“My name is Legion; for we are many.”

When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “[a]What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Mark 5:1-9

Throughout His ministry, Jesus had confrontations with several demons. This is the only time He asks the demon, what is your name? Why did Jesus ask the demon to identify himself? And why did he only ask this demon?

A legion is a unit of 3000-6000 men in the Ancient Roman army. The demon identifies himself as Legion. Indicating many demons were influencing this man.

The reason Jesus asked the demon to identify himself is for us to understand that the demonic influences in our lives are not singular. The other reason is that we need to know what we are dealing with to understand what is assailing us. So we can successfully deal with it.

Jesus knew the demons He was dealing with before he dealt with them. He had no reason for inquiring the name of this demon. Yet he does, for our benefit. The name Legion is important because it exemplifies the diversity of demonic activity. The significance is though we may deal with one demonic influence in our lives, we may still need to deal with other demonic forces in our lives.  In Matthew 28: 43-45 it says,  “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.

As Christians, we are to become more like Jesus, but how do we do that? We do that by becoming holy. What is holy? Holy is sinless. To become sinless does not mean to sin, less. It means to overcome the cause of the sin. Then we will become sinless.

When we deal with additions, it is not the substances that cause us to become an addict. It is how the substances fulfill a need. For instance, many people drink alcoholic beverages, and the fact is the majority are not addicted. Many people take prescription drugs, and the truth is most do not become addicted. Most people are involved in intimate personal relationships. Here again, the vast majority of those are not addicted to sex. Everyone eats; not everyone is morbidly obese. There are endless examples of additions. There are continuous detrimental behaviors that exist outside the norm in every area of life. You can’t blame the substance for the addiction or the behavior.  You have to ask what is the cause of the addition or the behavior.

Nowadays, we want to assign a medical explanation to self-destructive or deviant behavior. But the truth is not everything can be explained away with a medical diagnosis. Society would have us believe that every malady besetting us has its root in the human psychic or a physical cause. However, just like every disorder is not a demonic possession, not all maladies can be explained away with a medical diagnosis.

Sometimes, what besets you is spiritual in nature, and the only effective treatment is spiritual. That is why Jesus asked the demon to identify himself to teach us sometimes to ask the question, is this demonic, or is it an outcome from the fall of man?

Not all disorders are demonic. For instance, I had a heart attack ten years ago. The cause was not an evil spirit; the cause was a wrong decision I made twenty years prior. I ignored my doctor’s recommendation to take medications to prevent the heart attack I had ten years later. I would not have had a heart attack had I followed wise counsel. This episode in my life, though traumatic for my family and me, was not demonically caused.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

“We have not been given the spirit of fear,” yet how often do we base our decisions on fear? Granted, fear can be a positive emotion. However, when fear denies you of benefit and opportunity, you have to ask yourself what is your motivation for decision making. What other reasons exist for decisions, behaviors, and thought processes.

Why do people overeat, drink too much, why do they lie uncontrollably. Why are they addicted to drugs, to cigarettes? Why do people stay in dangerous relationships? Why do intelligent, otherwise well adjust educated people persist in doing self-destructive things? Can it all be explained away as a mental disorder or a chemical imbalance? If it is a mental disorder, why is the success rate of medical treatment so poor? Why are well-adjusted, intelligent, educated people unable to overcome their addictions when presented with the facts. The easy answer is that medical professionals don’t have all the answers yet. That there are areas of the human condition that are still a mystery to them. Though this is true, is it the only answer?

Is it possible that “legions” can play a part in the addictions and the self-destructive behaviors humanity clings to? Is it a spirit that has become the controlling entity in a person’s life?

The man that came running to Jesus in this story was alive. You’ll say that’s obvious. The demon did not kill the man. He could only motivate him to harm himself. He could not kill the man. The “legion” of spirits that possessed him could not kill him. I point that out because we have this expectation that a demon will kill us. But every person Jesus delivered from demonic possession was alive. I am convinced that the devil and all his cohorts are powerless against us. They can convince us and motivate us to harm ourselves, but they cannot do it themselves.

For the vast majority of us, we will never be possessed by a demon, but we are all influenced by one or, more likely, more than one. Jesus asked the demon to identify himself to show us that our battle to be holy will not be without a struggle against the forces of evil. We must identify those evil influences in our lives so we can defeat them. You must be able to identify your foe to defeat your foe.

In the medical world, the physician spends a considerable amount of time diagnosing your problem. He takes test after test to isolate the problem. Why? So he can adequately treat it.  

We must make honest assessments of our lives and determine when we need the help of others and when we need the help of God. There are times when all we need is a doctor; then there are times when only God can help.

Romans 12-2

And do not be conformed to this [a]world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may [b]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and [c]acceptable and perfect.

Renewing your mind means to continuously deal with the influences in your life that deny you victory in your life.  

“My name is Legion; for we are many.”

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THE OFFER

John 14:6 NASB

Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.

What is Christianity offering? Which honestly is irrelevant. The real question is, what is Jesus offering?

John 3:14-18

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 5:24-25

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

John 6:40

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 8:51

Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

John 10:9-10

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus is offering eternal life. In the preceding verses, you have everything you need to have eternal life. Let us not get caught up in religion, rules, and regulations. Instead, let us look at what Jesus promised you. Jesus is saying if you believe in me, you are saved. You will live eternally with me.  

We tend to make this so complicated. When it is simple. If you believe in Jesus, in who He was and is. You will be saved.  Now when He says believe, He means believe. Not an emotional reaction to an immensely inspiring event. That’s a high, not a belief. Belief is not a desperate act of guilt and shame that drives you to look for a way out of your diminished reality.

What is it to believe in Jesus? Belief is the absolute assurance of something. Belief has no doubts, none, not reasonable doubt, not a little doubt, no doubt.  It is your belief that whatever you believe cannot change regardless of conditions, events, or assumed facts to the contrary.

So, what do you have to believe about Jesus?

One, He is the actual DNA-related Son of God. Joshua was not the father of Jesus; God, the creator of the universe, is His Father.

Two, He died on the cross for your sins. He made payment for your restoration into the kingdom of God.

Three, He was raised from the dead. He was killed, and God the Father brought Him back to life.

Why these three things? If he is not the Son, the actual Son of God, He is not capable of paying for your sin. If he is not God’s Son, His death on the cross is of the same value as the two who die with Him. They were powerless and hopeless. If he is not raised from the dead, He is powerless to save us.

His deity gives Him the sovereignty to rule the universe. This same authorship provides the power of forgiveness and repayment of our sins. His resurrection proves He has the authority to do what He says he will do.

The offer is eternal life with Him. The cost is belief in Him. Will you accept the offer and believe in Him?

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The Call of Evangelism

Are you an evangelist? An evangelist is someone whose life revolves around sharing the gospel. They have the honor of telling people about the life of Jesus and the salvation he offers. 

Most of us, I included, are not an evangelist. We will never be consistently in front of people sharing the gospel. It will never be the call of our lives our mission.  But it does not excuse us from not sharing the gospel. For too long, we have left this, the most important job of our Christian life, to the evangelist. You may say, isn’t that the evangelist’s job? And as you just said, you and I are not called to be an evangelist.

19 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, Matthew 28:19

Was this command strictly for the disciples? No, we are still trying to complete that command. We have a part in this, true we are not called to preach to the world’s masses. We are not even called to preach to our contemporaries. Yet, we have a part in this.

I believe it is this bring one to Jesus. Just one, we are not called to bring vast masses of people, but we can bring one.  If all of us brought one person to Jesus, what would our churches look like next year? All the evangelists in the world could not have near the impact we can if we all bring one to Jesus.

It is a simple call to introduce one person to Jesus. Think about it. Is it too large a goal? Is it too difficult a task to speak to one person about Jesus?  All we must do is ask God to present us with the opportunity to share Christ with one person.

I ask you to discuss this idea with someone. Ask them if they could bring one person to Jesus. What an impact we could have if we just did that one simple thing.

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Gifting’s Part Two.

The gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 are wisdom, knowledge, healings, miracles, distinguishing spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. 

Except for speaking in tongues, Jesus, throughout His ministry, showed a mastery of the gifts of the Spirit. Jesus exhibited His gifts in all situations.

Why were the gifts of the Spirit given?

The gifts of the Spirit were given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [complete, mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . . speaking the truth in love, [that we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13,

I want to ask a question. Is the world in need of the Holy Spirit, of spiritual gifts? Jesus went about employing the gifts of the Spirit. Jesus found a need and used spiritual gifts to heal the situation.

The church, our community, our country, and the world need the work of the Holy Spirit now more than ever. The gifts of the Spirit are necessary to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ successfully.

I believe God has placed spiritual gifts in us and not just the mentioned ones. He has kept up with the times and has adjusted to reach the lost. I am not saying that any of the gifts have been retired; I am saying God will use what is needed to save the lost. God will use the whole spectrum of life to accomplish His goal.

If you look at the gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, all of them are applicable in the secular world today. The world needs wisdom, knowledge, healings, and people are hungry for miracles.  Discernment, distinguishing of Spirits is one of the most sought out qualities in the world of business. Tongues one of the most debated of all the mentioned gifts, and the world wants to know is there something to it.

Jesus spent most of his time on the road sharing the gospel. In other words, he used the gifts of the Spirit to win the lost. Outside of the church, have you employed your gifts? Have you gone out beyond your sphere of influence and used your gift the way Jesus used His gifts? To heal and save. Every spiritual gift has one goal to help bring someone to Christ.

I believe any gift God has given you that is empowered by the Holy Spirit is a spiritual gift. He gave you your gift, and he gave it to you for the same purpose as any of the mentioned Gifts. 

I want to see us use the empowered gifts of the Holy Spirit to change the world, whether they be singing, dancing, writing, teaching, healing, or giving, or whatever gift God has given you.

Until we see the gifts of the Spirit being exhibited outside the four walls of the church, we will not see change. The Holy Spirit is the power to change.  The Holy Spirit empowers you to become what you were created to be.

The real question is, do you want to be empowered to do what you were created to do?  

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Gifting Part One

Many of us in the Christian world desire to know our spiritual gifts.  In Romans 12, we find a description of spiritual gifts and 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. Here in these references, you will find a variety of mentioned gifts. I personally do not believe these are the only spiritual gifts. I believe giftings; spiritual giftings come in virtually any field. For instance, writing, I believe, is a spiritual gift. I doubt anyone would argue that the writers of the bible were not spiritually gifted. Nor can we deny that musicians are spiritually gifted.

As Christians, it is important that we come to terms with our gifts. When we learn and accept our gifts, life opens in ways we did not previously know. When you are actually living in your gift, you are in the zone.  The zone is a place of joy, happiness, fulfillment, and purpose. It is a timeless space. It is a special place where you find intention and meaning.

I am not writing about finding your gifting. That is not the purpose of this article. A few years back, I started writing. I found or more confirmed what I always knew, I could write. As a result, I posted what I was writing about on my blog and Facebook and anywhere else I could find to publish. After a long while of doing this, I notice that much of what I was writing seemed to appeal to the same people or genres. I began to feel like I was preaching to the choir. I felt like I was speaking to like-minded people. I felt like I was reaching the people in my sphere of influence, and I began to wonder is it worth it. I question myself am I doing any good? Was I wasting my time, and just as importantly, was I wasting the reader’s time? I stopped posting. 

Recently I started to think about posting again. As I thought about it, it was as if God was showing me something. I’ve been going to church consistently for forty-plus years. That fact puts me in an exclusive group. Not just old people but people who have been exposed to the word of God for the majority of their lives. In other words, I have been exposed to the word of God long enough to have learned some things. Things that people who have not invested that much time cannot know.

Which simply means I know stuff that many people do not. I know because I have spent forty-plus years reading the word of God. I have been under the tutelage of great teachers, paster, and leaders. I have meditated on the word of God. I had life-changing encounters with God. I have seen the power of God work in my life and in the life of others.

The other thing God showed me is the purpose of spiritual gifts. The purpose is to edify the church, to build the church up. My gift as a writer is not to evangelize the world but to edify the body of Christ.  My gift, in essence, is to preach to the choir. The purpose of my writing is not to win the world to Christ but to encourage and uplift the members of the body of Christ.

Which leads me to the actual point of this article, for which I have to thank John Bevere. From His book, X Multiply your God-given potential. In 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul says, For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

One of Paul’s gifts was to preach, and he says, “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” Paul is saying; I fear not living in the gifting God has bestowed upon me.” This resonated with me, and it convicted me. Woe to me if I don’t write. Woe to me in I refuse to live in the gifting God has bestowed upon me. Your spiritual gifting is not just a blessing; it is a responsibility. God expects you to operate in the gifting He has given you. Now I say to you, woe to you if you refuse to live your gifting.

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Anointed

Anointed, means to smear, rub, apply oil too. In itself, the word could be used to describe how to lubricate metal parts. In the Christian world, it has a connotation to protection, being set apart, chosen, to being called by God for a specific purpose. We tend to think of others as being anointed. We expect our pastors and religious leaders to be anointed or called apart to serve God and edify us in our spiritual lives. We listen to great speakers illuminate the word of God for us and we accept their anointing as something reserved for people like them. But can you or I be anointed as laypersons? Do we have a special calling from God?

Recently I had someone stop me and tell me that my writing was a blessing to them, and they encourage me by saying my writing was not falling on deaf ears. He told me I had a special gift.

I thought about what he said, and the word anointing came to mind. The question came to my mind am I anointed to write? As I pondered the question, I realized some of my writing is anointed. And to be clear when I say anointed writing, I mean that God has been the author through me in what I write. Yes, they are my words but His concepts. I am not claiming what I write is canon or scripture or anything like that, but I do believe that sometimes what I write is intended to bless someone specifically.

I decided to look at what the word of God says about being anointed. I found these two verses which speak directly to being anointed.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

1 John 2:20 

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

There are others but these will suffice to inform you and me: we are anointed by God to fulfill His purposes. The anointing of God is not reserved for the enlightened speaker. It is not reserved for the leaders of religious denominations it is not conferred upon you after the completion of required courses.  It is God who has anointed you with power as He did with the disciples. He empowers us to accomplish His call in our lives.

You have been anointed when you became a Christian. When the spirit of God came upon you, you were anointed. You were called apart. When you said yes to Jesus you became part of His anointed family. We tend to think that the anointing only applies to spiritual endeavors, but God anointed the craftsman that built the temple with special insight to build what had never been built before.  He anointed King David to rule Israel. He did not anoint King David as a priest He anointed Him to be the king of the nation. I could go on, but the point is we are all anointed. It is not a special gift. It is part of the Spirit of God living in you. You are anointed.

Here is the proof of maturity, of Christian maturity will you acknowledge your anointing, and will you use it? God has anointed you in your business in your life to accomplish great things. Those great things span all areas of human achievement they are not reserved for the spiritual spaces of your life. They are inclusive of every area of your life. They are not reserved for the great speaker or writer or doctor. The anointing is reserved for you child of God.

We spend more time working than any other activity in our lives. Would it be reasonable to expect God to anoint you in your business in your work in everything you put your hands to? God has anointed you to do great things he has planned for you before the creation of time.

If you believe anointing is reserved for the special, it is, you are special because God chooses you. He anointed you. 

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The Call of Nehemiah (Nehemiah’s Burning Bush)

The Call of Nehemiah

If you are not familiar with Nehemiah, he is the guy in the Old Testament that returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the gates of the city. He is known for his great leadership and decisiveness in decision making under duress. What he accomplished in the time he accomplished is amazing when you look at the enormity of the task.

When I heard of Nehemiah and read his story, I did not realize he was not called to rebuild the gates and walls of Jerusalem. I have read his story multiple times because I have read the entire bible several times. For reasons I cannot explain I always thought he was called by God to rebuild the gates. But recently as I was reading and studying this man, I realize he was never called to do anything. I assumed even after having read the story that God had specifically called him as he did with Abraham, Moses, Noah, Saul, David, Solomon, Jonah, Gideon, Samuel, Paul, Matthew, Peter  and many others in the Old and New Testament.

As a matter of fact, He was not even the first one to know about the situation. He heard of it through the grape vine if you will. There were many others who could have taken up the cause, but he was the one who did. Nehemiah was not sitting around wondering what the call of God was for his life. He had a high-ranking position in the king’s court. Which meant he was well taken cared off. He was not looking for a new job or to start a new enterprise. He did not see clouds of heaven open over his life and hear a voice that said you were created for such a time as this. All he did was inquire about the remnant of Jews remaining in the promise land after the exile.

The point is this, we make a big deal about knowing what the call of God is on our lives’. We agonize about it we want to find meaning and purpose in our existence. We pray about it we can become despondent because we feel our lives are a meaning less humdrum existence without purpose.

Nehemiah was not looking for the call of God he was successful. He was in the King’s court attending to the King on a daily basis. He was fulfilling and important role in the nation. He knew all the right people.

What happened? He heard a report that broke his heart and he decided to do something about it. Nehemiah was not responding to the call of God He was responding to a need God place in his heart. He needed to do something about the situation in Jerusalem.  The burden in his heart became the call of God in his life.

Nehemiah 2: 12

Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.

This verse is the closest we get to a “calling” from God in Nehemiah’s life. What God did was make Nehemiah aware of a need and Nehemiah responded to it. Anyone who was aware of the condition of the gates and walls of the city of Jerusalem could have accept the burden and moved to repair the gates and God would have prepared a way.

We are all looking for a burning bush experience with regard to the call of God in our lives when we should be looking for the burden in our hearts and allowing God to turn that burden into purpose.  

There are a plethora of needs in the world today, Pick one do something about it and let God bless you with passion and purpose.

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An Expression Of Love

Mark 12: 41-44

 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

Why did she give everything she had? Have you read this story and asked why? It is easy for us to read this story and admire this poor woman for her generosity, for her sacrifice, for her selflessness, but truly why did she do that?

What would inspire me to give everything away? Regardless of where you are in life rich or poor, giving everything away amounts to the same thing. Was she giving everything away in hopes of receiving more? Was it an act of final desperation? Was she testing God with her finances? What motivated her to put her last few pennies in the offering basket?

As the word of God works on multiple levels at the same time so it is with these verses.  I think there was an element of all those things in her giving her last coins. She gave in hopes of being provided for by God. She gave hoping God would multiply her giving back to her. She may even have given as a last desperate plea to God for provision. All those things may have been floating around in the practical recesses of her mind, but I think her motivation was much deeper. I think it was love.

When I think about why I would give everything away the only reason that comes to mind is love. I only reason I give everything away is for love, for someone I love. She was in love with God. Everyone else gave out of abundance. Jesus was not condemning the rich for giving out of abundance rather he was showing us what true love is.  What is the greatest commandment?

Matthew 22:37

37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 

When she put in her last few coins in the offering basket, she was saying God I love you, I trust you, I give you my all. Do you realize the amount of money was insignificant in this story? She put everything into the basket, her hopes, dreams, her next meal, everything, into that basket. It was not the desperate act of a hopeless person. It was an act of love, done because of love. In this seemingly sacrificial act, she was giving everything she had to God as an act of love. It was not a trade. It was not tit for tat. She put everything she had in the basket as an act, an expression of love.    

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WWJD

WWJD

In the 1990’s the acronym “WWJD” was very popular. It means “What would Jesus do.” The intention was for the believers in Jesus to pattern their behavior after what Jesus would do. In hopes that we would be a better representation of Jesus. Approximately 30 years later it might be appropriate for us to ask “What would Jesus Do?

Here we are in the middle of a pandemic and I have heard no one ask what would Jesus do? This question is irrelevant to the non-believer, they have no interest, nor do they place any value in what Jesus would have done. But to the believer it is a pertinent question it may be the only question we should seek to answer.

Would Jesus have worn a mask? Would he have closed the synagogue? Would He have stopped singing in synagogues? Would He have bowed to the pressure of the masses to implement impotent practices to pacify the public? Would he have endorsed social distancing? Would he have abdicated His authority as the Son of God, in favor of floundering governmental officials? Would He have isolated Himself for long periods of time to insure His health? What would Jesus do?

I do not have answers to these questions. However, I do know some of what He would have done. First and most importantly He would have prayed. If you know anything about Jesus it should be that He was a man of prayer. There are multiple times when Jesus went alone to pray. The night of His crucifixion He spent in prayer. Secondly, He would have compassion for the sick there are multiple times when He healed the sick. He would have confronted the leadership and exposed their corruption as he did many times. He would not abdicate His position of Son of God as He did not on the day of His crucifixion. He would love us through the pandemic. He would submit to the will of God unto death as he did on that terrible day.  He would never leave us. He would have lived by faith as He always did. There are a multiple of things He would have done if He were alive on this earth today.

There is one other thing we know about Jesus He did not operate in fear. There is not a single instance in the bible were Jesus succumbed to fear. He held His ground in every encounter. That is not to say he acted recklessly without regard to His safety. It means he responded with the appropriate action in all situations. The night prior to His crucifixion He boldly answered the question who is Jesus? He was not motivated by fear when He step up, He was motivated by love for His creation.

The question now is what will you do?

In Romans 8:11-14, it reads,

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you” This statement dictates to you and me how we are to behave. What awesome power has been entrusted to us. The same Spirit of power that possess the ability to raise Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit that lives in you.

That Spirit is not depending on the filtration system of a face mask. Now, understand I am not advocating wearing or not wearing a mask I am trying to get you to understand what is at your disposal. All that I am saying is we need to start acting in conjunction with the Spirit of God in you. I am not going to give you a 1,2,3 formula for your Christian behavior. But the Spirit of God can and will lead you if you will ask.

There are some obvious things we can identify which will help us to identify what is not the will of God for each of us.

1 Fear. Fear is not the spirit of God for any situation. If you are reacting in fear you are not working in conjunction with the Spirit of God. Prudence and fear are not synonyms, you must act with prudence but never in fear. What does prudence look like, do not walk into a covid ward without proper equipment. Do not get into a situation you have no business being in. Prudence says you do not do anything that will unnecessarily bring you into imminent danger.  

2 Confusion. Confusion is not an attribute of God. If you are confused, you need to check your sources. Because they are not representing God. God will always be consistent and clear if you are not clear ask God for clarification. 

John 3:16

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

We love this promise of God.

1 Corinthians 6:20

20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

This verse, we do not like too much. It goes against everything we have been taught throughout our lives. But here it is, we belong to God. We are his and he can do with us as he pleases. Being a Christian means we have given all of ourselves to God because we believe that He will bring us to victory in this life and the life which is to come. It means that we are not totally shielded from what occurs to common man. It means we may get sick it means we may die of covid 19. It means you may go through this pandemic without a scar or sneeze. But it also means that whatever you go through it will happen after it is processed through the full measure of God’s love.

Belonging to God means that whatever we go through, God has prepared a place for you. It means though the pain may be excruciating, and you don’t fully understand why, God will not abandon you. He will redeem you on the day of your salvation. It means that when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with you. When you come to the other side God will be there to restore you to lift you up and to accept you into your destiny with Him.  

So, what should we do? Love God. Come into communion with His Spirit. We need to bring the desire of God into our hearts and express His love not in fear or apprehension. But with joy and hope. We must truly behave as if God exists, because He does. We are the representation of Christ. We must behave with a Spirit of power love and a sound mind.

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Clarity

Clarity

2. Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

As we spoke about Nehemiah’s accomplishment of building the wall it strikes me how clear his dream was. Once he heard the report, his dream was as clear as it could be. His dream at that moment was to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem. We do not even know if Nehemiah had ever been to Jerusalem yet his dream his burden was crystal clear. I for one do not think he had ever been to Jerusalem. If he had his reaction to being told of the condition of the city would have been different. Yet his reaction still empowered him to accomplish a seemingly impossible task.

As I think about clarity of those in the bible I do not find or remember a single individual with such clarity. Abraham was told to go to the promise land, but he did not have a clear understanding of what that meant. Joseph was given a dream, but he did not fully understand what it meant or what he would accomplish. Esther was given a task she could not with any degree of clarity know the outcome. Noah built a boat without ever seeing one or rain.  I could go on, but the fact of the matter is there are very few people who saw what they were called to do as clearly except for Jonah. Jonah saw exactly what was going to happen and it happened. 

The disciples did not have any clarity about the death and resurrection of Jesus. They were locked up in a room fearing for their lives they definitely did not have any clarity about what was about to come. We are no better than the disciples we lack clarity. If there is one thing, we would all like to have it is more clarity.

In every area of our lives we would like to have Nehemiah’s clarity. We would like to know more than anything else exactly what we should do next. There is very little we know about Nehemiah before chapter one. What we do know about him is exemplified in chapter one of Nehemiah. When he heard the report, he was in anguish. What he did next tells us he was a man after Gods heart. He prayed but he did not pray a prayer of requests it actually was a prayer confession. He exhibited a heart of remorse. Then he had the audacity to remind God about His promises to His people. Could it be that Nehemiah clarity comes from his spiritual priorities? Though he was heartbroken and distressed about the current conditions in Jerusalem he does not go off immediately asking God for provision. First thing he does is acknowledges Gods sovereignty and shows a repentant heart.

Nehemiah clears the lines of communications with God by disposing of the trash between him and God. He confesses his sin. If you notice, there is no mention of rebuilding in chapter one. As a matter of fact, there is a minimum of 90 days before there is a mention of rebuilding.  The intervening time is spent by Nehemiah fasting and praying. Those 90 days of fasting and praying I believe were the fertile ground of clarity.

After the ninety days when he spoke to the king and answered his question, it was a complete and well thought out plan. He had worked out the details in his mind he probably had made a business plan on paper. He had thought this out so completely he probably new the color of the gates. He was so well prepared he was able to give a timeline for completion. That is clarity.

I want that clarity. I do not know about anyone else, but I want to be able to say I am going to accomplish this in this specific time because God has made it so clear to me. But am I willing to remove the trash that is inhibiting my lines of communication with God? Nehemiah’s methodology is not complicated. First, he prayed, fasted and cried about the situation. Then he identified a need then he was burdened to alleviate the need. Then he turned to God. Then he repented. Then he reminded God of his promise. Then clarity came. It really is simple. But are we willing to employ this simple methodology?

The thing is we cannot skip the steps. We cannot go directly from getting rid of the trash to reminding God of his promises. We want clarity, instead of trying to figure it out all on our own, why don’t we first turn to God and begin this process. 

It is your business. As businesspeople we are willing to invest money, time, effort, we are willing to consult wise counselors. We are willing to go to seminars buy books study business trends. We are willing to do anything we can to acquire clarity for our business. For us to know what is next. And here we have this clear example of how to obtain clarity.

In 2. Psalm 32:8 it says,

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

The writer of this verse is saying God will teach you He will direct you in the way you should go. But is there so much noise in your life you cannot hear Him. If your business is not were it should be or where you want it to be, are you consulting God? Nehemiah begins the process by first turning to God.

Nehemiah changed his life and the lives of the remnant of Israel and so many others in approximately five months. Three of those months was spent praying and fasting while working, he was the king’s cup bearer. There is no reason we cannot develop a plan that will include praying and fasting for your business. God says, He will instruct us, but we must clear the lines of communication and repentance is the only way to remove that which hinders us.

Is it possible if we employ what Nehemiah did, that in 5 months, we to can be changing lives with our business? This is all about putting God first in your business and life because your business is inseparably intertwined to your life.

Would you be happy if you had specific clarity in your life?

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