Month: January 2024


(Part 2) ”…Wilt thou be made whole?“ John‬ ‭5‬:‭6‬ ‭KJV‬‬. When Jesus offered to change this man’s life, He knew the man must be willing to be changed. And certainly, Jesus knew that the Gospel was a message of change. It requires a profound change in the heart and life that only He can give. Today one of the greatest obstacles we face in presenting the Gospel message is, that most people have accepted their sin as a part of who they are. People are taught today, at almost every level, that however wicked or deviant your behavior may be, it is acceptable. And sadly, many in religion have gone along with this ungodly attitude. Few are the spiritual leaders who have the courage to confront needy souls and declare, “You must be changed and only Jesus Christ can change you!” And even for many believers, we must decide if we are going to accept our life as it is, with all of it’s failure and shortcoming, or will we allow Jesus Christ to continue changing us? By God’s grace, let us humble ourselves before Him and plead, “Change me oh God, into the person You created me to be. Conform my life more and more into the image of Your Holy Son, Jesus”.


(Part 1) ”When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?“ John‬ ‭5‬:‭6‬ ‭KJV‬‬. As Jesus stood before this lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, he was asking him a question that we all are asked at some time. In essence it is a very basic question about our willingness to be changed. Today He asks each of us, “Do you want to be changed?” It seemed like an unusual question then because we do not know human nature as Jesus did. But the reality is, Jesus knows that most people do not want to be changed. They are not willing to be changed in their heart and character. They have become accustomed to their lifestyle and their sinful ways and have no interest in changing. But let us understand, Jesus Christ offers to us the greatest change that any soul can ever experience. He offers to change us from a hell bound sinner into a child of God with a new destiny. He offers to change us from the wicked person we have been to become a new creature in Christ. What a glorious message this is, that Jesus is willing and has the power to change us into the people we were created to be. Let us open our hearts to Jesus and experience this great change He has for us.


“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity…” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬. God spoke these words long ago to Old Testament Israel when they were in Babylonian captivity. They were there because they had ‘played’ religion for so long. They would not wholly follow the Lord. They went on being religious but were not sincere and wholehearted. And yet even there, God gives them this promise and hope! Today, it seems most people in religion are held captive by something. In some way, they are bound and cannot get free. And certainly the list is long of things that bind the soul and body. But the main reason is still because people do not seek God with all their heart. They may join a church, make religious profession, even give money, but they never fully let go of their old life with it’s selfish and sinful ways. But thank God, this blessed promise still stands for us today! If we seek God with all of our heart, and follow Jesus wholeheartedly, we will find Him. And then we will experience His soul liberating power exactly as He promised. He is still able to break the chains of sin and set our souls free, so we can follow Him. He is still willing to open the doors of the prison house for every humble and honest soul. By God’s grace, let us seek Him with our whole heart.


“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm‬ ‭55:22‬ ‭KJV‬‬. These words remind us of many wonderful things about our gracious Lord. First, that we are able to come to Him and bring the burdens that weigh us down. He tells us that He is our Burden Bearer. We can have the confidence that He is well able to handle every burden we carry. Then, as we do this, He holds us up and sustains us, because He knows our need of His strength. He knows how our burdens sap our feeble energies and that we were never designed to carry these burdens alone. Also, He holds us so securely that nothing can move us from that blessed refuge we find in Him. But let us realize, that all of these great blessings begin with us, being willing to humble ourselves and turn loose of our burdens and trust Him to do what we cannot! We must cast our burdens on Him. We must do as the songwriter wrote so long ago, ‘Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there’. One verse of that song says: “When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail, Don’t forget that God in Heaven answers prayer; He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through—Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”


“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Psalm‬ ‭34:19‬ ‭KJV‬‬. When people do not know God’s Word, and they rely only on man’s word, they are usually surprised to discover that the Christian life is difficult. In most places today, the Gospel is presented in the opposite way. It is often held out as a ‘cure all’ for the problems of human life and to make people’s lives easy. But when we get in to God’s Word and become serious about living for God, then we will discover that afflictions, difficulties and persecution are all normal to the true child of God. As a soldier going into battle, struggle is something we should expect and prepare for. That is because we are going contrary to this fallen world. There are forces of evil that war against our soul. But the good news is, we are promised deliverance from all of those things! God never said there would be no battles, but He does promise victory in the conflict! He never said that life would be easy or free of suffering, but He did say that one day it will all be over, and complete deliverance will be ours. We should thank God, that through Jesus Christ, we have the promise of full and complete deliverance.


“So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: For I trust in Thy word.”Psalm‬ ‭119:42‬ ‭KJV. The psalmist felt what it was to be reproached for his faith in God. He knew the mockery that evil men directed towards him. But what kept him steady and able to give an answer was his unwavering trust in God’s Word. Today, the church desperately needs to get back to this kind of unshakable trust in God’s Word. We are in a time when God’s Word is under attack. Worldly religious men are trying to water it down and change it to suit their evil ways. Many new translations dilute the pure Word. But our answer to the world will never be from our own wisdom or from what religious men say. Our answer should always be “Thus saith the Lord!” We don’t live the way we do because it makes sense to ungodly people. Rather, we do it because God’s Word tells us how to live and we trust wholeheartedly in His Word. We don’t stand for the truth of the Word because it is popular or convenient, but because God spoke it and we know it is true. We don’t pick certain passages and ignore others, because it is all spoken by God, Whom we love and desire to honor. Let us be among those faithful few, who will trust in all that God says. As the song says, let us get ‘Back to the Blessed Old Bible’.


”My flesh and my heart faileth: But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”Psalm‬ ‭73‬:‭26‬ ‭KJV‬‬. There are times in our lives where we all feel like our heart is being overwhelmed. It seems no matter what we do or how much we resolve, that our heart fails. We fail to keep our minds fixed on good things. We fail to keep our affections on things above. We set our will to do what is needed but we come short. It is humbling to finally confess that we are not sufficient for the things that come against us. But what a joy it is to discover, that God is the strength of my heart! This means that no matter how weak and insufficient I am, His power within my heart is well able to deal with whatever is opposing me. But how can God be the strength of our heart if we have not given it to Him? How can we claim this wonderful promise if our will is not submitted to Him? Let us realize, this precious promise is only for those who have yielded their whole heart to God. When our attitude becomes, ‘Not my will but Thine be done’, then God will have our whole heart. And only then can He be the strength of our heart and our portion forever.


”Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it…” Exodus‬ ‭35‬:‭5‬ ‭KJV‬‬. The heart is mentioned almost 1000 times in God’s Word, so we know it is a vitally important subject. We hear it described in different ways that involve the affections and the mind, which are 2 of the basic components of the heart. But then, in many different passages we learn also about a ‘willing heart’. So we need to understand that the controller of the heart and thus, our life, is our will. The will is the steering wheel of our life. The will should direct both the mind and the affections. And the primary failure of modern religious teaching about what constitutes true saving faith, or belief, is that it does not involve any Biblical instruction regarding surrender of the will. But we should understand this is necessary for us to have genuine faith, which is ‘Believing with the Heart’. One of the tragedies of modern religion is, churches are filled with members who have never truly believed with the heart. They have accepted truths with their mind, but they have never made a conscious choice to give their heart (which includes the will) to God. But if the life of Christ is truly within us, then our attitude will be like His: “Not my will, but Thine be done”.


”For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.“ Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭10‬ ‭KJV‬‬. In both verses 9 and 10, the Apostle mentions “believing with the heart”. As he had traveled planting and visiting the early churches, Paul had witnessed this ‘true heart belief’ which profoundly changed people’s lives. He had seen their sincere devotion and desire to follow Christ. But also, Paul had seen a type of belief that was not from the heart. It was an intellectual belief that caused a person to agree with certain religious truths but it did not change the life. It did not deliver them from sin. And because he loved their souls and had a desire for God to be glorified in them, this disturbed Paul, just as it does true spiritual leaders today. So he is inspired by the Spirit to define more thoroughly what true belief is. It is a belief from the heart that leads to righteousness. This means that when our belief is genuine, or of the heart, it will lead us in paths of righteousness. It will produce in us a desire to please God above all. May God deliver us from this modern idea of ‘belief’ that leaves people unchanged and still living in sin. By God’s grace, let us believe with all of our heart, so that righteousness is demonstrated in our lives.


“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”‭Titus‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭KJV‬‬. We live in a religious culture that constantly criticizes the idea of ‘good works’ being preached or emphasized. There has been such an imbalance in the presentation of the Gospel that most today have little idea that “faith without good works is dead” (James 2:20). That means it is not genuine faith. And certainly we need to make the distinction, that there is no salvation by good works. No one can do enough good or become good enough to earn salvation. But Paul makes it clear in this passage, he is admonishing those who have already believed, those who have placed saving faith in Jesus Christ. And for them, he says to “constantly affirm (continually remind) believers to maintain a life of good works.” So as much as we should praise God for the gift of His grace, we also should realize that grace teaches us and leads us into a life of consistent godliness and good works. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said that others would “…see your good works and glorify your Father Which is in Heaven”. By the power of His life within us, let us consistently do good and prove the reality of God’s saving grace in our hearts.