Money Talks

You’ve heard that money talks; well it does!  Even more, money tells the truth. It tells the truth about what we love. Our money talks louder than our mouth. Jesus said, “where your treasure is your heart will be also.”   Because this is true, we put our money where our heart is not where our mouth is.

We husbands can say “I love you sweetheart” but never give our wives any money for shoes or things that delight them.  Or were a bit tight about her spending $90.00 on a dress but we have to have a $400 fishing rod or some other necessary equipment.   In fact, it’s funny when you walk down the street where we live, you can tell which the husband’s car is and which the wife’s car is.  The husband has the V8 commodore and the wife is the $3000 Toyota.  Money tells it like it is.

One day Mary came to Jesus and declared her love without words; her money spoke. Her money told the truth.  She came that day with a jar of spikenard to pour over his feet, worth $100,000 in today’s money. This was her lively hood. If she was previously a “lady of the night,” this would represent her life savings. She needed this for her future years as she would never be married. She gave it totally to Jesus. Her heart and her gifts said “You’re my greatest love. More than any wealthy man, who kept me, brought me or delighted in me. You are now more than everything in the world. You are now my future; all of my hopes are in you.” She told the truth of her love, out of her heart and her gift filled the house with the fragrance of that worship.

Friend, we have many opportunities to give to Jesus and if the truth is being told when we do, it will fill His house with that fragrance.

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Saved by the Donkey

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the ass or donkey, just before the feast of Passover. I even had been prophesied “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Look, your king is coming to you! He is humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt of a donkey.'” Mat 21:5   Jesus rode on a donkey because the ass in the Bible is a symbol of the work of God or His Spirit in our lives.   Most of us are familiar with the horse representing man’s ability, or the work of the flesh. Man without God.  Psalm 20 tells us “Some trust in chariots some in horses but we will remember the name of the Lord God”.  The horse is an impressive beast that man can trust in as a source of strength, in the time of battle.   God’s commentary on this is “A horse is a vain thing for safety; neither shall he deliver by his great strength (Psalm 33:17).    When Israel was redeemed from Egypt they sang this song after the waters had closed in over Pharaoh and his horses. “I will sing to Jehovah, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea” (Exodus 15:1).  The red sea symbolises water baptism in which God triumphs over the horse (flesh) and the rider (devil who rides or dominates the flesh).

Where the horse is symbolic of works of flesh, the donkey is symbolic of work of God, the work of Christ or the work of the Spirit.

In Numbers 22, the prophet Balaam got on his donkey to go on a disobedient mission. On his way, the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord who had come to kill Balaam and turned off the path. Balaam smote the donkey to get it back on track.  In the end the donkey had to collapse under Balaam, to save the disobedient man from being killed. Balaam was angry at the donkey who protested his innocence.  Finally the Angel of the Lord asked why he had been beating his donkey since the ass had been trying to save his life and assured Balaam that “if she had not gone to one side, I would certainly have put you to death and kept her safe.”

Balaam represents all of mankind; we have made mistakes and disobeyed God. The donkey is a picture of Jesus and all that he did for us.   Jesus saw the judgement coming and acted to save mankind from the judgement of the Lord. He never did mankind any harm but like the donkey, Christ was misunderstood and punished unjustly.  He was an innocent sufferer and the persons he was seeking to save wanted to kill him.   The Jesus like the donkey asked “If I have done no wrong why you strike me? “(John 18.23). Jesus was willing to be struck wrongly in order to save man from death.

Friend, thank God for his love for sinful men.  If His “humble donkey” Christ hadn’t saved us by taking the punishment that we deserved, we would have met with judgment instead.

Just like Jesus?

Sometimes we feel a little bit underpowered and think “shouldn’t I feel like a super hero. When I walk down the street shouldn’t people fall under conviction and telephone poles melt into the pavement or shouldn’t our day filled with miracles as the sheer power of our shadow falls upon broken people .

We forget that Jesus divinity was veiled by His humanity. When Jesus walked along the street people couldn’t see obviously that he was the Son of God. Some people still thought he was the son of Mary and Joseph. He wasn’t glowing apart from on the Mount of transliteration. The rest of the time he just looked like everybody else and still needed to eat and rest. As a child he knew nothing and had to memorise the Torah by the age of 12.

We can not know anybody after the flesh. Your humanity doesn’t matter;  it’s your divine nature inside that counts.  You don’t need to have a degree in order to pray for a doctor with a Ph.D.  You don’t need to have money to pray for a rich man; you have more resources than the U.N. you have the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus became a man, to win back that which was lost by men. What was lost by the first son (Adam) was won back by a Son of God and that dominion is now given back to the sons of God.   Jesus and us are brothers for we are both sons. The difference is that  Jesus was sinless and Jesus was the firstborn of the new creation. Col 1:15.  We are touched by sin and we are the second born.   The firstborn son in a Jewish family got the double portion because they were responsible to care for and provide for the rest of the family. It was a heavy responsibility. It was their responsibility to bear the judgement for all the other siblings’ errors and provide judgements were needed. When Joseph was about to be killed by his brothers, Rueben the firstborn said don’t kill him.   His firstborn responsibilities were kicking in.  You could say that the firstborn were liable for Justice and judgement while the second borns receive mercy. Jesus was the firstborn of the new creation. He was the one that received judgement. He was the one that brought justice so the second born (that’s all the rest of us sons and daughters) could receive mercy.

Friend,  we are the sons and daughters of God  in the world.  The Son and the other sons have the same purpose.  “I came down no to do my own  will but the will of him who sent me.” John 6.38 .  Jesus said “as Father sent me so I send you into the world” John 17.

We may feel not much different but we are completely different. We are 100% human but with a divine nature. He is resident within us and that changes everything, every moment, everywhere.

Breaking the vessel

Mary came to Jesus with the alabaster box filled with fragrant ointment.  Nobody knew she had it right by her, they didn’t know what that box contained.  They hadn’t even noticed until she broke the vessel and then everybody knew.  Everybody smelt the fragrance, everybody knew what was inside the box, it could not be hid.  She worshipped Jesus and anoints Him filling the whole house with the fragrance and touching everybody around about her.  That is the power of the broken vessel.   It is only when our vessel is broken, that the water of life or the anointing of the Spirit, is fully released.

Now to be a broken vessel might not sound too good. I’m not talking about a car crash or some physical breaking and smashing. The breaking of the vessel simply means that the vessel itself no longer hinders or impairs the expression of the life that is within it.   And that basically means dying to self. No surprise there.  Jesus  is called a broken vessel in his death.  Ps 31 .12.

Ever noticed what happens when somebody breaks their vessel.  Someone might stand to testify, they are polished their clear and people may be impressed by the speech. But what about the person that gets up admits to being nervous, they tell a story of pain and honestly share their struggles.  They might begin to cry, everyone feels for them and somehow seeming courage fills their life as well. It may not have been a great speech but somehow when the person breaks open their vessel there was a fragrance of Jesus that filled the room.   Maybe it was someone who steps out to prophesy; they take a risk or a singer who breaks their vessel to sing a song –  scary as it might be, the vessel is broken and fragrance fills the house.  Even just walking over to say hello to a new neighbor, or stopping to help someone in trouble when you’re busy, is breaking the vessel and letting the oil and fragrance of life flow out into the world.

When Gideon broke the vessels, the light shone out bringing victory over his enemies. It was only a clay pot but it contained something greater. You contain someone wiser, someone more powerful, someone more benevolent and purposeful; someone more loving.

Friends, let God break the vessel today. When you choose to break your vessel the life of God will be expressed through us unimpaired. Let Him pour through you.

Amazing grace

The Grace of God creates, empowers, equips and calls us for a purpose all by grace.  Paul said “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. (1Cor 3:10) 

The Grace given to Paul enabled him in his ministry. He built according to the Grace he was given.  The Grace of God is a gift to everybody but when we receive the Grace of God, He gives something to each of us in a unique way as well, so that the Grace you get, is specific to you in some way.  Grace equips you for a specific task and ministry.  Paul said it enabled him to labour abundantly.     “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1Cor  15:10). 

Paul said the Grace of God in him enabled him to be a church planter, a grace which not everybody has.   The Grace of God equipped Paul for his purpose. When you have received a Grace from God, you have received a gift to do something.   Everybody has received a Grace.   Gifts like our motivational gift are from Grace, so you can do that thing really easily.  A server will serve and enjoy it a lot.  An Administrator gift won’t get stressed out having to operate that gift because it is a Grace upon their life, yet somebody else who does not have that grace, could be stressed by it.   It is the difference between burning the oil in the lamp or burning the wick of the lamp. People burnout if they haven’t been using the oil or gift of the spirit so they have to do something they are not gifted to do and end up burning the wick.  So we need to find out what it is we are graced to do and do that.

Friend, Grace is not just a doctrine to be discussed; the Grace of God is something that can be experienced.  You have experienced the grace of God if you’ve experienced Jesus working in your life

On the Lake

The disciples are on the lake with Jesus and a huge storm threatens to swamp their boat and their future.  The lake represents all of us in the circumstances of life. We are in the Boat; in Christ.

Like Noah in the ark; it is not what you go through that matters but with whom you go through it. The wind is always variable but this day the wind is blowing against them.  Sometimes when the wind really bad in life we think it might be the devil, but Jesus had been watching and praying for them and now comes close to encourage and comfort.

Jesus is teaching His friends that everything is always good. If there is no storm everything is okay and if there is a storm I am close by so everything is still okay. In our storm, He comes and He comes for one of two reasons; to bring peace in the boat and still the storm, or so we can walk with Jesus in the storm.   Just because we are born again, doesn’t mean we know how to walk on the water or keep at peace in the boat. Faith in the storm is something we all need to learn.

Peter says “If it is you command me to come to you;” give me a promise. Jesus says “come” so Peter gets out of the boat with his faith in His word. Like Peter we are to walk trusting God about our money, children, job, health or relationship and we are learning not to look at the waves boisterous.

Peter walked till he doubted but when he sunk Jesus didn’t just let him drown but grabbed him and walked him back the boat.  We are all learning.  Jesus never let them sink and He’ll never let you sink.  If the storm is too much, He will catch you and bring you to the boat and still the storm.

1 Corinthians 10.13 says that He knows what temptations and trials you can handle and always has a way of escape.  He may speak to you; He will hold you up; he will bring you to the boat but he will never fail you and we can worship him.

The Wind is stilled and the lesson is over for the day. They realize how great Jesus is; that He is always praying for them; He is always watching them and close by in trouble.

Friend, He is training us to walk on water in storms, He is putting His word in our hearts; He is calling us closer and He is catching us if we slip and you will get to the other side.

Growing in the Lord

The old farmer walked home as the sun slowly set behind him. He was happy the seeds had been sown and with rain about there was nothing more to do but wait.  God too wants us to grow from babies into fully mature sons of God but he knows that we can’t make ourselves grow up.  If a parent said to his child to increase in height it would be impossible.

Jesus said “consider the lilies of the field. They don’t toil or spin yet they are beautiful” He also said. “Which of you can by worry can add an inch to your height?’ In other words, you cannot make yourself grow up.  God only can make you grow because a seed, flower or lily of the felid does nothing except receive to grow.  It just stays connected to the ground or to the vine. Similarly, the little baby does not try to grow; it just grows the DNA says grow. And as long as it receives, it will grow.

Friend, Receive the Word and the grace of God and the water of the Spirit and you will grow.

Coming Home

The prodigal son took all the good things of life; his health, his life, his energy, his privilege, his freedom and his knowledge and spent them on pleasure, possessions, popularity and fame in an effort to find satisfaction.

When you don’t know your father well or know who you are, you’ll leave your father.

Fortunately he was not content not to stay in the far off country away from the blessing of his father and so he made the long journey home to finally get thing right with God and man.

In the far country there seems to be the freedom to enjoy harlots, parties, drugs and waste money but it is not home.  There is still want, there’s still need and it ends badly; living a life like a pig, and eating food not fit for human consumption. When you’re hungry you’ll feed on husks but when you’re starving you’ll return home to your father.

2 Cor 5.21 says that when a man is in Christ, he becomes all that he needs to be and everything he can never become himself. The person that puts his faith in Christ as their Savior becomes fully satisfied.

Friend, you can try your best to satisfy your hungry self, but you will realize satisfaction cannot be bought with money but can be found by returning home.

How to get really blessed

The advert for Wendy’s fast food store, says “if you come here hungry and thirsty you will always leave satisfied.”

God has made us in a way that desires satisfaction. If we are hungry we are motivated to get satisfied.  If you are thirsty, you do what it takes to get a drink.   Imagine if you never felt hungry, so you never ate.  One day you just be too tired to get food or if you had to set phone reminders every four hours to remind you to eat.  We know this is true and not just about food.

Righteousness is doing the right things, being right and doing right. If we do a job and do it right, we are satisfied.  We want to play well in the game in the weekend and when we do we are happy we are satisfied.   To a degree we can do all the above in every area of our natural life we are satisfied to a degree and for a while but we get thirsty again.

The woman at Samaria had a husband but he only lasted two years so she had to find another husband.   She came to get drink but it only lasted a day. She had to come again to the well.

So she was interested when Jesus said ‘if you drink the water I give you, you will never thirst again.  Jesus was not talking about natural thirst but spiritual thirst and spiritual water.  Because God has made man to have hunger and thirst  in their soul, men actually can’t be fully satisfied till  he is filled with what God made him to be filled with,  which is Righteousness.

If you have a spiritual hunger and thirst you will be satisfied.  Lucifer was hungry and ambitious for position and power but it never got to be satisfied, even though he had the highest position possible in heaven.  Nebuchadnezzar King to the Babylonian empire, had every possible natural delight, he may have felt he was the coolest but he never was satisfied.

Friend, David worked out how to be really satisfied.

Psa 17:15  As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.  Becoming like God in Character is satisfying and it is possible though the gift of Jesus to us.

Feet and heart

Blind Bart was waiting for had waited a long time for this moment.  When he heard that Jesus was coming by, he lifted his voice above the babble of excitement from the gathered crowd, and shouted “Son of David have mercy on me.”  When Jesus stopped and healed his eyes blind, Bart immediately followed the Lord on the road.  The Son of uncleanness followed the Son of Righteousness.  So when God wants to heal the way we walk, He heals the eyes of our heart.

What is important to understand is that the feet represent the condition of the heart in the disciple. The feet only follow our heart.  The Feet only go where heart has already been. So to direct our feet, He heals our heart.    God doesn’t start or finish with rules.  God doesn’t try to change the way we act, He changes our heart.

Old Testament Israel, had a change of religion but they never had change of heart, till finally God the Father said “I’m going to show you My heart”.

When the saw the heart of Father, revealed by Christ on the cross, their hearts were changed and their lifestyle changed.

That is how our hearts are changed; by seeing the heart of God, in Christ.

Friends, God is not seeking to change our behaviour but our identity, because a person with a new identity lives a new life.   A person with a new heart can and will change themselves.