issue. Jesus used the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to illustrate an underlying principle with eternal consequences: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13).

Are you squandering your precious time on earth pursuing things that will not count for anything in eternity? Remember, we will leave this life naked, as we entered it, taking with us nothing of our money, our possessions, or our earthly status in the eyes of others.

Luke 8:14  The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear [the Word of God], but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

The self-centered, self-indulgent rich man Jesus spoke of was the worst-case scenario. He ended up in hell’s fire for eternity. Let’s consider now the case of a sincere believer in the Lord who can still allow things to creep in that lead to a life poorly spent on this earth.

It is possible to genuinely believe in Jesus Christ, come to Him in faith and repentance, and still live out our entire lives and “not mature” in our spiritual walk and in our relationship with the Lord. As the Amplified Bible says in this verse: “they bring no fruit to maturity.”

What can cause this sad situation, this unfruitful life? Jesus mentions three things that can “choke” us from maturing and bearing fruit in our lives: (1) worries, (2) riches, and (3) pleasures.

Worries — Cares, concerns, and anxieties about life’s events can be destructive to a fruitful walk with the Lord. The apostle Paul counsels us to take an aggressive, positive approach to this problem: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Riches — We’ve already read that the love of money is greatly harmful. Some people don’t go that far but just fall into the trap of dwelling on money issues and fretting about them. This too can choke our lives from bearing good fruit. We are better off simply determining to serve God, to be willing and diligent workers, and to believe God for His promises to provide for our needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:31-33).

Pleasures — There are many legitimate pleasures in this life on earth. For example, as grandparents of 22 grandkids, my wife and I derive much enjoyment from such things as attending their sports events and cheering them on. Vacationing in our camp trailer alongside a lovely river or lake was another enjoyable and wholesome pleasure. But even such “good” things can become problematical if they consume our time and affections to the detriment of our walk with the Lord. As a 17-year adult resident of Alaska I saw this frequently. The short summer season would arrive, and Christians would spend weekend after weekend out of town fishing, camping, etc., and would go long periods of time away from church services and from ongoing fellowship with other believers.

In sum, worries, riches, and pleasures can divert our focus from God onto secular things. The result is often a life that loses its vital touch with the Lord in corporate worship, in prayer, and in the Word of God.

Hebrews 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

There are three key principles mentioned here for a life that is pleasing to God:

1) We must sincerely believe in God (“that he exists”). The walk with the Lord is a walk of faith, not of sight (2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV).

2) We must believe that God rewards His people. He is a good God, a generous God, a loving God, who is blessed when His people walk in faith towards Him.

3) We must “earnestly seek Him.” This speaks of time spent worshiping Him, time in prayer with Him, time in His Word the Bible. The God-pleasing Christian is one who devotes his or her life to an earnest desire to know, love, and serve the Lord.

John 3:16, 36  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life… [36] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Of course the greatest waste of a life would be to come to the end of one’s years without having come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through personal faith and repentance.

The destiny of those who have resisted the call of Christ’s Gospel is a fearful thing to behold: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, KJV).

Sadly, this is the destination and the eternal condemnation of those who waste their earthly lives serving their own desires and ignore God and the gracious salvation offered by His Son Jesus Christ.

Thankfully, God is calling each of us into His family. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus His Son to die for your sins and rise again from the dead, so that you can receive Him as Lord and Savior and be born again and become sons and daughters of God. That is the single greatest decision you can ever make, and it will open up for you the doors into eternal life with God. If you feel God calling you today to come to Him, please allow evangelist Billy Graham to help you make that life-changing decision for Jesus Christ, www.https://peacewithGod.net.

Psalm 16:11, NKJV  You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

At God’s right hand in heaven are unimaginable pleasures for evermore. Entirely wholesome pleasures, of course, consistent with God’s magnificent holiness.

Do you feel you’ve been wasting your life on earth up to the present? The solution is simple and will alter your life for time and eternity. Come to Jesus personally as your Lord and Savior if you have not yet done this. He will receive you, forgive you, and make you a child of God and an heir of eternal life with Him.

If you’re already a Christian, but feel you’ve frittered away a good portion of your life in pursuits other than the Lord, for you too there is a simple solution. Ask His forgiveness for having set Him aside from the mainstream of your life. And ask Him to help you redirect your focus into a fruitful, rewarding life of loving and serving God and your fellow man, and into a renewed and improved dedication to worship, prayer, and studying His word.

Your life will immediately take on greater meaning to you now, right here on earth. And your reward in eternity will be great from the God who is very pleased when in this life you “earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Don’t waste your life! Make whatever changes are needed, so that you become a God-pleasing, earnest seeker of the Lord.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/wasting-your-life.html












WE Need Revival--The Starting Point for a Move of God

Summary:  Many Christians are crying out to God for revival in their city or nation: "Move, God! Please move!" But God may be saying: "It's your move!" The prevailing pattern of Scripture is God's people being revived first, then that in turn spilling over into ministry to the lost.

Psalm 85:6  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

Do Christians today long for revival? Of course. But their focus and their prayers are often misplaced. They pray for revival among the lost. But before that will happen, there needs to be revival among the saved!

Look carefully at the Book of Acts. You will not find a prevailing pattern of God directly pouring out revival among the lost. What you will find is great moves of God and mighty harvests of souls where God uses His own people — on-fire believers who have had their own stirring personal encounters with the Lord — as His vessels to bring God’s presence powerfully into the lives of the lost.

The inspired psalmist cried out, “Lord, revive us. Revive your people!” When we, the Lord’s committed followers, experience dramatic inward change by God’s stirring in our own souls and spirits, there is no limit to the influence of such Spirit-empowered believers upon the lost of this world.

2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Millions of Christians here in America are praying for God to bring healing revival to our nation. It's no secret that we need revival all across the land. Similar to the psalmist’s words above, the inspired writer of the Chronicles issued God’s cry for a revival, a renewal, a spiritual change for good first among God’s people.

Why do we need revival? God addressed His own: “If my people…” do four things, God said, He would “heal their land.” We long for that, don’t we? Then let’s fulfill those four things God declares that He wants from His people before He would heal their land.

• HUMBLE ourselves. God wants to use in His service men and women whose entire attitude is “not my will but thine be done, Lord.” He wants ministers of the Gospel to point the lost to Jesus Christ, not to themselves or their ministries or reputations. God seeks to use His people greatly, as He used John the Baptist. But let’s be always mindful of John’s humility. Speaking of the coming Messiah (Jesus), that great prophet John said, “[He is] far greater than I am, so great that I am not worthy to carry his shoes!” (Matthew 3:11, Living Bible). 

• PRAY. Time spent with the Lord in prayer is essential to being “revived.” Jesus, our perfect example, sometimes spent entire nights alone with the Father in prayer. This verse is speaking to me personally and is exhorting me to enlarge the scope of my time in prayer with the Lord. If we want God to “heal our land,” then we must do it His way, and that includes “if my people…will pray.” 

• SEEK HIS FACE. We can do this in a number of ways, including prayer, Bible reading, praise and worship, and quiet meditation upon the Lord and His Word. If we, His people, seek His face, He in turn will “hear from heaven” and will use His revived people to work with Him in His plans to “heal [our] land.” 

• TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS. Remember, in context this was addressed to “His people,” not to the heathen. Each of us believers should take this to heart and examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and look for any areas of our lives where we are walking carnally. It is unrealistic to expect the lost to forsake their sins if the saved don’t! Summarizing this famous verse, we see that God promises to hear from heaven and to heal entire nations if His people do these things: humble ourselves … give ourselves to prayer … seek the Lord (“His face”) … and repent and turn from any wicked ways in us. That’s why I said in the title of this message, “We Need Revival.” God’s revived people are the vessels He uses in bringing broader moves of God to entire cities and even nations.

John 5:19, ESV  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

This is what I want, for myself and for you! That is, we become so God-centered — rather than self-focused — that we never act out of our own will, but only according to the leading of God. This was at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. Even though He Himself was Deity, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in His earthly life He never acted on His own. Rather, He was always looking to the Father for what to do and what to say. The closer that we His people can come to this God-centered, selfless attitude, the more effectively God can use us in His plans to reach a lost world.

Acts 8:5-8, 26-39  …[26] Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” … [29] The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Philip had been ministering with great results in Samaria. Souls were being saved, bodies healed, and demons cast out. But Philip was so in tune with the Lord that he heard two promptings from heaven. First he listened to an angel’s direction to leave the very fruitful Samaritan revival and go to a specific place in the desert. Once there, Philip heard the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit tell him exactly where to go and minister, in this case to an Ethiopian official traveling through the desert. Philip obeyed, led the man to Jesus Christ, and to this day stands as an example to us of the type of Spirit-filled, Spirit-led ministry that God’s people can accomplish — if we, like Philip, are walking very close to the Lord.

The Book of Acts records some great spiritual harvests, where multitudes were saved or healed in Jesus’ name. But these things didn’t just “happen” to them out of the blue. No, rather, Christian believers on fire for the Lord and full of the Holy Spirit obeyed God’s directions and went forth and ministered powerfully to the lost, the sick, and those under demon power. Spiritually stirred believers ministered under the anointing of the Spirit and with their personal inward fires burning brightly for Jesus (Luke 12:35). And multitudes were touched for the Lord. Here are some examples of great harvests under the ministries of stirred-up, revived, Spirit-filled believers in the Book of Acts.

• The 120 disciples received the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4). They all spoke in other tongues (languages unknown to them). Many in the crowd marveled (2:12). Newly Spirit-filled Peter stood up and preached a powerful evangelistic message (2:14-36). As a result, 3,000 people were saved and baptized! (2:41). This Spirit-anointed preacher is the same Peter who only weeks earlier had denied Jesus three times! 

• In Acts 3 we see Peter and John, in the fresh bloom of their own personal Pentecost, raise up a lifelong cripple in Jesus’ name (3:2-11). Again Peter preached a Holy Spirit-anointed message to the bystanders who marveled at this miracle of healing. As a result, the number of saved believers “grew to about five thousand” (4:4). 

• Later in Acts we see a man named Philip, one of the original seven deacons (6:1-6). He was a man “full of the Spirit and wisdom” (6:3). Later (Acts 8:4-8) we see the same Philip preaching powerfully in Jesus’ name in Samaria. Large numbers of people were being saved, healed, and delivered through the Spirit-anointed ministry of this man. 

• A few paragraphs above we just read how, in the midst of this great harvest in Samaria, the Lord moved Philip away from there to minister to a solitary Ethiopian man in the desert (Acts 8:26-39). Here too God chose to use a man (Philip) who was fully in tune with the Holy Spirit (vs. 29). Surely by now the point is becoming clear: Personally revived, Spirit-anointed, on-fire-for-Jesus believers were the human agents God sent and used to participate in great moves of God. 

• The apostle Paul, a man full of the Spirit and fully devoted to Jesus Christ, preached the Gospel in Lystra. Then looking towards a listener who had been lame from birth, Paul called out, “Stand up on your feet!” and the man did, causing astonishment among the onlookers (Acts 14:8-18). 

• Peter, a man full of the Spirit and given to prayer (Acts 6:4; 9:40), was used by God to raise the dead woman Dorcas to life. And this miracle led many people in that town of Joppa to faith in Christ (9:36-42). Just prior to that (9:32-35) God used Peter to raise up paralyzed Aeneas. As a result, “all those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord” (35). Just think of that! One individual prayerful, Spirit-filled man (Peter) was God’s agent to do a miracle and thereby to lead two whole towns to faith in Christ. 

• More examples from the Bible could be given. But the point has been made clearly: when God’s people, His faithful followers, draw close to God and find themselves spiritually renewed and empowered, they in turn minister to a lost world with dramatic, powerful results. The takeaway for you and me as Christian believers? Just this: “Lord, revive us; revive your people!” Then we in turn can effectively bring the Lord’s Gospel to a world that does not know Him.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Thessalonians 1:5, NASB  …our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.

You don’t need a lot of education and degrees to be used by God. If you have your “B.A.” (Born Again) and your “BHS” (“Baptism with the Holy Spirit”), you are well equipped to minister powerfully to those around you.

Paul said it wasn’t “wise and persuasive words” that reached people for the Lord. Rather, it was “demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” If you are born again, have the baptism with the Spirit, and are walking prayerfully, humbly, and in holiness before God (2 Chr. 7:14), then expect God to use you to bear fruit in His harvest. God’s Word shared and testified in Holy Ghost power (1 Thess. 1:5) by men and women of God walking close to Him will reach many people for the Lord.

Acts 4:13  When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Do you feel “unschooled and ordinary”? You’re in good company(!) with Peter, John, Jesus’ mother Mary, and most of Christ’s earliest disciples. In the world’s eyes they were unqualified. But oh, they certainly were qualified! Why? How? The answer (then and now) is that they “had been with Jesus.”

That’s the urgent need for believers today — to have much time “with Jesus”! Get to know Him more closely through His Word the Bible, through time in prayer, in individual worship and in worship with fellow believers in your local church. Let His indwelling Holy Spirit lead you, empower you, and convict you of any sinful areas to renounce. Then be ready for God to use you greatly in His service and for His glory.

Psalm 85:6  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

Yes, my fellow Christians — We need revival to help usher in the move of God. We’ll close with our opening verse. Let your daily prayer be: “Lord, revive me, stir me, convict me, empower me, then use me in your plans for this lost world.” An army of such revived Christians will be the ministers of the Lord in harvesting great fruit for the kingdom of God.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/Gods-people-need-revival.html










Proof That You Love God (or Don't): Keeping His Commandments

Summary:  Most Christians find it easy to say, “I love God.” But do we really? Do we pass a simple but all-important Scriptural test of that love for God? Come see.​


Matthew 22:36-38  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Jesus said that to love the Lord our God fully, devotedly, with all that is in us, is the greatest commandment.

Do you love God? The Bible gives a very simple test to see if you do. Please come take the test.

1 John 5:3  In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.

To repeat, the question is: do you love God? The answer is: are you keeping his commands?

If you preached that message in some churches today, some of the hearers would be thinking, “That preacher is trying to get us into a ‘works trip’.” Well, that preacher was the apostle John, who was one of the very closest disciples of Jesus.

More importantly, this is holy Scripture, inspired by the Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16). The infallible Word of God gives us this simple self-test: if you really love God, you will be obeying Him by keeping His commands. Loving God is not simply saying that we love Him. That’s easy; anybody can say that. No, rather, loving God is proven by a believer’s searching out God’s instructions in the Bible and dedicating himself to obeying those divine commands, instructions, and teachings. In sum, our love for God is proven not by our words or our emotions, but by our actions, by our obedience, by how we live our lives in God’s sight.

Jesus Christ Himself made this obedience issue central to His Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). To pastors, to Sunday school teachers, to church elders and other Christian leaders I say: If you are not teaching God’s people to be disciples dedicated to obedience to the teachings of the Lord in Scripture, then you are failing the Great Commission!

John 14:15, NASB  [Jesus said] If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 14:21a  [Jesus said] Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.

21a, Amplified  The person who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me.

A true follower of Jesus, one who genuinely loves our Savior, will obey and keep the Lord’s commands. In the Scriptures above, Jesus said that keeping His commands is the proof, the evidence, that we truly love Him.

• “If you love me, you will keep My commandments.”

• Who loves Jesus? — “Whoever has my commands and keeps them”!

I don’t wish to belabor this point. Very clearly, the Bible tells us that there is a simple test to determine whether or not we love God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. And that test is: are we keeping the commands, the teachings, the instructions they have given us in Scripture? James in his epistle stated this same principle concerning faith: “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18, ESV). In the same way, we show God our love by our obedience in keeping His commands.

I suspect that every one of us, myself included, feels a sense of Holy Spirit conviction if we take this teaching seriously. I want each of us to love the Lord with 100% purity and devotion. So my takeaway from the Scriptures we have looked at is the threefold importance of:

• …searching God’s Word, the Bible, daily to learn God’s teachings, commands, and instructions to us;

• …diligently and with determination obeying those divine commands;

• …thereby building in our lives the biblically-described foundation upon which to truly love God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/proof-you-love-God.html








All Means All! Don't Miss God’s Promises and Blessings

Summary:  Many fail to receive the full blessings of God's promises because they invent limits to what God will do for them. But the Scriptures have dozens of God’s promises that apply to “all” who will believe and receive. As my first pastor used to say when referring to God’s Word the Bible, “let your all be all!”

Psalm 103:2-3  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

Matthew 8:16  When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.

Each of us falls under the Bible’s indictment that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). And our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Happily, we are assured that “forgiveness of sins will be preached in [Jesus’] name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). Jesus the Son of God came to earth and died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead. By faith in Him and by sincere repentance, we can receive God’s promise that He “forgives all [our] sins.”

What about physical healing? God’s promise in the psalm above is that He “heals all” our diseases. While on earth 2,000 years ago Jesus “healed all the sick,” the Bible says. And He is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). To those who believe that Jesus can heal and is willing to heal them, you too can “praise the Lord … who heals all your diseases.”

My late wife went on to her heavenly reward after 38 years of our marriage. For our first six years, she had suffered from a medically diagnosed infertility problem. Then God supernaturally healed her, and she bore us four children, all now adults and who have given us 12 grandchildren. I thank God that He is both able and willing to “heal all” our diseases and infirmities.

God doesn't use words obscurely. When God says "all," you can count on the fact that His "all" means "all"! He is willing to forgive all your sins and to heal all your diseases.

Acts 10:36  You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Is Jesus your Lord? Then every problem or troubling issue you have is under His control. Why? Because He is Lord of all! Receive Jesus into your life through sincere faith and repentance from sin, and He will begin to reign in your life in wonderful ways, because He loves you and wishes the best for you.

Some 40 years ago in Anchorage, Alaska, I saw his Lordship over Satan and his demons demonstrated in a mighty way. Three of us went to pray for a young woman who had entertained serious demonic activity and had become what the Bible calls “possessed” by demons. A fierce spiritual battle followed. But at the end of several hours we saw victory by invoking the almighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ against those powers of hell. Four demons came out of her, and within literally just a few minutes she confessed Jesus as Savior and was born again and quickly baptized in the Holy Spirit, immediately speaking in tongues, crying for joy, and saying, “This is what I’ve always wanted!” And she was in church the next Sunday service! Jesus is indeed Lord of all, including even the devil and his evil spirits.

Matthew 28:18-19  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore [YOU] go and make disciples of all nations…

Mark 16:17-18  “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons…they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

God the Father has granted to His Son Jesus all authority everywhere, “in heaven and on earth.” Amazingly, Jesus did not hesitate to grant to His followers (then and now) to go and minister in that authority. Right after He said, “All authority has been given to me,” He said to His believing followers, “Therefore you go” and minister in power in all the world, casting out demons, healing the sick, and spreading the Gospel of Christ across the world.

What a privilege that we are included in the expression of Jesus’ authority over this world. And He is willing to impart to us from His “all authority” the power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, speak in tongues, prophesy, and many other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Again, as my pastor once said, let your all be all! Jesus has all authority, and He sends us forth to minister on His behalf and in His name with His delegation of that authority to us.

1 Timothy 2:3-4  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Titus 2:11  For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.

2 Peter 3:9, KJV  [The Lord] is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

There is a curious (and erroneous) teaching in some Christian circles that only some are called to be saved and some are not. But the Scriptures clearly open God’s salvation to all. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that “God…wants all people to be saved.” Paul wrote to Titus that God’s “grace…offers salvation to all people.” The apostle Peter declared that the Lord “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Do you have an unsaved friend or family member and you’ve been praying for their salvation? Be encouraged! Remember, God “wants all [including them!] to be saved.” His offer of “salvation to all” includes your family and friends. Why? Because it is not God’s will that any (including them) should perish.

Therefore be emboldened to share the Gospel with any and all whom God brings into your life, knowing that it is the heart and desire and will of God Almighty that they come to repentance and be saved.

Acts 1:5; 2:4, 38-39  John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… [2:4] All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them… [38] Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.

In April 1971 in Anchorage, Alaska’s First Assembly of God, I attended a charismatic clinic. Among the speakers were Dick Mills and Pastor Ralph Wilkerson. At the close of a sermon by Dick Mills, I responded to an invitation to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In a nearby counseling room, Pastor Wilkerson prayed individually for each of us. When he laid hands on me, I immediately began to speak in tongues and went to my knees in the marvelous joy of this new experience of God’s Holy Spirit.

To those who wonder whether this Holy Ghost filling is for today, remember the apostle Peter’s words: The promise is “for you and your children and for all who are far off….”

2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

The King James Version says that the Scriptures were “given by inspiration of God.” As the NIV translation says, they are God-breathed!

Some may be wondering, can I trust the Scriptures to be reliable, true, and helpful? The apostle Paul (the inspired writer of half the books of the New Testament) wrote confidently that the Scriptures of the Bible are “God-breathed.” Their origin is from God, not from man, and they are therefore reliable and useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness. So how confident can you be in God’s Word the Bible? Totally! Because “all Scripture is God-breathed…[is] given by inspiration of God.”

Matthew 6:31-33  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

“All these things” (food, clothing, [shelter]) will be “given to you” as you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Jesus told us not to be like the pagans, who “run after these things.” Be like Christ and the early disciples (Paul and others) who sought after and served God first, all else afterwards. And all the necessities of life will be “given to you as well.”

Matthew 19:25-26  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Don’t be intimidated by daunting tasks or by apparent opposition. If God is in your life, no matter what difficulties you face, with God all things are possible!

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I will confess that I tend to drift into anxiety. For example, I recently faced a surgery and had a sleepless night before the operation. But I’ve learned, and am getting better at it, to cast all my anxiety on the Lord. Even now, at age 74, I am still trying to grow more deeply in the application of biblical principles to my life. And this one — casting all our anxieties and cares on the Lord — is becoming more and more a part of me. But I still have a ways to go and am pressing into this.

The Scripture really works that says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). What is God saying here? He is telling us not to be anxious about anything, but rather in every situation to seek Him in prayer, with thanksgiving. And His peace will replace our anxieties. I’m making efforts, with God’s help, to apply this Scripture more and more in my life, and it works!

Matthew 22:36-38  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ [Mark 12:30 adds “with all your strength”] This is the first and greatest commandment.

Perhaps I should have started with this Scripture, since Jesus called it the “first and greatest commandment.” What could be more important in this life and in eternity than to love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength? After all, we are able to be saved and become God’s children as a result of love (His!), as John writes: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We have the privilege — and the duty — of loving the God who has sent His very best, Jesus His Son, to die for us and redeem us back to Himself.

Our faith is much more than a series of beliefs and doctrines. It is a love relationship with God Almighty and with His Son Jesus. This is the “first and greatest commandment.”

1 Corinthians 10:31  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

There are lots more “ALLs” in Scripture. But these two verses sum up this topic perfectly.

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God…[and] do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”

Live your lives devoted to God the Father, live dedicated to Jesus Christ. Love them with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And whatever each day brings to you, do it all for the glory and honor of our heavenly Father and His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


https://www.jimfeeney.org/let-your-all-be-all.html









Going Nowhere in Your Christian Life? Frustrated? Stagnant? Running in Place?  Part 2

Summary:  Do you ever feel like you’re running in place in your walk with the Lord? No forward progress? Just “same-old, same-old”? Your spiritual life feels listless, sluggish, passive? There’s one thing that will jump-start your Christian life, and that’s a more direct and personal connection with Jesus Christ. Come see how that truth is a dominant key in Scripture to advancing in multiple aspects of your Christian faith and walk.

Are You Losing Too Many Battles with the Devil?

Mark 9:17-26  A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” …[25] When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

Where the disciples had failed, Jesus quickly brought deliverance to the demon-possessed boy. He still does that today for any who look to Him for deliverance from the devil’s strategies. Note: I do not believe that born-again Christians can be demon-possessed. But the devil still comes against believers in many ways and tries to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) our walk with God. 1 Peter 5:9 commands Christians to “resist him, firm in the faith.” Not just faith in doctrinal truth, but faith in the Person that our faith is about — the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can bring us to God the Father and into the family of God.

Mark 16:15-18  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons…

The key to victory over demonic attacks of any kind is personal faith in Jesus Christ. He Himself in the Great Commission said to “those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons.” If believers can drive out demons from the possessed, we can certainly run off demons and prevent them from affecting our own lives. How? It is “Christ in us” who enables us to get personal victory over Satan and his demons and their devilish strategies against us and our walk with the Lord.

Not Seeing Consistent Answers to Prayer?

Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV  …let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…

Vs. 2, NIV  fixing our eyes on Jesus…

Note these words carefully: “Looking unto Jesus … fixing our eyes on Jesus.” That is what we need to do continually. Our lives in this world are filled with things that compete for our focus on the Lord. The Holy Spirit in Hebrews 12:2 is giving us a key to Christian victory — get our focus off the things of the world and place it intently, deliberately, consciously upon the wonderful Son of God, our Lord and Savior. From that close communion with Him will flow many blessings, including seeing our prayers become more fruitful. Take a look at the verse just below.

2 Corinthians 1:20, Amplified Bible  For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.”

Are you praying for healing? God gives many promises of divine healing in Scripture. Praying for financial needs? God has biblical promises you can count on. Praying for healed relationships with family or friends? There are multiple bible promises to take hold of.

But two important keys to having faith for answered prayer are: (1) discern from Scripture that you are praying according to God’s will [1 John 5:14-15]; and (2) be absolutely convinced upon the reliability of God’s Word that “as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] 'Yes'.” The Scriptures assure us that Jesus Himself is God’s Guarantee to us that His promises are true and will work for us. So as you pray, as Hebrews 12:2 says, look to Jesus. Fix your eyes, your heart, your mind, your focus on Him. And you will experience Jesus as the “Yes and Amen” to your heartfelt prayers.

Not Having Any Success Leading Others to Salvation in Jesus?

John 12:21  They came to Philip … “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 4:5  …what we preach is … Jesus Christ as Lord…

Every Christian has a God-given desire to see others experience the joy of finding Jesus Christ as their Savior. But the large majority of Christians go year after year not seeing much if any fruit of souls saved. And this despite the fact that the world is full of people like those who came to Philip and said that they would “like to see Jesus.”

The Church today has come up with techniques and programs to lead souls to Christ, but they don’t seem to be having much fruit in 21st-century America. We need to get back to what the great soulwinning apostle Paul did, and that is to “preach…Jesus Christ as Lord.” Not our doctrine, not reams of theology (although no doubt these things properly used are good), but a matchless Person — our magnificent, divine Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In high school over a half-century ago I studied four years of theology (we called it "Religion"), five schooldays a week, and I still wasn’t born again! It was the same in college — 37 semester hours of theology and philosophy, and yet I continued in my unsaved condition. In all those eight years of study, there was not a lot of emphasis on the Lord Jesus. Then in my mid-20’s I began to hear about having personal faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for my salvation. Not the Church, not creeds, but Jesus Himself! I began to hear testimonies from people whose lives had been changed by a personal embracing of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I started reading the Bible daily, and I began to see Jesus clearly in the holy Word of God. And in February 1969, all alone in my room, I received him in faith and repentance as my Savior and Lord. I was immediately and wonderfully saved, born again into the family of God. How? It was and will always be through a personal relationship with Jesus! He declared (John 14:6) that He, only He, is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that no one can come to God the Father except through Him.

You can immediately supercharge your soulwinning efforts by simply telling people about Jesus — the Lord, the Savior, the Son of God, crucified for our sins, raised from the dead, and calling out from heaven to every living man, woman, and child: “Come to me!” Make that the focus of your evangelizing efforts, and surely you will begin to see souls saved.

John 21:3b-6  So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

One last thought on successful evangelizing. Sometimes, like those early fishermen, we can toil and toil, work and work in our own strength, and get no results. That’s true in natural fishing and also in trying to be what Jesus called “fishers of men.” But be encouraged by the “fishing” verses above. Where the real “catch” of souls occurs is when attentive Christians listen carefully for the voice of Jesus, for His divine leading. Each day ask Him, “Lord, is there somewhere you want me to cast the net? Is there a hungry soul that I’m unaware of, but whom you’ve been drawing so that I might speak to him or her about You?” Follow Jesus' leadings, His gentle promptings, and you will surely see the fruit of souls turning their lives over to Him.

Are You Uncertain About Your Own Salvation?

John 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Perhaps there are some readers who are unsure about your own salvation. Are you truly born again? Are you a son or daughter of God, destined for heaven and the Lord’s eternal presence? You can remove all uncertainties in the next few minutes. Obey the Bible’s counsel and “turn to God in repentance [for your sins] and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21). Do so, and I assure you by the Word of God that He will receive you and will declare with certainty to your hearts that you are His “sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

You don’t have to labor and struggle to receive God’s salvation. No! To the contrary, salvation is a free gift of God to you (Revelation 22:17). And it all centers upon the magnificent Savior, the crucified and resurrected Son of God, Jesus Christ! Bring your sins to Him in sincere sorrow, ask for His forgiveness, believe in Him and receive Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior. He will save you! He will forgive you totally! He will include you in the family of God. And you can look forward to spending an eternity in His indescribably glorious presence.

So as we opened, let us close this message. Do you feel as if you’re getting nowhere in your Christian life? You can turn it around today. Let “Behold, the Lamb of God” be your daily cry. Look to Jesus, fix your eyes and heart and focus upon Him daily. Set aside all mental clutter and simply direct your spiritual gaze upon Him. Talk with Him as you pray. Expect to see Him continually revealed in greater clarity as you read the Bible.

In sum — God has made many hundreds (some say thousands) of wonderful promises to you in His Word, the Bible. Remember as our closing thought that all those promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” to you through Jesus Christ our Lord (2 Corinthians 1:20).

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/getting-nowhere-Christian-life.html








Going Nowhere in Your Christian Life? Frustrated? Stagnant? Running in Place?  Part 1

Summary:  Do you ever feel like you’re running in place in your walk with the Lord? No forward progress? Just “same-old, same-old”? Your spiritual life feels listless, sluggish, passive? There’s one thing that will jump-start your Christian life, and that’s a more direct and personal connection with Jesus Christ. Come see how that truth is a dominant key in Scripture to advancing in multiple aspects of your Christian faith and walk.


Luke 5:4-6  When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

Vs. 5, ESV  [Simon said] “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Peter and his fellow fishermen had toiled all night, but hadn’t caught a single fish. Then one thing happened and they pulled in a huge catch. What happened? Jesus entered the scene and spoke a word to them: “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Although tired from their own all-night labors, nevertheless they obeyed Jesus, and they hauled in a spectacular harvest of fish.

What is our takeaway? Simply this, that we can “toil all night” for the Lord (or for days and weeks on end!) and still seem to be getting nowhere. Remember, these hard-working men were experienced, professional fishermen. But they got skunked! Then Jesus came into the picture and redirected their focus. The result? A huge catch. We too can expend energy and hours “toiling” to increase in our walk with God, thinking that if we work hard enough at it, surely we’ll grow in the Lord. But if that’s you, what you probably need to do is to refocus your gaze directly on the Person of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to simply listen to Him and His perfect guidance, and to see the fruit in your lives increase dramatically. Go from “we’ve worked hard all night” with no fruit to “because you say so” leading to much fruit in your Christian walk.

John 21:3b-6  So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

In this similar scene that occurred after Jesus’ resurrection, once again the disciples had fished all night and caught nothing. Then Jesus appeared on shore and called out to them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat.” They obeyed and, as in the earlier event (Luke 5:4-6), they hauled in a “large number of fish.”

Once again, the takeaway — they had labored in their own skills long and hard, but with no fruit. Then Jesus came on the scene, gave them guidance, they obeyed, and the catch of fish was large. It’s the same in our spiritual lives. We thrive in the presence of, communication with, and obedience to Jesus Christ. I am not saying that we are excused from working hard in our Christian walks. Of course God wants us to be diligent in our service to Him. But what the Scriptures are saying is that we will not succeed in our endeavors for the Lord primarily on the strength of our diligent works, but rather on drawing close to Jesus Christ, loving and worshiping Him, seeking Him in the Scriptures and in prayer and worship, and thereby growing in our personal relationship with Him and in our “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). It is the real, personal presence of Jesus Christ — “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27) — that imparts life and victory to all else that we do.

Not Getting Your Healing?

Mark 5:24-34  …A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years… [27] When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him… [34]  He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

For nearly half a century I have studied divine healing in the Scriptures and in bible-based books on the subject. Praying for the sick and seeing them healed is clearly biblical. But…why then do we see relatively few healed?

I believe the woman with the bleeding disorder understood the key: “[my paraphrase] If I can just get to Jesus, I will be healed!” She did, and power went out from Jesus (30), and she was immediately healed. After nearly five decades of praying for the sick, I’m coming to the increasing realization that healing flows from a consciousness of the presence and power of the omnipotent Lord Jesus Christ. Peter was among the disciples to whom Jesus promised, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). I am convinced that Peter was acutely conscious that Jesus, although not visible, was truly “with him” when Peter said to the paralytic, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up.” (Acts 9:34) Notice the apostle’s well-chosen words: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you.”

I encourage those reading this today to rethink your approach to praying for healing. Are you depending on learned formulas? proper wording? multiple repetitions? slogans popular in this or that group, etc.? Peter did none of that. He knew that Jesus Christ the Lord has promised to be with us as we minister on His behalf to men’s and women’s bodies, souls, and spirits. So Peter could simply proclaim with simple but confident faith, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up.” And Aeneas did! Peter quoted no man-taught slogans. His voice didn’t thunder with ear-shattering volume. He didn’t suggest in advance that the healing might be gradual (the “gradual” healings by Jesus in Scripture we can count on one hand…or less). He just straightforwardly told the paralytic that “Jesus heals” you.

In the Book of Acts we see Peter and John minister the Lord’s healing to a beggar who was lame from birth. With no fanfare, Peter simply said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). And the lame man began to walk and jump and praise God (vss. 7-8). Immediately Peter preached to the astounded, gathering crowd, explaining, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see” (vs. 16). Notice that Peter attributed the healing power entirely to Jesus. He said the same later to the Jewish Sanhedrin when they asked, “By what power or name did you do this?” (4:7) Peter boldly replied with these Christ-honoring words: “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (4:10).

As you pray for the physical healing of a friend or loved one, it is of course a good thing to quote relevant Bible verses on healing. But remember that Jesus, speaking of the Scriptures, said, “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39, NIV). Our goal through the Word of God and our prayers should be to make the sick person aware of the love, the power, the presence, and the willingness of Jesus the Healer to touch their sick bodies.

James 5:14-15 wonderfully captures this approach to healing — “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” The sick person expresses his or her faith by calling the elders for prayer. The elders come and anoint with oil and pray their prayer of faith. Then comes the most reliable and trustworthy part: “The Lord will raise them up.” It is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ who brings the healing. In response to prayer and faith? Of course. But lest we miss it, who does the healing? “The Lord will raise them up.”

Matthew 17:14-17  When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water… [17] Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

Very simply, as we seek divine healing for ourselves or others, the key is to bring them to Jesus. Where the disciples had failed, Jesus said, “Bring the boy here to me.” Should we mere mortals lay hands on and pray for the sick? Certainly! But our greatest desire in doing so should be to encourage them to receive directly from the wonderful, faithful Healer, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are You Weary? Weighed Down? Spiritually Dry?

Matthew 11:28-29  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

John 7:37-39  …Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

I have known many Christians who, at times in their lives, have felt “dry” in their walk with the Lord. I too have felt that on occasion. Jesus graciously spoke of the solution: Are you weary? “Come to me.” Burdened and heavy laden? “Come to me.” Dry, thirsty? “Come to me.” As we do this, He has promised to give us rest for our souls and rivers of living water to flow from within us.

What is Christ’s word to the weary, the burdened, the spiritually dry? Come to Jesus! He will encourage you, He will give rest to your weariness, He will satisfy your dryness with rivers of life-giving waters by His Holy Spirit.

Struggling to Receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit?

Mark 1:7-8  And this was [John the Baptist’s] message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (also in Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33, all referring to Jesus as the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit)

My wife was raised in the unfortunate early Pentecostal religious tradition where believers “tarried” for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Happily, she was filled with the Spirit despite that teaching which has held many back. Thankfully, that practice has faded away, as Christians have realized from Scripture that once the Holy Spirit baptism was first given on that Acts 2 Day of Pentecost, all born-again believers may receive immediately. The first 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) received the Spirit baptism (2:1-4), spoke in other tongues (vs. 4), and received a great impartation of God’s power to be Christ’s witnesses (1:8). Since that day in Acts 2, both in the rest of the New Testament and in Christian history to this day, literally hundreds of millions more believers have received that power-imparting baptism with the Spirit. And you may receive it today!

All four Gospels describe Jesus as the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And that is the key to receiving that great infilling by the third Person of the trinity. If you’ve been struggling unsuccessfully to be baptized with the Spirit, remember our earlier Scripture where Jesus said “Come to me” (John 7:37-39). Believers in Him who do that, Jesus said, will receive the Spirit and will experience the flow of God’s rivers of living water from within themselves. [Note: I believe that Jesus’ promise in these verses can apply to both our new birth by the Spirit and our baptism with the Spirit].

You can be prayed for at church (or anywhere), or even receive all alone in your room at home. Simply come to Jesus, look to Him as your Baptizer with the Spirit. Ask Jesus to fill you with His Spirit, expect to receive directly from Him, begin to speak forth in tongues as the Holy Spirit gives you utterance (Acts 2:4, KJV), and experience that blessed power of your personal Pentecost. In sum, come to Jesus, the Baptizer in the Spirit.

Continued next week with Part 2

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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